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50,000 Jews from Many Cities Participate in Public Rally for Israel in Washington

June 9, 1967
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

More than 50,000 Jews from all sections of the country jammed Lafayette Park opposite the White House here today to voice support for Israel and vow "that the victories won on the field of battle shall not be lost at the tables of diplomacy." The rally climaxed a two-day National Emergency Leadership Conference for Israel sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Speakers at the rally — Senators, Negro rights leaders, labor officials and Jewish spokesmen — called on the Johnson Administration to put its weight behind direct Arab-Israel talks leading toward a permanent peace in the Middle East. An enthusiastic and orderly crowd cheered speeches that emphasized the U.S. and Israel shared the goals of freedom of the seas and an end to belligerency in the Middle East.

Dr. Joachim Prinz, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, opened the rally with a call for strong U.S. backing of a settlement based on Arab recognition of Israel’s "permanent presence" in the Middle East. Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the American Zionists Council issued a direct call to President Johnson to "help once and for all end Arab belligerence against Israel."

Morris B. Abram, president of the American Jewish Committee and U.S. representative to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, told the rally "the peace of the Middle East must rest on non-belligerence, free navigation and the justice achieved through negotiations." These, he said, could best be secured by "ironclad non-aggression guarantees. Neither Israel nor America can be satisfied with another jerry-built, paper-clipped, glued-together peace." Mr. Abram declared.


Whitney Young, president of the National Urban League, told the rally — "Israel is to be congratulated for her prompt response to American efforts to end the conflict by a cease-fire. Negroes know what it means to be homeless and restless. The Negro American in particular can sympathize with those who are displaced, who face the loss of their homes, and whose sovereign integrity is threatened." The speakers also included A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin of the civil rights movement. Among the demonstrators for Israel were a considerable number of persons who were not Jewish.

Dr. William A. Wexler, president of B’nai B’rith and chairman of the rally told the gathering "Israel’s hard-won achievements must not again be betrayed by patchwork diplomacy. Jerusalem — the city of the Temple of Solomon — must remain Jewish. Israel’s borders must be adjusted to safeguard security and peace. The Gulf of Akaba and the Suez Canal — the lifeline of Israeli trade — must remain open."

House Speaker John McCormack told the rally that he would "continue to do everything within my power to see that the fruits of military victory" by Israel in the fighting this week "are not defeated in the field of diplomacy," He also said that "the national interest of the United States calls for strong support of Israel" because the national interest of Israel "is consistent with the national interest of our own country." Rep. McCormack’s message was read by Dr. Mordecai Hacohen of New York, coordinator for the Emergency Action Committee for Israel.


The demonstration’s high point was ignited by the announcement that Egypt had agreed to the U.N. cease-fire resolution. The cheering could be heard inside the White House. President Johnson did not address the rally nor welcome a delegation. But Under Secretary of State Nicholas Katzenbach and Bromley Smith, Secretary of the National Security Council, accepted a petition. The petition called for peace along Israel’s borders, and unrestricted transit through Akaba Gulf and the Suez Canal.

While the Jewish young people sang and danced, a group of about 100 Arabs and other Moslems chanted anti-Israel slogans in front of the White House. A heavy police cordon screened the Arab demonstrators from the pro-Israel demonstration and the general public.

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