MIAMI BEACH (Feb. 21)
Rep. Ogden R. Reid (D NY) declared here that the United States must be prepared to meet its energy needs without oil from Arab countries rather than knuckle to pressure for a policy change that could endanger Israel. “The United States must never permit oil blackmail to influence by one iota foreign policy in the Middle East,” Reid told the 1200 delegates from the U.S. and Canada attending the three-day annual Histadrut Economic Conference for Israel. “If necessary, the United States must become totally self-reliant in energy.”
Reid, a former U.S. Ambassador to Israel and a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor of New York, also said that any peace agreement between Syria and Israel must include the right of Syrian Jews to emigrate. “Syria has allowed no official emigration since 1950,” Reid noted. “The United States must never place economic expediency above human rights.” A further condition to meaningful disengagement in the Golan Heights is release by Syria of names of Israeli prisoners of war, he added. Reid warned that neither the United States nor Russia should seek to impose a settlement in the Middle East, but that the U.S. must work for a change in Soviet policy “from one of controlled tension to one of genuine lasting peace.”
In a similar vein, Simon Weber, editor of the daily Forward in New York, the only daily Yiddish-language newspaper in the U.S. said that American Jewry “must not relax our efforts, both politically and economically, in behalf of Israel. Politically, we must influence the government of the U.S. not to submit to blackmail, and economically, we must support Israel in all areas with even greater participation in the United Jewish Appeal, State of Israel Bonds and through the newest dimension in giving–the Israel Histadrut Foundation. Every Jew must recognize that Israel is an additional dependent, a dependent to be recognized both wile he is alive and in his will.”
Weber, who was honored by the leaders of the Labor Zionist Movement, Workman’s Circle and Israel Histadrut Foundation, warned that “In spite of all the concessions Israel made and is ready to make, the Arabs are not ready to accept Israel and to make a genuine peace based on mutual recognition of boundaries, and ultimately, diplomatic and economic relations between Israel and her neighbors.” He added that the Arabs are apparently now trying to achieve what they could not gain on the battlefield, the disappearance of the Jewish State. Dr. Sol Stein of New York was re-elected national president of the Histadrut Foundation.