B’nai Zion Urges Administration to Facilitate Direct Arab-israel Peace Negotiations

B’nai Zion, the American fraternal Zionist organization, adopted today a resolution at the closing session of its 61st annual national convention urging the Nixon administration to “encourage and facilitate direct peace negotiations between the Arab states and Israel.” The resolution stated that “only by this means can there be a binding peace settlement. Inaction or delay will only give way to further Soviet intervention and Arab intransigence in the Mideast.” Dr. Harris J. Levine, chairman of the B’nai Zion Foundation, a subsidiary of B’nai Zion, announced today that $750,000 has been pledged toward a $1 million goal for a new project to establish an American Israel Friendship House in New York to serve as a cultural and membership center. The delegates to the four day convention elected Harold Bernstein, a New York attorney, national president of B’nai Zion. For the past two years he served as national vice-president and succeeds Raymond Patt of New York who concluded three consecutive terms in that office. At an earlier convention session, Lt. Col, Giora Navon, counsellor to Israel’s Mission to the United Nations, said that the “growing involvement of Russia in Egypt is an outcome of failure of Egypt to wage a war of attrition against Israel. The Israel reaction–destruction of Egyptian air defense along the Suez Canal and in the Egyptian heartland-turned the Egyptian war of attrition against Israel into an Israeli war of attrition against Egypt. Russia became concerned about the fate of the pro-Russian Egyptian government. This was the main reason for increased Russian Involvement in Egypt.”

Lt. Col. Navon added, “the capacity of Israel to survive in this war of attrition is much greater than the capacity of Arab countries to wage this conflict. There are three reasons for this; Israel’s military superiority; the continued development of Israel’s economy despite the war; and the support of world Jewry and, we hope, too, of the pro-Western powers.” Dr. Allen Pollack of Yeshiva University faculty and executive committee chairman of American Professors for Peace in the Middle East, told the convention: “There is an internal war within each Arab state and between radical and moderate states. This is the Middle East version of a war for modernization besetting the entire under developed world, with Arabs trying desperately to adjust their traditional societies to the needs of the modern world. Israel to them represents all they fear of the modern world, all they hoped to be, but didn’t know how to achieve. This psychological image of Israel presents the greatest stumbling block to their making peace with Israel.” Similarly, Dr. Pollack added. “As long as they cannot solve their own domestic problems they need a scapegoat. Israel in the Mideast plays the same role that Jews traditionally played in Eastern Europe, being a scapegoat for domestic society in which they live.” Rabbi Shehard Z. Baum of the Bronx, hailed dissent not only as “an American right to be respected,” but also rooted in Jewish tradition and Talmudic opinion.

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