Menu JTA Search

Republican Platform Fails to Advocate Defensive Arms for Israel

Dissatisfaction with the fact that the Republican Platform Committee failed to advocate the sale of American defensive arms to Israel in its tentative plank proposed yesterday to the Republican National Convention was felt in the ranks of New York delegates here today. However, it was taken for granted that the proposed platform on Israel will be adopted by the full convention.

Unlike the Democratic National Convention, which did promise arms to Israel, the platform of the Republican Convention contains only a pledge to support the independence of Israel against armed aggression but avoids any mention of arms for the Jewish State.

The New York Republican delegation had sought the inclusion in the platform of a pledge for defensive arms for Israel, similar to the pledge made in the Democratic platform last week in Chicago, it was learned today. Attorney General Jacob Javits of New York, noted Republican, defended today the proposed Republican platform. However he indicated that it did not go as far as the New York Republican delegation had wanted.

The Republican plank on Israel is a general restatement of previous positions taken on the Israel-Arab issue by President Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foste. Dulles. The text reads as follows:

“We recognize the existence of a major threat to international peace in the Near East. We support a policy of impartial friendship for the peoples of the Arab states and Israel to promote a peaceful settlement of the causes of tension in that area, including the human problem of the Palestine-Arab refugees.

Progress toward a just settlement of the tragic conflict, between the Jewish state and the Arab nations in Palestine was upset by the Soviet bloc sale of arms to Arab countries. But prospects of peace have now been reinforced by the mission to Palestine of the United Nations Secretary General upon the initiative of the United States.

“We regard the preservation of Israel as an important tenet of American foreign policy. We are determined that the integrity of an independent Jewish state shall be maintained. We shall support the independence of Israel against armed aggression. The best hope for peace in the Middle East lies in the United Nations. We pledge our continued efforts to eliminate the obstacles to a lasting peace in this area.”

The platform made what might possibly be meant as a reference to Saudi Arabian discrimination against U.S. Jews, but Saudi Arabia was not mentioned by name. The platform said: “We approve appropriate action to oppose the imposition by foreign governments of discrimination against United States citizens, based on their religion or race.”

The platform omitted all mention of the Suez situation. Referring to the Middle East, a preamble to the platform said the Republican Administration had “maintained and will maintain friendly relations with all nations in this vital area, seeking to mediate differences among them, and encourage their legitimate national aspirations.

At a press conference, Mr. Javits expressed hope for avoidance of partisan politics on the Israel arms issue. He said that some people held that the Republican plat form stand on Israel was better than any promise of arms, but noted that he did not necessarily share this viewpoint. Mr. Javits was asked if, in a New York Senate race, he would be satisfied to run for the Senate on this plank. He replied that he was not satisfied to run on this plank, or the other party’s plank, but rather on principles for which he has stood.

Republican advocates of U.S. arms for Israel have tacitly accepted the decision of the Platform Committee to omit reference to arms and are hailing the platform as the best that could be obtained under the circumstances. While still favoring arms for Israel, these elements have bowed temporarily to the Administration’s rigid stand against mention of arms to the degree that the fight for a more favorable final plank has been virtually abandoned.

No floor fight is therefore anticipated when the Israel portion of the platform is put before the convention tomorrow night. Nor is any important change expected in the present wording.

The New York delegation, which sought arms for Israel, is now stressing the plank’s pledge “to support the independence of Israel against armed aggression”. A measure of embarrassment exists in Jewish Republican circles because of the contrast between the Republican plank and the one adopted last week by the Democrats in Chicago, openly advocating the supply of American arms to Israel.

NEXT STORY