NEW YORK (Dec. 6)
The Western Powers, especially the United States, were called upon to bring about peace between Israel and the Arab states in addresses delivered by Dr. Nahum Goldmann, chairman of the Jewish Agency executive, and Louis Lipsky, chairman of the American Zionist Council, at the opening session last night of the first American Zionist Assembly.
The Assembly, which will close tomorrow, is being attended by 500 delegates elected by the eight leading Zionist parties in this country which have a total membership of 750,000. Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, who was scheduled to be one of the principal speakers at the opening session, sent a message regretting his inability to attend the Assembly because of rabbinical duties in Cleveland. He outlined his views in writing on subjects which the Assembly was discussing. Avraham Harman, Israel Consul General, greeted the delegates on behalf of the Israel Government.
RESOLUTION ASKS U.S. TO RE-AFFIRM FRIENDSHIP TOWARD ISRAEL
At its session today, the Assembly adopted a resolution recording “with profound gratification the historic and invaluable aid “which the United States has rendered in bringing about the creation of Israel, as well as the aid given to Israel since its establishment. At the same time, the resolution calls attention to the fact that “of late certain policies of our State Department, with respect to Israel, have contained the worst features” of pro-Arab appeasement.
Emphasizing that the latest policy “has been thoroughly discredited in our time and is doomed to failure in the future as in the past,” the resolution says: “Not alone for the sake of Israel, the world’s newest democracy, now threatened on all fronts, but even more for the sake of our country’s role as the world leader of dynamic democracy, we most earnestly urge our government to re-affirm the traditional American bi-partisan policy toward Israel and help bring to the strategic area of the Middle East stability and peace.”
Declaring that as American citizens, “mindful of our country’s leadership of the free world,” Jews are profoundly concerned with the preservation of American-Israel friendship, the resolution declares” “It has become impossible to overlook certain actions of our Department of State within the past few months which have encouraged powerful anti-Israel forces, both in and out of government, in their efforts to make it appear that a major change in our country’s policy towards Israel has in fact taken place.
“When the present administration described its policy in the Middle East as one of impartiality as between Israel and the Arab states, Zionist leadership in this country stated that it was in full agreement with this approach and that America should respond sympathetically to the needs of all the peoples in the Middle East. However, we continue to reject the implication that our country has not been impartial in the past. Above all, we most earnestly declare that impartiality must not be translated into appeasement-which pro-Arab propagandists and their friends in Washington are seeking to bring about,” the resolution states.
U.S. MUST TAKE INITIATIVE FOR ARAB-ISRAEL PEACE, GOLDMANN SAYS
In appealing to the United States to use its efforts to bring about an Arab-Israel peace, Dr. Goldmann said: “As long as the emergence and the victory of Israel are not recognized by the peoples of the Near East who were defeated in their attempt to prevent its establishment, the new state cannot be said to be politically consolidated. This is the real problem. Its solution will require the effort, imagination and courage of all concerned – of Israel, the Arab states and, above all, the Western Powers.
“The primary valid criticism of the policy of the Western Powers, and, above all, of the U.S. which, with its power and prestige, should have assumed leadership on this issue, is that they have lacked the vision and determination to attack the problem at its root,” Dr. Goldmann continued. “They have always dealt with it in piecemeal fashion. I know very well that political problems may often have to be dealt with in just this way, piece by piece, step by step. But this is a situation that calls for fundamental solutions, for the exploration of imaginative and daring shortcuts.
“All the present dramatic issues between the Arabs and Israel–refugees, boundaries and Jerusalem–can be disposed of with not too many difficulties once the fundamental issue is resolved, namely, the refusal of the Arab states to acknowledge Israel as a composite part of the Near East, as a sovereign State and neighbor,” Dr. Goldmann pointed out.
Declaring that “it is our obligation as Americans, as Jews and Zionists, to insist that the American Government assume this initiative without fear of Arab protests or Arab resentment, “Goldmann said. “Professional friends’ of the Arab cause will never succeed in frightening American Jews and silencing their expression of deep interest in Israel. As long as Arab-Israel relations are not normal, America will be unable to organize this area, so indispensable to its global security, Hence, there is complete harmony between American-Zionist demands and America’s interests, and to imply otherwise is deceitful and immoral.”
SILVER PREDICTS CONTINUED ANTI-ISRAEL ACTIVITY IN U.S.
Rabbi Silver emphasized in his message that Israel will need the political as well as the economic support of the American Jewish community for many years to come. He also predicted that intensified anti-Israel activity on the American scene, “is likely to continue for some time.”
“It is my strong conviction,” Dr. Silver continued, “that the present Administration in Washington will wish to safeguard the basic rights and interests of Israel. I am equally convinced that in the lower echelons of the government there are, as there have been, such as are hostile to Israel, and that many pressures will be used and many maneuvers will be resorted to by those whose machinations we had to face all through the years, and who are quick to capitalize on every mistake which is made in Israel.”
Mr. Lipsky, in his address, emphasized “the magnificient fraternal cooperation” of the entire American Jewish community in the work for Israel. He urged the Zionists “to take advantage” of this spirit of cooperation. “The community approaches us with friendly gestures, let us take their hands in friendship,” he said. “The battle of ideas has come to an end in a warm peace. There is a general desire to cooperate in every field of endeavor. Whatever concerns Israel, concerns them. This friendship should be nurtured without wandering into the broad field of organizational forms, which are incidental to this unique situation.”
Today’s session also discussed the role of the Zionist movement in communities throughout the country, on the college campuses and in the field of Jewish education. Dr. Moshe Davis, Provost of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, urged further development of Hebrew language study in the general schools, and said that more young people should be encouraged to visit Israel.
Dr. David W. Petegorsky, executive director of the American Jewish Congress, who spoke on the Zionist participation in the American communities, said that the future of American Jewry as a community “and its capacity to contribute meaningfully and constructively to Jewish life everywhere depends on bringing the concept of Zionist survival to bear on communal problems far more effectively than in the past.”
Rabbi Arthur J. Lelyveld, national director of the B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation, speaking on the attitude of college students to Zionism and Israel, pointed out that Jewish youth has no sense of insecurity in American society. “If, therefore, they go to Israel, they will go not for negative reasons, not because of a flight from America, but because they have come to understand that Israel also is engaged in a worthwhile democratic task,” he said.