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January 11, 1974 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1974-01-11

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ly Commentary

Sorely Tried People of Israel Must Report to Basic
Argument of 'Right to 'Live' in Counteracting Rising
Anti-Jewish Propaganda ... Oil Mess, Palestinian Issue

By Philip
Slomovifz

When All Appeals to Reason- Fail ... Right to Live Becomes Basic

:Many of the theological, sentimental humanitarian, appeals-to-reason attempts
to prove the legality and justifiableness of Israel's existence appear, under pressure
from oil and prejudice, to be falling on deaf ears and stony hearts.

Perhaps, therefore, the one major basic argument to be emphasized is a
people's right to live. Just as an individual has the duty as well as the right to
insist upon humane treatment and the right to exist, so, also, an entire people has
the same right. It has the duty to retain its culture and the privilege of asking
freedom to function.

Why, in this civilized age, even to introduce this argument? Because what is
proving to be the irrelevant weapon of oil and its aspect in the energy crisis, coupled
by the reverberating animosities to Jewry are militating against the Jewish state
in the struggle for security and survival. An example: the already well known anti-
Zionist Christian Century carried an article about Israel which concluded with the
statement: "The Jewish state of Israel, with its ambiguous identity as a nation
and a religious entity, looks to American Christians for support. Somehow we must
find a way to provide that support, but we must do so by retaining our equally
powerful commitment to the Palestinian Arabs — Christian and Moslem — who seek
freedom and self-determination." Why describe Israel's status as "ambiguous?"
Why claim that only the anti-Zionist forces seek freedom for Christians and Arabs
in Israel when the Israelis grant it zealously? Why has Israel's "religious entity"
caused suspicion in the mind of a Christian?
Israel exerted herself, also zealously, to befriend the African nations, to

assist them technologically, agriculturally, culturally. Yet, 28 of the 32 African
states with which Israel established diplomatic relations yielded to Arab pressures
and broke relations with her. Some are adopting anti-Semitic policies: A friend-
lier non-Jewish magazine, Christianity Today, carried this item under the heading
"Anti-Semitism in Uganda:" "According to the German pastors' newspaper Deutsches
Pfarrblatt, President Amin of Uganda has decided to publish the infamous 'Protocols
of the Wise Men of Zion" in several African languages. `The Protocols,' ostensibly
the framework for a Jewish plot to rule the world, are known to be a pre-1914
forgery produced by the czarist secret police. They are a familiar feature of anti-
Semitic hate propaganda in many countries. According to Amin, 'It is vital to fight
the Portuguese colonists, the racists of South African, and the Zionists of Israel.
But first of all we must break with Israel.' "
When antagonism resorts to revival of one of the most outrageous instruments
used in efforts to destroy the Jewish people, is it cause for both puzzlement and
wonder whether it is possible to reason with such hatred.
Why such animosities? Why do Americans question the justice and the reality
of American-Israel friendship? Why, in a modern age, should it be necessary to
plead mercifully for the right to live?
Yet, this has become the basic argument in our time: the right to live. Ar
in Israel's historic experience, the will to live remains the chief ideology on t,
basis of which the enemies who seek destruction should have learned the lesson
by now that there is indestructibility in such a determined .will. When will Amalek
learn the historic truth?

'

Some Timely Facts About the Messed-Up Energy Crisis and the Issue About Palestinians

In order to disprove the fallacies in the
pressures resulting from the energy crisis,
it is necessary to expose the machinations
that have led to the belief that it is because
of Israel that the entire mess emerged.
Here are some facts
Truth
to be recorded:
F o r several years
About
, before the Yom Kippur
Mess War, Arabs have
threatened that their own economic inter-
ests will be their guiding lines, that oil pro-
duction will be curtailed, as in the following
incident: Christian Science Monitor Mideast
correspondent John Cooley reported, July
14, 1973, that Saudi Arabian Finance Min-
ister Abdul Khail said his country favored
freezing oil production "not because of Is-
rael, but simply because Saudi Arabia can
spend not more than 60 per cent of its pres-
ent budget."

There is much more to the problem than
the immensity of the Arab countries' wealth
and the fact that they do not need the
world's business as long as they can com-
mand a high price for their product. There
also are the guilty oil distributors. It is they
who have held down the oil supply in the
interest of the great profits to be earned.
In the Chicago Tribune, Dec. 23, 1973,
Jon Margolis, writing from Washington,
reported:
"For years,_ American oil companies in
Iraq have been finding, drilling, and then
plugging up productive oil wells in order to
control the supply and the price of oil,
according to knowledgeable sources.
The information was obtained from two
independent sources outside the government.
One of the sources said he had seen com-
pany records proving the existence of cov-
ered oil wells.
More information about covered wells
reportedly is contained in classified govern-
ment documents. The documents are classi-
fied secret or confidential because of the
possible foreign policy fallout due to their
disclosure, sources said.
"Spokesmen for the companies involved
expressed ignorance of any policy of well-
capping. One oil official said wells are often
capped if they are too far from pipelines,
if they do not produce enough oil, or if
there is no market for the oil. The official
said his company had capped some newly-
drilled Iraqi wells intending to return to
them. "But then came nationalization," he
said, "and we couldn't get back."
"This would not explain, however, why
information about the capping was hidden in
classified documents or why U.S. diplomats
were so sensitive about the information.
Furthermore, the sources who supplied the
initial information said the capped wells
were potentially productive."
One of the most impressive exposes of
the misleading oil scares was the article in
Harper's, "The Arabian Fantasy," by
Christopher T. Rand, the Middle East spe-
cialist who had been associated with Stand-
ard Oil of California and Occidental Petrol-.
eum. Summarizing about "New Myths for
Old," he stated:

