Hadassah Convention Opened; U.S. Warned Against Arming Arabs
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Hadassah Convention Opened; U.S. Warned Against Arming Arabs

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The United States Government was cautioned tonight against offering large-scale American military supplies to the Arab countries. The warning was voiced by Senator A. S. Mike Monroney, of Oklahoma, addressing the opening session of the 40th annual convention of the Hadassah, at the Hotel Waldorf Astoria here.

Speaking before 4,000 delegates and guests, Sen. Monroney said that security against Communism will not be found “in the wholesale arming” of any of the states in the Middle East,” regardless of treaty restrictions or agreements.”

“Certainly,” the Senator said, “we cannot hope to arm the Arab states, or Israel for that matter, so that any of these states could cope with the Red Army. It would take the combined forces of the United States and our Western Allies to effectively block an invasion in force by Russia in that area. Any such quantity and quality of arms that would be useful in withstanding such an invasion would offer only a false hope of security against invasion – while upsetting the tenuous balance of power that now exists between Israel and the Arab states.”

Emphasizing that Israel-Arab relationships were steadily deteriorating, and that the Anglo-Egyptian agreement providing for the withdrawal of British troops from the Suez Canal area had upset the balance of military power in the Middle East, Sen. Monroney said it would be “unfair to lay the blame for this worsening of conditions on the Eisenhower Administration, or to be critical of individuals or of policies.” The Senator asserted that the world conflict between the forces of the free world and Russia “has raised the Arabs vastly in international importance,” and has contributed to Arab intransigence.


“The Arabian countries want no formal peace,” Sen. Monroney said. “Indeed they refuse to even sit down in conference to discuss peace terms. They seek, according to all evidence, a continuance of the present program of boycott, economic and military harassment, and other tactics which they think will help force Israel out of the Middle East.”

On the other hand, the Senator added, “Israel is out to force, if it can, a showdown conference with the Arab states for a final peace settlement. Israel would like to get on with the real job it has cut out for itself. With herculean efforts needed to make the country self-sustaining, and to complete its reclamation program, Israel cannot afford the waste and the expense in money and men for continued military activities on the present scale.”

Sen. Monroney pictured the United States as being “caught in the middle of a situation that is incapable of quick solution.” He said that strengthening of the United Nations by the United States, and an enlarged American program of technical and economic assistance to both Israel and the Arab states, offered today the best hope of solving the Middle East dilemma.

Mrs. Samuel W. Halprin, Zionist Affairs chairman of Hadassah, who presided at the session, charged that the U.S. State Department’s “continued silence, in the face of arrogant refusals by the Arab states to enter into negotiations leading towards peaceful settlement” of their differences with Israel, was only “strengthening Arab resistance to peace and security in the Middle East.” She asserted that the State Department’s policy no matter how sincerely motivated, offered the Arab states “no inducements for peace or for concessions.”

“So long as the Arab states can obtain free arms from the United States, and political concessions not only from the U.S. but from the other Western powers as well,” Mrs. Halprin said, “they will continue their cold war against Israel,” She cited Egypt’s continued anti-Israel blockade of the Suez Canal as “an example of that country’s blatant disregard of international law and of the avowed wishes of the Western powers.”


Mrs. Halprin contended that the negotiations leading to the recent Anglo-Egyptian agreement on the Suez, and the Anglo-Iranian oil agreement “had offered the Wester powers excellent opportunities to press for peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israel dispute, but they failed to avail themselves of these opportunities.”

She stressed that the grant of American arms now to Arab states “would be morally wrong and politically unwise.” She warned that the grant of U.S. arms to the Arabs, without demanding an Arab-Israel peace as a requisite. “might have the most dire consequences to the peace of the world.”

Mrs. Rebecca Shulman, national president of Hadassah, called upon the organization’s 300,000 members in the United States, Puerto Rico and Alaska to “develop closer spiritual ties with Israel.” Revitalization of the American Zionist movement, she said, “is dependent on the deep sense of identification developing between us and the people of Israel, the language of Israel, and the spirit of Israel.”

She proposed that Hadassah members introduce Hebrew as an active language in their homes, and that they establish as a personal goal the ability to read the Bible in the original Hebrew. She also proposed that the organization take the initiative in organizing a Herzl Pilgrimage of American Jews to Israel. The current year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Theodor Herzl, father of political Zionism. She called upon the delegates also to consider the possibility of holding Hadassah’s annual convention in Jerusalem two or three years hence.

Louis Lipsky, chairman of the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs, paid tribute at the convention to Dr. Herzl. “The leadership of Herzl remains to this day the soul of Zionism, integrated with the life of the Jewish State,” Mr. Lipsky said. “His personality will remain for all time a national memory of unsurpassed heroism and self-sacrifice.”

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