SAN FRANCISCO (Aug. 21)
Anti-Israel elements made a last-minute effort here today to block adoption by the Republican national convention of a draft platform plank on Israel submitted to it by its resolutions committee. The platform was scheduled for adoption by the convention tonight.
The fight against the plank was led by Alfred Lilienthal, spokesman for the so-called “National Committee for Security and Justice in the Middle East,” who complained that the Republican draft was little better, in his viewpoint, than the Democratic platform adopted in Chicago last week. The Democratic platform promised defensive arms to Israel, but the Republican draft made no reference to arms.
The Lilienthal group said that, while the Republicans had omitted mention of arms, they erred in using phraseology which was too “pro-Israel,” Lilienthal told a press conference that, although some members of Congress had assisted in keeping mention of arms for Israel out of the platform draft, they were unwilling to take the convention floor tonight to oppose adoption of the draft plank.
Lilienthal identified these members of Congress as Sen. Arthur Watkins, of Utah; Sen. H. Alexander Smith, of New Jersey, and Rep. Frances Bolton, of Ohio. It was reported that Sen. William Jenner of Indiana had considered taking the floor to oppose adoption of the Israel plank but it was feared by the anti-Zionists that his extremist views might react against their cause.
Lilienthal also told the press that Sen. Ralph Flanders of Vermont had told him he would seek bipartisan agreement between President Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic candidate, after the convention to keep the Israel arms issue out of politics.
As the delegates prepared to meet in the third convention session today, it was generally felt that a floor fight on the Israel plank would not occur. Many of the Republicans critical of the plank and desirous of a friendlier demonstration toward the Arabs, said that, despite their personal feelings, they wished to preserve party harmony and party unity.
Pro-Israel elements, however, were prepared for any eventuality. Attorney-General Jacob Javits of New York said he would be alert to any anti-Israel maneuver and ready to speak and act against it.