MIAMI BEACH, Fla (Jul. 31)
Members of the Republican national convention platform committee indicated today that a draft plank on the Middle East tentatively under consideration calls for the sale of supersonic Jets to Israel and favors bringing the Arabs and Israel together for direct negotiations. A behind-the-scenes fight was reported yesterday to prevent adoption of a vague plank that would eliminate specific reference to the F-4 Phantom jets sought by Israel and even to the word “supersonic” as descriptive of the jets.
Harry Torczyner, chairman of the public affairs committee of the Zionist Organization of America, Wednesday told the subcommittee on foreign policy and national security of the Republican platform committee that Israel, by its very existence, strengthened the influence of the United States in all the Arab countries “that have not subordinated their policies to those of a foreign great power hostile to the U.S.”
The ZOA leader told the committee that “it is a fact of international life that the peoples inhabiting the shores of the Persian Gulf – that the governments themselves of Morocco and Tunisia, of Libya, Saudi Arabia and of Lebanon, even of Jordan, not to mention Iran-can feel safer against the depredations of predatory neighbors because of the existence of the State of Israel.” He said that Israel represents and “embodies all of the principles for which the U.S. stands,” and noted that every President since the days of William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft have “supported the ideal now realized of the re-establishment of the Jewish Homeland.”
David Nes, a former United States State Department official in its Embassy in Cairo, testifying for an organization called American Committee for Justice in the Middle East, urged that nothing be said about the Middle East in the platform that would cause a further deterioration of U.S. relations with the Arab world. He expressed the opinion that Israel be required to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty as a quid pro quo for any U.S. assistance.
Mr. Nes yielded a portion of his time before the platform committee to Frank C. Sakran, executive secretary of the pro-Arab American Council on the Middle East. Mr. Sakran denounced Israel for annexing East Jerusalem and its occupation of former Arab territories, and said that it made possible increased Russian influence in the Middle East, He urged that the Republican platform this year contain no reference at all to the Middle East and warned that the U.S. would lose further Arab friendship unless it led Israel rather than allowing the “tail” (presumably Israel) to wag the dog.