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Long Pledges Congress Will ‘keep Israel Strong’

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Rep. Clarence Long (D. Md.) pledged here that Congress would “keep Israel strong” despite any Reagan Administration action to the contrary.

Long, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on Foreign Operations, which puts him in a key role in United States foreign aid programs, spoke at the annual award dinner of Touro College Sunday night.

Long also promised the 500 guests at the event that he would continue to fight for Israel’s security and well-being despite the Reagan Administration’s “unwillingness to insure Israel’s security and the continuation of the peace process started by the Camp. David accords.” He chided President Reagan for “compromising” Israel’s security by selling sophisticated weapons to Israel’s enemies.

He said that “In the case of Jordan, I opposed the sale of Stinger missiles and the Administration withdrew its request. But more recently, the Administration bypassed Congress and shipped 400 Stingers to Saudi Arabia along with plans to send more.” Stingers are ground to air missiles fired from shoulder launchers.

He also criticized the Administration for not promptly moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Co-sponsor of a bill to make the shift, Long said he was personally assailed by the National Association of Arab Americans and other groups for his strong advocacy of aid to Israel.

U.S. AID FOR ISRAEL

He said that to help Israel with its severe debt problem and 180 percent annual inflation, Congress had approved for fiscal 1984 $2.61 billion in military and economic assistance, an amount $425 million more than the Reagan Administration had requested. Long said that, for fiscal 1985, Congress is granting Israel an amount $840 million more than requested by the Administration.

Long called Israel “an irreplaceable asset in the Middle East,” as well as a safeguarder of the region’s oil supply. He declared that the OPEC oil countries “since 1973 have extorted an additional $315 billion from the American consumer as a result of oil price increases” and have “used these monies to foment trouble all over the Middle East. This is how they finance the death of American marines and the slaughter of Israeli soldiers and civilians.”

Long was presented by Touro College president Bernard Lander with a silver-plated encased Menorah and the college’s public leadership award.

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