WASHINGTON (May. 5)
The most intensive Congressional assault on record against Israel, aimed at proposed Mutual Security Assistance for the Jewish State, took place during hearings held by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when four Senators joined in bombarding State Department and Mutual Security Administration experts with questions slanted against Israel. In one case, the questions were described by a State Department witness as “loaded.”
This occurred behind the closed doors of the committee during executive sessions on the Mutual Security Bill and was revealed today when the Committee made available the minutes of the meetings. The leading roles in the interrogatory attack on proposed Israel aid were played by Senators J.W. Fulbright. of Arkansas, and Theodore F. Green, of Rhode Island. Senators Alexander Wiley, of Wisconsin, and H. Alexander Smith, of New Jersey, participated to a lesser extent. The Committee, however, did not cut the requested Israel allocation except in keeping with an across-the-board reduction applied to all countries.
A vigorous defense of Israel and its right to economic aid was made by Arthur Z. Gardiner, economic adviser of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs of the State Department. Sharp words were addressed to Mr. Gardiner by Senators Fulbright and Green when he sought to present Israel’s case. Accusations were made that the State Department favored Israel over the Arab states. These charges were presented in the form of questions which often took a sarcastic turn.
Sen. Fulbright at one point singled out Israel from among other countries and questioned the basis for assistance to Israel, expressing doubt as to whether it would use the money for the purposes for which it is allocated. When Mr. Gardiner tried to tell how the State Department and Israel worked in cooperation on the aid program, Sen. Fulbright wanted to know if the Department could control Israel’s purchases.
Complaining that Israel would receive a higher per capita appropriation than the Arabs, Sen. Smith said to Mr. Gardiner: “You are going to give the Jews a higher standard of living than the Arabs, then, that are kicked out?” The Senator also wanted to know “why should the United States attempt to raise the standard of living in Israel so much greater than in the surrounding countries.” Sen. Green also asked if the U.S. “acquiesced in the expulsion of the Arabs from Israel into the surrounding countries.”
Mr. Gardiner refused to blame Israel for the departure of all of the Arab refugees. He said that some “left because they were badly led by their Arab leaders; others left because people do leave when there are contending armies crossing their farms and fields.” When Sen. Green continued talking about Israel’s alleged expulsion” of the Arabs, Mr. Gardiner told him: “They (the Arabs) are allowed to participate in the local government, to elect representatives to the Israel Parliament.”