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Johnson Assures Rabbis U.s.a. Opposes Use of Force in Middle East

February 2, 1967
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

President Johnson today assured 500 Orthodox rabbis, attending a religious convention here, that the United States “resolutely” opposes “the use of force or threats of force by one state against another” in the Middle East area, and intends to maintain that policy.

The President’s message was read here this morning at the closing session of a three day parley of the Rabbinical Council of America. Noting in his greeting to the Council that “we are all concerned over maintaining peace in the Middle East,” Mr. Johnson declared:

“The achievements of the Israeli people over a scant two decades have taught us all what skill and determination can do, Israel today is an impressive tribute to the dedication of its people as well as to the support of nations and friends around the world. The United States is proud to be one of those nations.

“For the past two decades, the United States has been in the forefront of those genuinely wishing to bring about a peaceful resolution of the conflict troubling the Near East. This is not easy to achieve, but we must persevere in our efforts to make progress toward this objective.

We have made it clear that we will resolutely oppose the use of force or the threat of force by one state against another in the area. We intend to live up to that commitment but we must recognize that, until basic solutions are found, tensions are likely to continue placing the highest premium on cool and far-sighted statesmanship. We must do all we can and we must ask our friends in the area to go that extra mile with us in the unremitting search for the peaceful way. I join you in praying that peace may come to all lands. I pledge our determination to work with all nations dedicated to that goal.”


Rabbi Harry I. Wohlberg, of Brooklyn, chairman of the convocation, told the parley today that the rise of neo-Nazism in Germany is not a Jewish problem, but a world problem. He stated that the Jews have earned the right to warn mankind of Nazism because “we paid the highest price with our 6,000,000 martyrs.” “We must issue the most solemn warning to the nations of the world and to their leaders,” he said, “to heed in time the danger signals that are flying in Germany.

“The first thing that should be done,” he said, “is to demand from Bonn that it outlaw the National Democratic Party” which “includes in its leadership and membership a large proportion of admitted Nazis.” He also criticized the State Department for refusing to bar the deputy chairman of the NDP, Adolf von Thadden, from visiting the United States, and reminded Washington that, in the past, the U.S.A. had no difficulty in barring Communists from this country. He asked: “Are Nazis better than Communists?”

The session approved a resolution introduced by Rabbi Israel Kalvan, executive vice-president of the Council, addressed to the West German Government, appealing for the adoption of severe measures to stamp out all vestiges of Nazism.

Other resolutions called upon the Soviet Government to grant opportunities for free and unqualified religious freedom to its 3,000,000 Jewish inhabitants; called upon the United States Government to take steps to strengthen the security of Israel; and appealed to the four great powers–the U.S.A., Britain, France and the Soviet Union–to concentrate their efforts toward security in the Middle East. The Council also expressed dismay and condemned the “desecration of the Sabbath in certain centers and Y’s throughout the country.”

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