Deaths elsewhere

December 10, 2009|By Los Angeles Times

EDWARD SANDERS, 87

Jimmy Carter adviser

Edward Sanders, an attorney and leader in the Jewish community who served President Jimmy Carter as a special adviser on Middle East policy, died Monday at his Los Angeles home. He was 87.

The cause was cancer, according to his son-in-law, Stanley Witkow.

Sanders gained prominence during the 1973 energy crisis when, as president of the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles, he challenged a letter from Standard Oil Co. to 300,000 stockholders that appeared to support a pro-Arab Middle East policy. He later became president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

In 1976 he resigned the latter post to organize Jewish support for Carter's presidential campaign. In 1978 he was named to a newly created post as adviser to President Carter and Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance on Middle East policy and the Jewish community. He quickly became involved in planning the Camp David summit, which culminated in a signed accord between Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

Sanders was born in New York City on April 4, 1922, and moved to Los Angeles with his family when he was 8. After graduating from Los Angeles High School, he earned a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. During World War II he served in the Army.

After the war, he earned a law degree from the University of Southern California in 1950 and joined Irell & Manella, a politically well-connected law firm based in Los Angeles. He was active in Sen. Robert F. Kennedy's presidential primary campaign in 1968 and helped lead a number of civic groups. After leaving the Carter administration, Sanders returned to Los Angeles, where he formed Sanders, Barnet & Goldsmith, later merged into Reed Smith, a national law firm based in Pittsburgh.

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