OTTAWA (May. 11)
Some 70 members of the House of Commons and the Senate, among them former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker and ex-Minister of Defense Paul Hellyer, participated in the first annual meeting of the Canada-Israel Committee here. Aaron Pollack, committee chairman, read a policy statement stressing the necessity for the Canadian government to support Israel’s efforts to open direct negotiations with the Arab countries for “peace and understanding” in the Middle East.
In particular, he told the law-makers, the most reasonable and objective Canadian foreign policy will support measures to insure the right of Israel to exist and prosper as an independent Middle East state side-by-side in peace with her Arab neighbors. John Marchand, Federal Minister of Regional Development, speaking on behalf of the Trudeau government, said “If the Jewish people could survive throughout all the centuries it is quite unique; Israel is there, it exists and should be respected and Canada is happy to collaborate with her.”
David Lewis, leader of the New Democratic Party, said he saw “no reason why Canada should not play an important role in bringing peace in the Middle East through her good offices.” Speaking for the opposition Conservative Party, Jack Marshall, said he hoped “that Canada and Israel will continue to cooperate and help peace in the world.”
Israel’s Ambassador Theodor Meron, stressed the importance of the Canada-Israel Committee in bringing about a better understanding of “the problems and realities” of the Middle East today. Dr. Meron said “We are also told that we must not take seriously the Arab threats which, we are told, are made for domestic consumption. However, bitter experience has taught us that Arab declarations should be taken as seriously as, or more seriously, than by the same leaders speaking in English or French to visiting dignitaries and journalists.”