By: Mordechai Twersky  | 

Berman Talks at YU

Sunday Sept. 12 - Speaking before a crowd of some 300 persons at Yeshiva University, Jewish leader Julius Berman said today that President Reagan is the “strongest” friend that Israel has in Washington.

Mr. Berman, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said Mr. Reagan’s heart “is in the right place” and that no other country other than the United States could play the role of peacemaker in the fragile Middle East.

Yet, Mr. Berman warned that a “difficult and hard road” lies ahead for both Israel and the Jewish community.

“An attempt is being made to put pressure on Israel,” he said, “on matters contrary to what Israel believes.”

Mr. Berman said the Reagan peace plan for the Middle East announced Sept. 2, was “not constructive.” He explained that, by making the proposal, the United States lost its “status and credibility as a mediator” and instead took an active role in the negotiations.

Mr. Berman added that the Reagan peace plan “was not in the spirit of the Camp David Accords,” and went as far as to quote Israel’s Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir who said recently that if such a proposal were to have been presented at the Camp David negotiations, Israel would never have signed the accords.

Mr. Berman called Secretary of State George Schultz a “quiet and unique person who doesn't shoot from the hip,” adding that, no matter where the U.S. government stands, “we must deal with the present government as it is constituted.”

In reference to the media and its coverage of the Israeli invasion and of recent Middle East developments, Mr. Berman said that “when there is no relation between headline and fact, it's frustrating.”

He urged American Jews to have “pride in their heritage,” and not to feel as though they are “second-class citizens.”

Berman's remarks were part of Parent’s Day at the Marsha Stern Talmudical Yeshiva University High School for Boys in Manhattan.