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Russell Long Says Israelis Should Be Told ‘facts of Life’

June 19, 1975
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Sen. Russell B. Long (D.La.), urging grass roots support for President Ford and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger in their Middle East diplomacy, says Israel’s politicians "ought to tell the facts of life" to the people of Israel and cooperate with Kissinger. "Otherwise, somebody could just stumble into a world war that should have been avoided," Long warned.

Long’s remarks came in response to a question in an interview on why he did not join 76 Senators in a letter to President Ford urging continued assistance to Israel. The interview was with Doug Manship. Washington reporter for the Baton Rouge, La, Morning Advocate and State Times and television station WBRZ. It took place June 6, five days before Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin met the President here. A transcript of the interview was given to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency by the Senator’s office after an inquiry by the JTA yesterday. Long is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee which handled the Trade Act of 1974 embodying the Jackson-Vanik measure tying U.S. trade benefits to Soviet emigration policy.

Long said that Kissinger’s step-by-step "solution" of the Middle East problem "has not had much cooperation from the powers that be in Israel. Now somebody has got to tell those people the facts of life, that they ought to work this thing out. And our Secretary of State will have as much sympathy toward Israel as anybody in this country, you would think, having the background of being Jewish by ancestry and having known what it is to see people persecuted."

When JTA suggested to a principal assistant to Long that possibly the Senator, having spoken extemporaneously in the interview, may not have expressed himself precisely or that he had been misinformed about the Israeli people’s lack of information since Israel is exposed to the media of the world, the aide replied that it was not a question of the Senator speaking from misinformation. It was a "considered opinion on his part," the aide said. The Israeli leadership, the aide observed, "is not candid," He said Long had been briefed by Kissinger and others in the Administration and by members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


According to the transcript, Long opened his response on the Israeli issue by observing that Kissinger "is the son of a Jewish family that had to leave Europe and come over here because of the persecution of the Jewish people, as I understand it. Some of the best people in the (State) Department with him are (Helmut) Sonnenfeldt (Department Counsellor). These people who have strong sympathies for Israel are among those who would insist that if we are ever going to solve the controversy which could lead to a third world war to extermination of all mankind that you are going to have to get the Israelis to pull back to something that would approximate the 1967 boundaries.

"Now, what they tell us is that the Israeli politicians all know that. They don’t think that they can tell the people because the public there doesn’t understand it. So, the Israeli Parliament and the Israeli politicians feel that they can’t tell the Israeli people the facts of life that they will have to give up some of their territory that never was a part of Israel, which they overran in that recent war against the Egyptians and others. Their politicians understand it. But their politicians don’t want to tell the people that. So, they want to pose that America will go to war, if need be, for Israel to maintain control of a lot of territory that the people over there don’t seem to understand has to be given up eventually…."

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