WASHINGTON (May. 23)
A five-point program for an American Middle East policy to promote democratic development and defense in the area was presented here to Illinois members of Congress by a group of Jewish leaders from Chicago representing various Jewish organizations. The program was later brought to the attention of the House together with a communication from the American Christian Palestine Committee in Chicago expressing “strong basic agreement” with the proposals.
The five-point program covered arms, economic aid, Arab-Israel peace negotiations, regional development projects and an American-Israel defense pact. Representative Barrat O’Hara, raising the issue on the floor of the House, said that the American Christian Palestine Committee regards the American policy of arming Arab nations as “a serious mistake” because it represents “a threat to Israel, a disservice to the Arab peoples themselves, and an invitation to Communism to breed on the increased area tensions that the arms will inevitably generate.”
The Jewish delegation, consisting of 11 members led by Rabbi Morton M. Berman, chairman of the American Zionist Council of Illinois, said: “We regard as indefensible the shipment of arms by the United States to Iraq in the light of Iraq’s continuous avowals of hostility to Israel. The argument that arms shipped to Iraq do not go to a state directly bordering Israel provides no reassurance that Iraq will not share those arms with its Arab allies in their threatened assault upon Israel.”
On economic aid, the delegation said: “We regard the publicly announced further possible reduction of aid to Israel and other Middle Eastern countries as unwarranted and ill-considered in the face of the marked need to raise living standards and to bolster morale and resistance to Communist subversion and penetration.”
The greatest contribution to peace and stability in the Middle East could be effected by a mutual defense agreement between the United States and Israel, the delegation stated. The Illinois members of Congress whom the delegation addressed, included: Sen. Paul H. Douglas and Sen. Everett M. Dirksen, and Representatives James B. Bowler, Charles A. Boyle, Robert B. Chiperfield, Marguerite Stitt Church. William L. Dawson, Thomas S. Gordon, Kenneth J. Gray, Richard I. Hoffman, John C. Kluczynski, Peter F. Mack. Jr. James C. Murray, Thomas J. O’Brien, Barratt O’Hara, Melvin Price, Chauncey W. Reed, Timothy P. Sheehan, Harold H. Melde and Charles W. Vursell.