Jacques Torczyner and Rep. Podell Assail Us and French Middle East Policies

Jacques Torczyner, president of the Zionist Organization of America-lashed out against the State Department’s appeasement policy in the Middle East and against France for supplying Libya with 100 Mirage jet warplanes in his address to the ZOA National Executive Committee meeting Saturday night. He called on President Nixon to respond promptly and favorably to Israel’s Prime Minister Golda Meir’s request for more arms to Israel because of the imbalance now created by the French arms deals. “We are fighting against appeasement in Vietnam,” he said. “Why should we support appeasement in the Middle East?”

Declaring that Jews are as aroused now as in 1967 during the Six-Day War. Torczyner told ZOA leaders from throughout the country that “American Jews don’t want the horrible experience of 1957 to be repeated when Israel had to pull back which resulted in another war in 1967.” Torczyner urged the American Jewish community “to keep informing its neighbors not to fall into the trap of the Soviet Union which wants to eliminate American influence from the Middle East,” and asserted that the Nixon administration is “susceptible to the impact of public opinion” which “is rejecting Secretary of State (William P.) Roger’s statements on the Middle East.”

Rep. Bertram L. Podell of Brooklyn, who just returned from special meetings with French government leaders in Paris, told the meeting that “for money, the French have become merchants of death.” Commenting on the sale of the 100 French war planes to Libya, the congressman said, “the name of the game is power. France is facilitating the Soviet drive in the Mediterranean.” Podell said “I am convinced that some sort of tacit Franco-Soviet diplomacy is emerging. It does not matter whether the arms of the radical Arab states, like Libya, come from Moscow or Paris. They are furnished for the same purpose – the Arab war against Israel.” Podell reiterated his opposition to having a joint session of Congress honor French President Georges Pompidou when he visits the United States next month. “I have protested to the Speaker of the House and urged that such a session not be held. My feelings on this matter are so strong that will boycott such a special session,” he said.

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