Fulbright: Zionists Have ‘great Power’ in Congress; Cites Military Procurement Bill

Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas said here yesterday that he believed the Zionists have “great power” in the Congress of the United States. He explained his recent proposal for a security treaty between the United States and Israel as a means to codify and limit “a de facto obligation” of the U.S. government. Sen. Fulbright, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced his views in remarks prepared for delivery and in impromptu replies to questions by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s Washington correspondent at a seminar on “The Role of Congress in Foreign Policy” sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Research, a private, nonpartisan research organization. Sen. John Stennis of Mississippi, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee also spoke. Sen. Fulbright’s reference to the influence of Zionists in Congress was made during a discussion of the recent amendment to the Senate’s foreign military procurement bill proposed by Sen. Robert M. Jackson of Washington, which authorizes the President to provide unlimited military and economic aid to Israel. An amendment sponsored by Sen. Fulbright that would have deleted the Jackson provision from the legislation was defeated 87-7. Asked by the JTA whether he thought the seven who favored the Fulbright amendment were more correct in their interpretation of the Constitution than the 87 who opposed it, the Senator said the vote “demonstrates the great power the Zionists have in our Congress.”

Sen. Fulbright added that there is “no precedent for the unlimited amounts” of aid for Israel provided by the Jackson amendment. A military procurement bill containing the Israel aid provision was subsequently passed in the House by a vote of 341-11. Asked why so many Congressmen wanted to support the Zionists, the Arkansas Democrat replied, “I don’t know what is in the minds of my colleagues.” Asked to comment on Sen. Fulbright’s remarks on the Zionist influence. Sen. Stennis would say only that the Israel aid amendment “had a very good vote in the armed services committee” and was “very well supported” in the Senate-House conference. In his prepared remarks. Sen. Fulbright said his proposed U.S.-Israel security pact was motivated by fear that the “war-making power has been passing out of the hands of Congress.” The Senator, a long-time critic of the war in Vietnam, said that “simply by repeating again and again that we have an obligation to someone or other, we have come in a number of instances to suppose that our word and even our national honor are involved as completely as they would be by duly ratified treaties.” He went on. “Such has been the case with both Israel and South Vietnam, to take the two most conspicuous recent examples.” Sen. Fulbright added, “I recently suggested that the United States conclude a security treaty with Israel on certain specific conditions, not in the belief that we would be contracting a new obligation but, quite frankly, for the purpose of codifying and limiting a de facto obligation.”

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