WASHINGTON (Jul. 30)
American policy toward Israel came under fire here during hearings held by the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs. “the promise of American guarantees to Israel, and alternatively the threat of the withdrawal of U.S. support, are being used as the ‘carrot and stick’ of American pressure on Israel,” Robert Loeb, executive director of Breira (Alternative) told the committee last week. Loeb described Breira as a national Jewish educational organization committed to discussing diaspora-Israel relations.
Others who testified before the subcommittee which was conducting a hearing on the “Arab-Israel Dispute–Priorities for Peace,” included Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Arthur J. Goldberg, former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, and Philip Klutznick of Chicago, a world Jewish leader and a former member of the U.S. delegation to the UN. The subcommittee was chaired by Sen. George McGovern (D.SD).
Loeb, who was speaking for himself, not for Breira, said that the policies of Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger are “nothing more than political blackmail.” He stated that the reassessment of America’s Middle East policy part of a reassessment of U.S. foreign policy called for by President Ford last spring has “simply not taken place, though it has been used as an excuse to out off discussions with the Israelis about future arms shipments, even while negotiating arms sales to Arab countries.”
What is essentially needed at the present moment, Loeb said, “are initiatives by all concerned parties” to establish the “principles” and “moral imperatives” which can serve as the basis for a negotiated settlement of the overall conflict. Loeb saw the Geneva conference as the forum for ultimate resolution of the Middle East conflict. He said that the root of the Arab-Israeli conflict lies “in the conflicting legitimate national rights of the Israeli-Jewish people and the Palestinian-Arab people to self-determination in the same land. He indicated that a solution lies in the “mutual recognition” by Israelis and Palestinians of the right of each people to “national self-determination.”