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Rabbi Kaufman Tells B’nai B’rith Parley That Big Powers Cannot Bring Mideast Peace

The Big Four talks on the Middle East are “the last gesture of an expiring era” and whatever their outcome, Israel and the Arab states will still have to settle their differences themselves,” Rabbi Jay Kaufman, executive vice president of B’nai B’rith said today. Mideast nations “cannot look with any real hope” to the Great Powers “who have little to gain and much to lose by forced solutions,” Rabbi Kaufman told 1,200 delegates at the annual convention of B’nai B’rith district three.

The “negligible effect” on world trade of a blocked Suez Canal, the obsolescence of military bases because of advanced missile technology, and geopolitical factors are making the Middle East “not worth fighting over” among world powers, Rabbi Kaufman said. “The experiences of the 1950s, which brought French and British armies to recover the Suez and American troops to rescue Lebanon, are not likely to be repeated,” he said. Some form of direct negotiation, “probably halting and disguised at first,” is inevitable, he predicted.