CHICAGO (Jul. 20)
Representatives of various Jewish groups today submitted statements on the Middle East to the subcommittee on foreign policy of the Republican Platform Committee prior to the official opening of the Republican National Convention here.
Speaking for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, I. L. Kenen offered the following points for inclusion in the Republican platform: 1. A new initiative by the United States calling for direct Israel-Arab peace negotiations; 2. Economic aid to both Arabs and Israelis; 3. Guarantees to preserve the sovereignty and continued independence of the states of the area; 4. Resettlement of the Arab refugees in Arab countries.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee also urged the Republican Convention to refuse to condone or surrender to boycotts and other acts of economic warfare such as the Suez Canal blockade. Also that “vigilant action” be taken to prevent both a disastrous arms race and a dangerous arms imbalance resulting from the Soviet Arms shipments to the Arab states.
Clarence Coleman, speaking for the American Council for Judaism asked the Republicans to include a plank in the platform stating that: 1. The United States cannot recognize foreign laws or policies which distinguish between American citizens on the basis of religious faith, or which require some Americans because of their religion to take special actions to safeguard their United States citizenship; 2. America “will do everything within its diplomatic capabilities to make clear, as a matter of policy,” that the United States “objects to and repudiates the ideological commitment of present Israeli nationalism to Zionism.”
Members of the foreign policy subcommittee of the Republican platform Committee raised questions as to whether pro-Israel sentiments or the anti-Israel stand of the American Council for Judaism possessed more adherents among American Jews. A question was also raised on whether anti-Israel views similar to those of the ACJ are found among Jews in other countries. Mr. Coleman evaded direct answers and sought to give the impression that he spoke for a considerable group.
Maj. -Gen. Julius Klein testified before the committee on behalf of a pro-Israel plank and indicated that 95 percent of American Jews rejected the views of the Council for Judaism. He said he wished to disassociate himself from such views as thos expressed by the ACJ spokesman and to support the position taken by Mr. Kenen. Maj. -Gen. Klein also told the subcommittee that the Arab states discriminated against American military personnel of the Jewish faith and that despite his 35 years of service he could not visit Cairo because he is a Jew.
SEN. KEATING URGES REPUBLICANS TO PLEDGE U.S. AID TO ISRAEL
Sen. Kenneth B. Keating, of New York, a strong contender for the Republican Vice Presidential nomination, urged the Platform subcommittee to affirm that the political integrity of Israel is “an important tenet of American foreign policy” and that this integrity must be preserved.
He recommended the condemnation of the Soviet bloc policy of sales of arms to the Arabs, and emphasized that “It must be clearly understood” that the United States shall continue aid to Israel as a “noble bastion of democracy” and will support her independence against armed aggression.
“We must advance a positive policy looking towards the elimination of obstacles to an enduring peace in the Middle East,” Sen. Keating said. “To that end, I recommend that we diligently encourage the Arab States and Israel to negotiate a settlement. We should vigorously use our good offices to bring about an end to boycotts, blockades and restrictions on the use of the Suez Canal and other actions by the Arab bloc which flout international law.
“We should continue to lend our assistance to the rehabilitation and permanent resettlement of the Arab refugees and give Israel that assurance of national security which the situation and our national interest require.” The Senator continued. “We should approve appropriate action to oppose the imposition by foreign governments of discrimination against United States citizens, based on their religion or race, and we should do all we can to bring an end to these deplorable practices.”
Mrs. Milton K, Susman of Pittsburgh, testifying on behalf of the National Council of Jewish Women, urged the foreign policy subcommittee to draft a plank insisting on the free passage of shipping through the Suez Canal and opposing the Arab blockade policies affecting Americans.