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Jackson Scores Administration’s Embargo on Jets for Israel

December 13, 1971
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Sen. Henry M. Jackson charged tonight that President Nixon is risking “what little stability remains in the Middle East” by diminishing Israel’s defense capability through an arbitrary embargo on Phantom jets. The administration’s “one-sided restraint” on Israel, at a time when Egypt is receiving a steady flow of Soviet arms, has created a “dangerous illusion” among President Anwar Sadat and other Arab leaders “that with the passage of time their prospects for a victory over Israel will increase,” the Washington Democrat said.

In remarks prepared for delivery at the annual dinner of the Zionist Organization of America, Jackson declared that by withholding Phantom jets to Israel since last July, “the administration has closed its eyes to the dangerous impairment in Israel’s margin of safety.” The Senator said it is imperative for Israel to maintain control of the air over the Sinai peninsula in order to prevent Egypt from invading across the Suez Canal.

More than 700 persons attended the ZOA dinner at which the organization presented the Theodor Herzl Award, its highest citation, to Israel’s Foreign Minister Abba Eban. Herman L. Weisman, ZOA president who presented Eban with the award, also made a surprise presentation to Jackson of the Louis D. Brandeis Award, a bronze bust of the late Supreme Court Justice, in recognition of the Senator’s “leadership in upholding the just cause of Israel and the defense of liberty and of human rights everywhere.”


In his remarks, Jackson called on President Nixon to tell the American people whether the administration’s policy on the Middle East, as repeatedly expressed by Secretary of State William P. Rogers, is one which the President himself endorses. Jackson said the President should issue a “balance sheet” on the military capabilities of Middle East nations “so that the public can judge for itself the wisdom of the State Department’s indifferences to the deterioration of the military balance.”

“If this were done,” the Senator said, “the necessary Phantom aircraft would be on their way to Israel tomorrow.” Jackson endorsed US support “for a map of Israel with secure and recognized borders which Israel can defend itself as the basis for a workable peace settlement.” He added that “a secure territorial settlement” must provide for “the total demilitarization of the Sinai peninsula, so that no Egyptian armor, aircraft or military personnel would be permitted to cross the Suez Canal.”

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