NEW YORK (Aug. 29)
Fierce protests against the State Department’s policy of fursnishing arms to the Arab states and thus endangering the security of Israel and of the whole Middle East were voiced here this week-end as 300 leaders of the Zionist Organization of America met in a two-day extraordinary conference of the ZOA National Administrative Council.
Addressing last night’s session, Mortimer May, president of the ZOA, called upon American Zionists to “speak out in loud and clear voice” against the State Department policy which he called “unfair to Israel, dangerous to peace and stability in the Middle East and harmful to America’s interests in that part of the world.” He ridiculed the State Department’s contention that it was arming the Arab states as a bulwark against Communism.
Dr. Emanuel Neumann, chairman of the ZOA National Executive Committee and a member of the Jewish Agency executive, charged that the Administration in Washington as a whole is responsible for the pro-Arab policy of the State Department. He asserted that “things have gone too far and are getting out of hand. Neither the President nor the Secretary of State can be absolved of responsibility for the acts of their subordinates and the possible consequences.”
“We have long clung to the belief, ” he said, “that this reckless and one-sided policy in the Middle East has been the work of our lower echelon officials while, on the highest level of the State Department and the Administration as a whole, friendship and concern for Israel continue unchanged. But we can no longer console ourselves with that comforting thought,” Dr. Neumann declared.
Reuben Shiloah, Israel Minister to the United States, addressing the conference, declared “the development of economic stability and democracy are the most urgent and vital goals in the Middle East.” These goals, he continued, “will not be achieved through an armament race in the area. Neither will they be achieved if the leaders of the Arab world harbor the belief that they can gain the friendship of the Western world leadership without abandoning their policies of boycott, blockade and belligerency toward Israel.”
In his address, Mr. May announced that the ZOA is undertaking a thorough overhaul of the public relations and information machinery of the Organization. The ZOA president further announced the establishment of a new Department of Public Information, which will operate as a single overall instrumentality for conducting the public relations work of the ZOA, and in which will be integrated a number of ZOA committees and departments. Dr. Abba Hillel Silver will serve as honorary chairman of the new department. Dr. Leon I. Feuer as chairman, and Harold P. Mason as executive vice-chairman.