WASHINGTON (Mar. 9)
Members of the national executive committee of the Zionist Organization of America visited the Capitol yesterday seeking support against the Ford Administration’s move to open a U.S. military supply relationship with Egypt that would begin with a sale of six C-130 military transport planes. Congress has a veto power against military sales totaling more than $25 million.
The ZOA’s effort to block the sale, which is widely considered as the opening of a broad program of American arms deliveries to Egypt, followed a weekend meeting of the committee at the Dupont Plaza Hotel where a high U.S. Defense Department official said the American position in the Middle East would be “intolerable” without Israel.
Dr. Joseph P. Sternstein, president of the ZOA, called on the Senate Foreign Relations and the House International Relations Committees to summon Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger “immediately” to “determine under oath the true facts about reports of secret agreements with the Arab countries.”
Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D. Mont.) suggested last week that the Senate committee inquire into Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s statements that the U.S. had promised that Israel would not attack Syria and that the Palestinians would participate in a Middle East settlement. Kissinger later said the Congress had received all “relevant” agreements related to the Sinai accord between Israel and Egypt. This left open the possibility of U.S. commitments that could be defined as not particularly relevant to the Sinai but commitments nonetheless.
MIDEAST WITHOUT ISRAEL WOULD BE INTOLERABLE
Edward C. Aldridge Jr., Acting Defense Department Assistant Secretary for Program Analyzes and Valuations told the ZOA last night that “whatever influence we have in the Middle East is due to our strength.” Later, responding to a question, Aldridge said:
“If Israel were not there the situation in the Middle East would be intolerable. There would be a great chance of war. Israel provides the necessary stability in the Middle East and that is what we are hoping for, to avoid a confrontation (between the U.S. and the Soviet Union) in the Middle East.”
Jacques Torczyner, a past president of the ZOA and a member of the World Zionist Organization Executive, urged support by American Jews of the small Jewish communities in Europe that he said were threatened with extinction. He suggested young European Jews be invited to the U.S. to meet the American people. “We respect the centrality of Israel.” Torczyner said, “but we must not forget the constructive power of the Jewish community in the United States.”
He added that the Europeans “look to us for guidance” and for educational and informational materials. “It cannot all come from Israel.” he said. “It must come from here.”