WASHINGTON (Dec. 30)
President George Meany of the AFL-CIO, speaking for the American trade union movement, called upon the U.S. Government today to “cease bartering away the freedom of Israel and trying to appease Soviet and Arab dictators.” Mr. Meany addressed a special press conference because he viewed Israel’s plight as critical and thought too little public attention was focussed upon the Nixon Administration’s “change of direction.” He called for the supply of Phantom jet planes and other arms to Israel to maintain a balance of power.
The union leader openly charged that “big business interests” were influencing the Administration against Israel. He said that “certain American bankers and oil interests” were concerned about investments in Arab states. He said that foreign policy should not be determined by “the profit picture.”
Mr. Meany asked the government to “insist that the only mechanism to achieve a lasting peace in the Middle East is direct negotiations,” rather than an imposed big power “settlement.” He said the United States itself would not accept a settlement imposed by other powers if American interests were at stake. He said that “no settlement imposed by outsiders on the parties directly involved will be lasting.” In his view, “the Administration is changing direction. It is moving down the road of appeasement.”
He said that “such appeasement would only give credit to the Soviets and Egypt for achieving through diplomatic blackmail and political maneuvering all they failed to win on the battlefield.” He added that such appeasement was “unworthy of America.”
Mr. Meany declared that “no statesman should ask the American people or Israel to forget the lesson of the events which followed the war of 1956. Our government then joined hands with the Soviets in forcing Israel to give up areas vital to her national security and the achievement of lasting peace in the Middle East.” He expressed the view that Israel should use the occupied areas as a means of obtaining peace at a bargaining table. He said he thought Israel might return about 90 percent of the territories if a real peace were secured.
Mr. Meany said he was confident that the views of American labor on Israel would become known to President Nixon.