Menu JTA Search

Senate Body Urges U.S. to Act on Arab Bias Against American Jews

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously adopted a resolution today aimed at Arab discrimination against American Jewish citizens and emphasizing that such bias is “incompatible with the relations that should exist among friendly nations.” The resolution instructs the State Department that “in all negotiations between the United States and any foreign state every reasonable effort should be made to maintain this principle.”

The resolution stresses that “the protection of the integrity of U. S. citizenship and of the proper rights of U. S. citizens in their pursuit of lawful trade, travel and other activities abroad is a principle of U. S. sovereignty.” It points-out that “it is a primary principle of our nation that there shall be no distinction among U. S. citizens based on their individual religious affiliation.”

The resolution further says that “any attempt by foreign nations to create such distinctions among our citizens in the granting of personal or commercial access or any other rights otherwise available to U. S. citizens generally is inconsistent with our principles.” The text of the resolution will be presented to the Senate by Sen. Water George, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, with the hope that it will be put to a vote-before the adjournment of the session, which is expected at the end of this week.

LEHMAN RESOLUTION WEAKENED AFTER STATE DEPARTMENT’S TESTIMONY

The resolution emerged as a modified and weakened version of the original resolution introduced by Sen. Herbert H. Lehman which called upon the President to declare to all nations that the U. S. will not tolerate religious discrimination against its citizens. Sen Lehman’s resolution also provided that U. S. public agencies should not bar qualified American citizens from service in foreign countries because of religious bias. It recommended that every agreement between the U. S. and a foreign country should state that no U. S. citizen may be denied travel advantages, employment or trade because of religion.

Sen. Lehman’s resolution was supported by 18 other Senators. However, it was opposed by the State Department, which thought that the Lehman version might restrict the Department in its conduct of diplomacy abroad. As a result of the State Departments opposition, the resolution was modified to merely ask the State Department to attempt to persuade the Arabs to change their attitude toward American Jews.

Robert D. Murphy, Deputy Undersecretary of State, appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that the State Department still hopes to renew the lease for the U. S. military base in Saudi Arabia from which American Jewish servicemen have been barred at the request of the Saudi Arabian ruler. He sought to justify the State Department’s position in barring U. S. Jews from the base.

Meanwhile, Rep. Adam C. Powell, Jr., today praised the “reform programs” of Egyptian President Nasser which he said had been executed with “vigor.” Addressing the House, Rep. Powell took the fourth anniversary of Egyptian independence as the occasion to congratulate Col. Nasser for his policies during the last four years.

NEXT STORY