WASHINGTON (May. 3)
Action on the part of the United States to halt the drift towards a war on the Middle East was urged by speakers here today at the opening of the two-day annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee which is now observing its 10th anniversary.
The leaders of the organization declared that the Department of State underestimates the danger of war and of Arab expansion in the Middle East. They called for a stronger American policy to meet the threat to Israel and other Democratic outposts in the Middle East.
Rabbi Philip Bernstein, chairman of the Committee, paid tribute to the policies of the late President Kennedy in the Middle East and expressed confidence that President Johnson would continue to reflect the essential good will of the American people toward the State of Israel. He recalled the recent visit of Jordan’s King Hussein here, and called on the Arab states to engage in an “agonizing reappraisal” of their present “completely negative, and destructive program which can only lead to calamity and failure.”
I.L. Kenen, executive director of the Committee, analyzed recent State Department testimony before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives and declared that the Department was too optimistic in its appraisal of the Cairo Conference of Arab Heads of State and of the threat to NATO and the Middle East. Since the Cairo conference Nasser predicted four times the inevitability of war with Israel, called for the liquidation of the American air base in Libya and the expulsion of the British from the port of Aden. If Nasser succeeds in carrying out his program, it will be a serious defeat for NATO and a great gain for the Soviets in the Near East, Kenen warned.
The session was also addressed by Mrs. L. Kramarsky, president of Hadassah and by Joseph H. Myerhoff, general chairman of the United Jewish Appeal. Mrs. Kramarsky devoted most of her speech to the human element involved in Israel’s security and discussed the problems and requirements of education and the needs of raising the general level of the population which has immigrated from backward countries. Mr. Meyerhoff dealt primarily with the problems of immigration, absorption and settlement of new immigrants, the financial issues involved and the implications of it for the security of Israel.