BOSTON (Apr. 30)
Both critics and supporters of U.S. aid to Israel were taken to task here last night by Rep. Samuel Gejdenson (D. Conn.) who addressed the biennial convention of the JWB.
Speaking on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Gejdenson, the first child of Holocaust survivors to serve in Congress, told the nearly 1,000 Jewish communal leaders from the United States, Canada, Israel, Argentina, Belgium and France, “There are those who say that the U.S. gives too much aid to Israel. But in fact we give far less to Israel than we give to democracies in Western Europe and throughout the world.”
The Congressman, who is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, criticized Jewish communal leaders as being unable to “articulate an effective argument on behalf of Israel” and some of them for ‘believing the other side. “
He also castigated other Congressmen who “haven’t done their homework” and who do not know how to answer critics of aid to Israel. “Once we examine the facts, we can become comfortable with the amount of aid we give to Israel,” Gejdenson said. “When you consider the billions we pour into Western Europe, we do not really give Israel a lot.”
Gejdenson said that he thought that the reasons why Israel is not represented effectively are because of the tremendous arms build-up and the passage of time since the Holocaust. “The arms manufacturers have found that markets in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Iran are much more attractive than the Israeli market,” he said.
He also attacked the situation in El Salvador and in other South and Central American countries.
“The issue of human rights and death squads in that area are the same issues experienced in the Holocaust, ” Gejdenson said.