Hostile Testimony on Israel by State Dept, Revealed in Washington
Menu JTA Search

Hostile Testimony on Israel by State Dept, Revealed in Washington

Zionist leaders are seriously concerned over the implications of previously secret State Department testimony on Israel which was made known today by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

In the course of the hearings–which concerned pending Mutual Security legislation–Israel was unfavorably mentioned and the State Department exhibited a map to dramatize the difference between the Jewish area under the partition plan and the “area under Israel control, not granted under the partition plan.”

Arthur Z. Gardiner, politico-economic adviser of the State Department’s Near Eastern Division, raised many points against Israel while a number of committee members displayed similar hostility. Alleging that there is less land under cultivation now than when the Arabs tilled the soil, Mr. Gardiner said:

“Now if you listen to the Israeli propaganda line and let us call it that because that is what it is they show how they doubled and trebled production…but anybody with two eyes in his head can go through Israel and see abandoned orange groves and see other abandoned lands that are not cultivated.”

When criticism was made of Jewish farmers, Mr. Gardiner told the committee that Israel might want the Arab refugees back to work the land “if you do not talk about it too much.” Technical Cooperation Administrator Stanley Andrews pointed out that new arrival in Israel “just do not know how to farm.” Rep. Frances P. Bolton, Ohio Republican, interjected; “They are interested in business.” Rep Bolton said “the orchards were good where the Arabs owned them.”


During his testimony, Mr. Gardiner said: “It would not accord with my morals to say.’Arabs, you go live in Jordan. We have moved people in from Europe,’ and remember that we have plans in Israel to use substantially all the Jordan waters, so that Israel can become viable.” He said that Israel’s argument that the Arab refugees were a potential fifth column represented “the party line.”

Speaking of the movement of the Arabs from Israel, Mr. Gardiner said: “I would not exculpate completely the Jewish people for their hand in this event.” He mentioned in this connection “massacres of Arabs” by “the Stern Gang.”

Rep. John M. Vorys, Ohio Republican, said Congress helped establish Israel “but we never voted to have the government and the people in the country that we recognized, simply take somebody else’s property.” Congress had not committed itself “to throw out dispossessed people, take their land, take their property,” he stated.

A State Department map was exhibited by Mr. Gardiner to show the difference between the Jewish area under the partition plan and the present boundaries of Israel. Rep. Walter H. Judd, Minnesota Republican, asked if the map showed “what the Israelites have seized that was not given to them.” Mr. Gardiner replied “that is the land now occupied by Israel which was allotted to the Arab states under the U.N. partition plan.”

Mr. Gardiner told the committee that there was a prospect “if Israel continues to put her house in order, of viability within five or six years time–viability in terms of no more requirement for United States grants.” Rep. Burr Harrison, a Virginia Democrat, raised the question of why “our past contribution was $57 to the Jew and $0.50 to the Arab.” He also questioned why there should be military aid.

In the course of the hearings numerous discussions were held “off the record” for security reasons and the committee did not make these discussions public. Subsequent references indicated, however, that allegations that Israel discriminated against Arabs and seized Arab property unlawfully were made in some of this secret testimony.


Rep. Jacob K. Javits, New York Republican, countered pro-Arab arguments at many points in the lengthy hearings. In response to Mr. Javits’ question about the military prowess of Israel, Henry A. Byroade, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, praised the efficiency of the Israel Army.

John D. Jernegan testified as Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, that “while it would not be possible initially to include Israel in the same defense organization with the Arab states, we would undertake to make parallel arrangements with Israel and the country’s requirements and potential contribution to Middle East defense could receive full consideration.”

Mr. Gardiner had high praise for the Jordanian Arab Legion. He said “the Arab Legion is a very stabilizing force in this area. Without that force I do not know what you would have.” It was revealed by the publications of the hearings that a sum of $140,000,000 is proposed in economic aid for Israel and the Arab states including $10,000,000 for Iran. This would leave $130,000,000. If Israel got half of this figure it would amount to $65,000,000.

Meanwhile, it was learned today that a bill introduced by Rep. Francis P. Bolton on behalf of the Arab refugees has been incorporated into the Mutual Security legislation. This provision requires the Mutual Security Administrator to investigate the situation of the Arab refugees and report within 90 days of the adoption of the Act.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund