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Anti-israel Testimony Rebuked at Republican Platform Committee

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Anti-Israel testimony by a former U.S. Ambassador before the Republican Platform Committee drew sharp response today from members of the committee. The witness, Harold B. Minor, of the Citizens Committee on American Policy in the Near East, called for an “impartial” Near Eastern policy, elimination of the traditional Arab-Israel peace plank, and attacked Israel on the Jordan River water plan and on the Arab refugee issue.

Rep. Silvio O. Conte, of Massachusetts, indicated that Mr. Minor was hypocritical in asking “impartiality” and termination of “partisan” considerations when he simultaneously took liberty to single out Israel for blame. The Congressman asked the witness why he didn’t find fault with President Nasser for purchasing Soviet jet bombers to threaten Israel. He said the witness asked the committee not to inject the Israel issue into domestic politics but had injected one-sided anti-Israel allegations.

Mr. Minor replied that American influence with Nasser had improved and that the Platform Committee did not have all the facts on the situation. Rep. Conte replied that as a member of Congress who serves on the Foreign Aid Subcommittee, he felt he was in possession of first-hand information regarding the Nasser regime’s threats to peace. He made clear that he felt Minor’s testimony to be biased.

Questions also arose from the Platform Committee on why Mr. Minor, in view of his injection of anti-Israel issues, did not also cite problems like the continued presence of Egyptian troops in Yemen. He replied that it would not be in the American interest to do so.

Delegate William Wright of Nevada asked Mr. Minor how he could claim impartiality when he sought to blame Israel for its water development program. The witness replied that the water diversion scheme was a threat to peace. Mr. Minor is a former American Ambassador to Lebanon who served 30 years in the State Department. He was supported by delegate Victor Hruska of Florida.

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