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B’nai B’rith Leader Praises Nixon for Forthright Response to Missile Crisis

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Herman Edelsberg, director of B’nai B’rith’s International Council, asserted last night that when President Nixon “blew the whistle” on Egyptian missile violations in the Suez Canal zone, the Soviet Union was “jolted” because it had thought that the United States was “so committed to the continuation of Middle East peace talks during a national election that it would have to swallow the provocation.” Addressing Jewish leaders at a conference sponsored by the BBIC and the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis, Mr. Edelsberg praised President Nixon for his “forthright response” to the missile challenge. “Peace talks through Ambassador (Gunnar V.) Jarring can have no future,” he stressed, “if the past remains tainted by flagrant bad faith. Rectification of the violations and restoration of ‘conditions of confidence’ as proposed by the United States are the precondition for meaningful negotiation.” A total of 200 community and student leaders attended the one-day conference.

Mr. Edelsberg said Britain and France were being “unrealistic, if not cynical” in calling for the resumption of negotiations without regard to the Egyptian violations. The B’nai B’rith leader contended that “the Arab vendetta against Israel, while deep and strong, would not be an explosive obstacle to world peace if it were not deliberately fed by the Soviet Union.” The USSR’s “drive to dominate the Middle East” represents “a clear and present danger” to both Israeli and American interests in the area, he said. Dr. Daniel Jacobs, political science professor at Miami University of Ohio and an expert on international communism, told the gathering that Soviet Jews’ attempts to gain emigration rights were likely to become more militant despite the probability of retaliation by the state in the form of “show trials” and increased repression. More and more non-Jewish Russians, including intellectuals and technocrats, are joining the Soviet Jews’ cause, he said, adding: “The moral pressure of world public opinion, which has been influential in the past, must continue to prevent the situation of Soviet Jewry from deteriorating further.”

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