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Ajcongress Official Raps Quaker Report on Mideast

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The controversial American Friends Service Committee report, “Search for Peace in the Middle East,” was criticized today by a national vice-president of the American Jewish Congress for proposing “imposed” solutions to the current stalemate which will only provide an “interlude between wars,” not “real peace.” The editor of the Quaker document charged that he and the report, which recognizes the legitimacy of Israel’s existence, are being branded anti-Israel because they oppose “some policies of the dominant” segment of Premier Golda Meir’s government. Theodore R. Mann, president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Philadelphia and a former president of the AJ Congress’ Philadelphia Council, and Dr. Landrum R. Bolling, president of Earlham College and editor of the document, debated the study at a meeting of the Congress’ Women’s Division Board at the Stephen Wise Congress House here. Bolling rejected previously made claims that the report, which professes neutrality, is anti-Israel. He said he has been harshly attacked by Arabs for calling for Four Power and United Nations guarantees of Israel’s security. Also, he said, Arabs have argued against his acceptance of the need for “insubstantial alterations” of the pre-1967 war boundaries and the report’s acknowledgement of the impracticality of having Israel fully repatriate all Arab refugees. Mann, on the other hand, scoffed at the notion that faith could be placed in UN and Big Power guarantees considering their ineffectiveness in preventing the last Israel-Arab war.

He insisted that true peace includes normalization of relations between the two sides, which must begin with direct bargaining sessions on a peace settlement. Mann wondered rhetorically why, after gaining an indirectly negotiated, imposed settlement, the Arabs would “suddenly decide to normalize relationships.” Mann said the Quaker study, which is published in paperback, fails to ascribe responsibility for the Six-Day War to the late Egyptian President Nasser, though Bolling, who said Nasser was not intent on a war, admitted that Nasser’s foolish “brinkmanship” precipitated the clash. Mann claimed that by implying that Israel might have been the aggressor, the study justifies its demand that Israel comply with the UN resolution stipulating a return to the pre-war boundaries. Mann also denied what he claimed was an impression conveyed by the document that Israelis hate the Arabs as much as the Arabs hate the Israelis. Bolling replied that the work spoke of “hatred in the area” without specific references to Israelis hating Arabs. He apologized for any implication to that effect. Bolling said peace could only he assured with a U.S. military guarantee of Israel’s existence. Peace won’t come, he said, so long as Israel retains lands the Arabs want back. The goal of “Search for Peace in the Middle East” was to make proposals which would avoid “bloodshed,” he said, adding that “Israel needs peace more than real estate.” Mann responded: “The crucial question now is what kind of peace is worth more than real estate?” The Quaker’s “kind of peace is no peace,” he said.

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