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Mayor Lindsay Levels Sharp Attack on American Oil Diplomacy in Middle East

January 16, 1970
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A sharp attack on alleged American oil diplomacy which may be “impeding peace” in the Middle East “by encouraging the intransigence of Israel’s adversaries,” was contained in remarks prepared for delivery by Mayor John V. Lindsay tonight at a massive “Solidarity With Israel Rally” sponsored by the Zionist Organization of America. The rally was called to protest proposals for a Mideast settlement made by Secretary of State William P. Rogers which are regarded as inimical to Israel’s security and chances for peace. Other scheduled speakers were ZOA president Jacques Torczyner and Herman L. Weisman, chairman of the ZOA’s administrative board.

Declaring that “once again Israel’s neighbors call for armed attack to destroy that nation.” Mayor Lindsay said that the greatest danger for Israel did not stem from the hostility of the Arab states but from “the indifference of her friends, specifically the danger of a misguided shift in the position of the United States.”

Mayor Lindsay said, “if this government at this time aligns itself with Israel’s adversaries, how will that promote peace? How will that end the threats and aggressions of the last 22 years? At a time when the Soviet Union is actively on the side of the Arab states – at a time when France embargoes arms to Israel and sells them to Arab conduits in the Middle East – what will happen if our government now leaves Israel to face the combined might of her adversaries alone?”


The Mayor said he was not concerned over Israel’s ability to take care of itself but over policies that would delay the genuine moves toward peace and encourage terror and violence in the Mideast. “We know the temptations of diplomacy. We know the economics of oil and the temptations of strategic calculations,” Mayor Lindsay said. “But our nation has always proclaimed that its policy is based on something more than these temptations. We proclaim the right of self-determination and political Independence…The least we can do – for a nation that asks neither our blood nor our treasure, but only for a chance to live in peace – the least we can do is stand with Israel in her time of need.”

Mr. Torczyner said that “American Jewry will stand by Israel not only because we want it to survive, but because we know that its strength is a guarantee of peace in the Middle East and serves the best interests of the U.S.” He said “Israel is strong, powerful and determined because it has seen how the world reacts in the last few days to the surrender and massacre of the Biafrans.” Mr. Torczyner and Mr. Weisman called on the U.S. Government to give “an immediate and positive answer to supply Israel with additional arms.” Mr. Weisman said Secretary Rogers’ proposals “have suffered swift and total collapse” because they “assumed that Israel was ready to make concessions in advance of peace negotiations.”

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