Sen. Fulbright Terms U.S. Aid to Israel ‘not Very Good Business’

American economic assistance to Israel came under severe criticism at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on grounds that Israel was “too rich” to go on receiving American benefits, it was disclosed today.

Under questioning by the committee, David E. Bell, administrator of the Agency for International Development, pointed out that, “on a per capita basis, U.S. aid to Israel has been higher than to any other country.” Chairman J. W. Fulbright, Arkansas Democrat, stressed that “Israel has received from this country, private and public, nearly two billion dollars.”

Mr. Bell added that Israel’s foreign exchange reserves have been rising, “so that they are in really quite good shape.” Sen. Fulbright added that Israel reserves have been rising, while America’s “have been going down,” In the opinion of the chairman, on the subject of continuing American loans and grants to Israel, “this is not very good business.”

Sen. John J. Williams, Delaware Republican, attacked the Administration for being too slow in phasing out aid to Israel. Sen. Williams told Mr. Bell: “You are loaning Israel about three and a half times as much in 1962 as you did in either of the two preceding years. I don’t know what kind of a phasing out that is.” Sen. Williams went on to enumerate new loans to Israel.

Sen. Fulbright pointed out that Israel has “one of the high gross national product rates per capita” in the world. He said that per capita aid to Israel was $39.70, while Mexico got only $2.60.

Much of the discussion on phasing out the Israeli program, and criticism of American programs benefiting Israel, was deleted from the transcript made available today for “reasons of national security,” so that the public is only informed of a censored version of the actual full remarks.

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