WASHINGTON (Jul. 29)
The B’nai B’rith and the American-Arab Association for Commerce and Industry agreed today that a Mideast peace is necessary to world peace and important to keep Europe and Japan from having to give in to the Communists in order to keep their oil supplies from drying up. That was all they agreed on. however, at the fifth hearing of the Near East Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Charles C. Bonin. president of the American-Arab Association for Commerce and Industry, outlined for the Committee the economic Interests of American corporations in the Arab countries, and warned that one cannot do business with someone who is an enemy. He refused to comment on what he called the “political and military” issues of a peace settlement or the possibility of war. Although he said he personally would not like to see Israel cease to exist, he refused to commit his membership of 120 firms to that position. Dr. William A. Wexler, president of B’nai B’rith, said that the U.S. had to take the chance of continuing to alienate the Arabs until they believe that America will stand behind her word.
“There comes a time when, for survival of our country, survival of world peace, we are going to have to become a little more firm in our position.” Dr. Wexler declared. He told the Committee that if the U.S. cannot protect Israel against Soviet imperialistic designs “that fan out far beyond the Middle East itself,” It may be “the beginning of the end for the free world.” He said the solution to the conflict could be if the Soviet Union “could be persuaded that the drive for expulsion of Western influence from the Middle East is too risky and unlikely to succeed, and if the Soviet Union would accept its current Important influence as sufficient for its defensive needs.” Dr. Wexler said the current U.S. peace initiative was “not by itself enough.” He said Israel had to be assured of arms from the United States in case the cease-fire is violated, and the Soviet Union’s role in Egypt had to be strictly delineated and decreased. He also warned that a cease-fire or peace talks that do not have agreement from the Iraqis and the Arab guerrillas were neither a cessation in fighting nor a step towards a settlement of the hostilities.