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G.o.p. Platform Committee Adopts Plank That Fails to Mention Israel

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The Republican Platform Committee today announced adoption of a platform including a weakened and vague version of the Middle East plank submitted by pro-Israel elements and, for the first time since 1944, made no reference to Israel or Jewish aspirations in the Near East. The platform, however, said: “We condemn the persecution of minorities, such as the Jews, within Communist borders.”

Committee sources stated that the committee, in weakening the Israel plank, wished to avoid involvement with the Israel issue as “not appropriate for a domestic political platform.”

The new Middle East plank came as a disappointment to many witnesses who had testified before the platform committee, and to liberal members of the committee itself. It was pointed out that the platform committee acted as it did because of the opposition of the Conservatives, who dominated the committee, to the civil rights and pro-Israel stand of the Eastern liberals.

On the subject of foreign aid generally, the platform said that the administration aid program would not “bolster and sustain anti-American regimes;” A question exists as to whether this would apply to Egypt.

STRONG PLANKS PROPOSED BY SOME COMMITTEE MEMBERS AND WITNESSES

In the place of the specific plank on Israel submitted by liberal Republicans, the statement emerging from the platform committee said only that “respecting the Middle East, and in addition to our reaffirmed pledges of 1960 concerning this area, we will so direct our economic and military assistance as to help maintain stability in this region and prevent an imbalance of arms.”

The plank submitted by members of the Senate and House who support Israel had called for American initiative for Arab-Israel peace, the support of Israel’s water development program, condemnation of Egypt for its anti-Israel hostility and acquisition of Soviet arms, and for American efforts to end Arab boycotts and blockades against Israel.

The proposed plank also called for support of Israel and for measures “to integrate Israel into our defense system so that she may be strong enough to defend herself and to deter attack.”

Sen. Kenneth Keating, of New York, told the platform committee the Republican Party “should express its desire for a lasting peace in the Near East, to be achieved through direct negotiations between the Arab states and Israel.” He said: “We are deeply concerned over Soviet arms shipments to the Near East and the activities of former Nazi scientists in developing new horror weapons for President Nasser; We urge curtailment of economic assistance to Arab nations which in any way is used to subsidize military ventures. To make clear the commitment of the United States to resist aggression in the Near East; and to emphasize our determination to guarantee the survival of Israel, measures should be supported to integrate Israel into the free world’s defense system.”

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATOR FAVORED STRONG PLANK ON SOVIET JEWRY

Sympathetic consideration of a plank hitting at the Soviet Union’s anti-Jewish policy had been promised earlier by Milton Marks, a California State Assemblyman who had testified on the behalf of the American Conference on Soviet Jewry. Mr. Marks, a Republican leader from San Francisco, cited wide interfaith support for the move. He said that precedents existed in previous planks condemning Nazi tyranny and the oppression of people generally in Eastern Europe. The plank submitted by Mr. Marks, which is similar to one previously offered by Sen. Jacob K. Javits of New York, states:

“Historically, the Republican Party has condemned all forms of oppression and persecution based on race, religion or national origin, wherever this has occurred. We now condemn the campaign being waged by Soviet authorities against all religious groups in the Soviet Union, and especially protest the Soviet repression of its Jewish citizens.”

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