WASHINGTON (Apr. 1)
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee today concluded its two-day third annual national policy conference with the adoption of a statement containing recommendations on American policy in the Middle East.
The statement, which was adopted at a session held in camera, will be presented tomorrow to the State Department, after which it will be made public. The statement will also be submitted to members of Congress. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is a national organization which works to promote American-Israel friendship.
Rabbi Philip S. Bernstein, chairman of the Committee, addressing the conference, called upon the United Nations to distinguish between “those who fire shots of aggression and those who reply in self-defense.” Referring to the recent Israel-Syrian clash on the Sea of Galilee, he declared there should be no double standard. “If the United Nations assumes an attitude of ambivalent it neutrality towards this violence, it will probably continue,” he said. “The United Nations should get the Syrians to observe the cease-fire. If there is no shooting, there will be no shooting back.”
Rabbi Bernstein urged that the U.S. Government should “make clear its conviction that Israel is here to stay, that Israel, as a sovereign nation, has every right to develop its economy to support its population, and that our country will not give its support to proposals or action designed to promote belligerence and to obstruct the economic development of the area.” He said he could not understand pressures that have been brought to bear upon Israel lately to agree to take substantial numbers of Arab refugees.
“Our Government must know that short of peace with the Arabs, Israel simply cannot accept any number of refugees committed to the destruction of Israel. These proposals are futile and they may be giving the refugees false hopes,” he declared. He also contended that the U.S. delegation to the United Nations had erred when it voted against the 16-nation peace initiative at the last UN session. “The United States,” he said, “was committed to direct negotiations between Israel and the Arab states by former UN resolutions, and the President of the United States was committed to this by statements that he made prior to his election.”