NEW YORK (Aug. 26)
The United States Government was urged today to clarify its position on the status of Jerusalem “as speedily as possible” in order not to give “an impression that the Arab states are able to extort from Washington statements which are at variance with our country’s policy, and thereby confuse the situation.”
The request was voiced by Rabbi Irving Miller, president of the Zionist Organization of America, in his presential address at the opening session of the 56th annual convention of the ZOA at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. More than 1,200 delegates from all parts of the country are attending the convention. Rabbi Miller emphasized that “Jerusalem’s status as the capital of Israel is inextricably linked with Jewish history, Jewish tradition and the Jewish religion.”
The ZOA president expressed surprise at the recent statement by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles criticizing the transfer of the Israeli Foreign Ministry to Jerusalem. Emphasizing that “the United States is on record as favoring an arrangement for the Holy Places which would not disturb the sovereignty and the political institutions of Jerusalem,” Rabbi Miller said: “We do not believe that Mr. Dulles means to alter this policy, although his statement has served to produce considerable bewilderment.”
EISENHOWER EXTENDS GREETINGS TO ZIONIST CONVENTION
A message from President Eisenhower greeting the delegates was read at the convention. “It is heartening to know,” the President said “that so many Americans from all parts of our nation are gathering at such a convention and reaffirming their dedication to the cause of freedom everywhere. Upon such dedication depend not only our own strength, but our hopes for peace for all the world.” The convention was also greeted by Mayor Vincent Impellitteri on behalf of the City of New York.
In his keynote address, Rabbi Miller warned that “powerful anti-Israel forces were attempting to swing our Government away from its policy of friendship to Israel.” He expressed the Zionist position as being “unalterably opposed to the supply of arms to any of the Arab states as long as they persist in their refusal to make peace with Israel and continue to threaten renewed warfare.”
The way to hasten a final solution to the problems of the Middle East and pave the way for real security to the entire region, the ZOA president maintained, is for “our government to inform the Arab countries that they cannot expect to receive military assistance from the United States unless and until they sign a peace treaty with Israel.”
Rabbi Miller blamed “a large and well-financed propaganda machine which is focusing its attention on Washington” for a stream of misinformation on the question of Jerusalem. “We would do well to ensure that the real situation is made known to our government and to the American people in general,” he stated. “Once this is done — and the facts are widely disseminated and understood in our country–the American Government will surely have a positive attitude on this question.”
ISRAEL NEEDS AMERICAN PEOPLE AND GOVERNMENT, ZOA PRESIDENT SAYS
The ZOA president appealed for the continued active and sympathetic interest of the American people and constructive statesmanship on the part of the American Government if Israel is to successfully solve her problems.
“Such statesmanship and support has enabled Israel to overcome the economic and political difficulties of the past five years,” he stated. “Today, when our country is seeking definitive solutions for the problems of the entire Middle East, It is more essential than ever that the American people should understand how the respective interests of the United States and Israel continue to run along parallel lines.”
Referring to the anti-Israel forces in Washington, Rabbi Miller declared: “They are working ceaselessly to create the impression that the United States has heretofore accorded ‘perferential’ treatment to Israel as compared with the Arab states, a contention which is not supported by the facts — as we took occasion to prove by publishing the statistics, which demonstrate that American aid both to Israel and the Arab states has in fact always been characterized by an attitude of impartiality.
“The motive behind this propaganda is transparent,” he said. “They would have the Administration translate impartiality into appeasement and lead our government along the dangerous path of bidding for Arab friendship at Israel’s expense. I do not believe that the American Government and people will really be taken in by this line,” he added.
SETS FORTH POSITION BETWEEN AMERICAN JEWRY AND ISRAEL
Touching upon the relationship between American Jewry and Israel, the ZOA leader declared: “We have made our position clear as American citizens and as Zionists. During the past year I have on a few occasions restated on behalf of our organization our positive approach to America and the American way of life, to our spiritual and cultural ties with Israel, and to the future of the American Jewish community.
“There is nothing ambiguous about our political allegiance to the United States or our conception of Jewish life. We have no intention of ‘explaining’ ourselves because it is not necessary for us to do so. We shall continue to affirm our point of view in a positive manner, certain that we are hereby giving expression to the high ideals and best interests of America.”
Rabbi Miller expressed his belief that “there is a future — even a great one — for the American Jewish community. We reject the notion that Israel’s establishment implies the spiritual and cultural disintegration of American Jewry,” he stated. “We now have an unprecedented opportunity to create a richer, more meaningful American Jewish life, in which Israel will serve as a sustaining cultural influence, and we believe that increasing numbers of American Jews are today in search of precisely such a life. Zionism will be the answer to their quest — if we ensure that the program of our organization is carried forward in an inspiring way.”
Reverting to the internal Israel scene, Rabbi Miller praised the formation during the past year of the Israeli coalition government in which the Mapai and the General Zionists are the chief partners and its first major accomplishment in the passage of a unified national education law a few weeks ago. He termed this new national education system of Israel a great victory for the democratic way of life as well as fulfillment of a General Zionist principle advocated by the ZOA throughout the years.
In his appraisal of the future program of the Zionist Organization of America, Rabbi Miller declared that it must continue to provide initiative and inspiration in the area of economic activity for Israel. He also stressed the need for a strong and dynamic organization, which would not diver its energies in “prolonged public philosophizing on the theme of ‘Israel and the Diaspora.'”