Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Abie Nathan Rejects Joint Conference with Arab Propagandist in N.Y.

March 24, 1966
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Abie Nathan, the Israeli peace flier who arrived here last night to continue his mission to enlist the aid of world leaders to end the Arab-Israel dispute, canceled a scheduled meeting with Dr. Mohammed Mehdi, general-secretary of the Action Committee on American-Arab Relations, after he learned the details of the group’s program. The organization advocates the emigration from Israel of much of its Jewish population.

Mr. Nathan said that he canceled the meeting last night when Dr. Mehdi insisted that their conference be followed by a joint press conference. The Israeli restaurant owner and former airlines pilot said that he had accepted the invitation to the meeting earlier, in Paris, before he knew the nature of Dr. Mehdi’s organization.

“I have no desire to meet with Dr. Mehdi because I now feel that his views put the prospects of peace in the Middle East even farther away than they are today; I have come to bring the Jew and Arab together. I believe Mehdi is acting entirely on his own and does not represent any sector of Arab opinion. ” He added that he had not come to this country “to engage in public debate with any organization.”

Dr. Mehdi, meanwhile, went ahead with the scheduled press conference this morning, without informing the press that Mr. Nathan would not participate. An irate group of reporters accused Dr. Mehdi of withholding the news of Mr. Nathan’s withdrawal, in order to attract a large number of newsmen.

Recommended from JTA