Sen. Edward M. Kennedy stepped up his drive for Jewish votes today by calling on President Carter to let Congress see documents involved in the controversy over the United Nations resolution that censored Israel's settlement policy.
In a speech to a Jewish group that on Thursday gave a hostile reception to two Carter supporters, Kennedy said the president should drop the claim of executive privilege that the administration used in refusing to turn over the material to congressional committees.
This claim, Kennedy told the Jewish United Fund Here, is "fueling the fears of a cover-up" and preventing the disclosure "of the documents that alone can resolve the growing doubts avout [the administration's] credibility.
"What do they have to hide? Why are they reluctant to see the facts laid out on the public record? the Massachusetts Democrat asked.
At the end of the speech, the group members of a coalition of Chicago's major Jewish organizations, gave Kennedy a standing ovation. On Thursday, the same group had an acrimonisou question-and-answer session with two of President's Carter's most prominent Jewish supporters, Commerce Secretary Phillip Klutznick and campaign chairmann Robert S. Strauss.
There are estimates that Jewish voters make up as much as 10 percent of the electorate in primary elections in Illinois, and Kennedy is hoping to win maximum support fromm them in his contest with Carter here Tuesday.
Jewish voters will make up an even larger segment of the electorate in the March 25 New York primary, where Kennedy aides hopt that the U.N. resolution controversy will help produce a critically needed victory.
Before the U.N. vote, the president was believed to enjoy widespread support among Jewish voters in Illinois. The controversy has prompted Carter campaign aides to devote a heavy dose of last-minute attention to Jewish voters here.
Last week, Cater disavowed U.S. support for the resolution, which called on Israel to dismantle its settlements in occupied Arab territories. He blamed the episode on a communications foul-up ans since then, with the help of surrogates such as Strauss and Klutznick, has sought to pacify the angry Jewish reaction.
There was no overt Carter compaign activity in the Chicago area today. However, Vice President Mondale arrived in the city tonight for a day of campaigning here and in southern Illinois Saturday.
In his speech, Kennedy called the U.s. vote for the resolution an "appalling betrayal of Israel" and questioned the administration's competence in conduction foreign policy.
"All of us wish for an early end to the confusion and disarray that plague our foreign policy," he said. "Events like these damage the nation abroad and weaken our confidence at home. They have become an all too frequent occurrence in the past three years, and they raise growing doubts about the competence of the present administration to manage foreign policy in a dangerous world."
Kennedy also took a swipe at Strauss for his role as the president's political emissary to the Jewish community.
"I will not have a Bob Strauss who will come out every time there is a mistake and try to explain it," he said. "We're not going to have any such spokesmen or women because we're not going to have those kinds of mistakes."