The careful wielding of the oil weapon—spe-
cifically, the process of "nationalization" — has

gradually shifted the politics of oil nations in
the Middle East. If the producing nations no
longer possess the great threat of expropriation
(do what we say, or we will seize your holdings),
then they will have lost their most effective ad-
vantage. As they become wholesale dealers in-
stead of privileged concessionaires, they will find
themselves forced to compete in what will begin
to resemble a free market. The oil companies still
will own 75 per cent of the refineries in the non-
Communist markets, as well as most of the port
facilities, and so they will continue, albeit less
directly, to determine price and regulate produc-
tion in the international oil trade.
The Middle Eastern countries will also find
themselves more concerned about the stability of
Western economies. Earlier this year, for instance,
Saudi Arabia agreed to buy 25 per cent of
Aramco for a price of about $1,000,000,000. By so
doing, it becomes a major partner in the combin-
ation of Western oil companies, and to some ex-
tent it will come to share similar interests. As
the Middle Eastern governments acquire larger
percentages in Western companies, they probably
will invest their assets in Western banks and
multinational corporations — not because they
want to do so, but because they will lack sensible
options.
All this will take time to come to pass, but as
it does the specter of an oil crisis will gradually
diminish and fade. The specter will then be re-
placed by that of the refinery crisis. Suddenly
no one will be talking about the lack of crude oil
or the vindictive politics of the Arabs; instead,
everybody will be saying that oil is plentiful but
means nothing unless it can be refined into use-
ful products, and that the environmental demands
placed on these products (low sulphur content,
etc.) require a new generation of refineries that
will be extremely expensive to construct. This, in
turn, will lead to the elaboration of another myth.
The major American oil companies have neg-
lected to build refineries over the past few years
because there hasn't as yet been enough profit in
the enterprise. In order to justify the expense of
building a refinery, the oil companies require the
long-term assurance of crude oil supplied at low
prices. Refinery construction is expensive: a fair-
size plant might cost about $100,000,000. The big
companies have this kind of money. Standard Oil
of California, for instance, added $120,000,000 to
its cash reserves in 1972, but it allocated none
of this money to constructing new refineries in
the United States. Until the Nixon Administration
relaxed the quotas last spring, the long-term im-
porting of crude oil was restricted, and so the
companies had little crude as collateral with
which to secure new refinery construction financ-
ing. At this ntoment, it costs well over $2 a barrel
to bring Saudi oil into an American port (as op-
posed to a net production cost of 75 cents for a
barrel of American oil), and so the energy crisis
continues to be thought of as low crude-oil sup-
plies rather than high oil costs.
When the tax-paid cost of Middle Eastern
crude drops, the rush to build refineries in Amer-
ica will be on. As soon as that occurs, the last
vestiges of popular illusions about the energy
crisis will have disappeared. All the participants
in the drama will remain as they were, but in a
clearer light.
The independent oil man, the marginal, will be
even more threatened and insecure than he has
always been and may vanish altogether. The con-
sumer will continue to pay more and more for the
services it has always been very much worth the
companies' while to provide him with anyway.
The consumer had better get busy learning about
prices and wondering why the oil companies sell
gasoline wholesale at 21 cents a gallon when it
costs them only 4 cents a gallon on the average
to provide it, He had better start investigating
pipeline and production costs, too, and had better
find out what it costs the companies to get oil
into the top end of the trans-Alaska pipeline and
how much they will sell it for at the bottom end
when it is finally built. The latest gasoline price
hikes are an ominous harbinger of things to come.
The American government will continue to
make the same mistake as the consumer: our
Congressmen and Senators will continue to worry
about supply and ignore cost. And the companies?
They are not deeply concerned about Saudi
Arabia, Iran, or the Middle East. They know the
limitations of the Arab oil weapon, and are pro-
foundly concerned about protecting their immense
assets and safeguarding the accessibility of these
assets. If money in the Middle East no longer
comes easily to the oil companies, they will be
happy to keep looking for it elsewhere. They
recognize that it is good enough to have ridden
the Arab carousel for more than a generation.

The views of an eminent student of Mid-
dle East affairs are worth resorting to when
tackling the so-called Palestinian issue.

2—Friday, January 11, 1974 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

rael's behalf, in Britain, have been char-
acterized by a wealth of activity, a lack of
co-ordination, occasional essays which have
been counter-productive, and the perfection-
ism which is a feature of Jewish thinking
everywhere—and not a negative one either!"
These analyses merely scratch the sur-
face of challenges we must tackle in the
new year. Let's be up to it with the same .
courage with which a handful of Israelis
have overcome the menacing threat of
destruction.
0
*
An Abbot About 'Israel
and Her Enemies'
Perhaps we should not complain. In
spite of the overwhelming odds that are
stacking up against Israel, from the oil
interests and the Arab-instigated energy
crisis, in contradiction of the animosities
that are being lined up against Israel by
the new propaganda campaign, Jewry and
Israel have gained friends. Letters to the
editors of American newspapers show an
increase of concern for Israel's security.
There are indications of an especially
mounting friendship from Catholic ranks.
An especially impressive bit of evidence
was incorporated in the letter to the edi-
tor in the New York Times from a Catholic
Abbot, whose expression of deep concern,
titled "Israel and Her Enemies," follows:
To the Editor:
"Israel is alone and completely isolated,
completely isolated," thus spoke Ismail
Fahmy, Foreign Minister of Egypt, at the
opening session of the Geneva peace con-
ference on Dec. 21. What a devastating in-
dictment—not of Israel but of the world, of
the leaders of nations, of the leaders of the
churches, of every one of us who does not
raise his voice in protest at this crucial
time, when the existence of Israel as a
Jewish state, I repeat, a Jewish state, is
at stake.
Shades of 1938, when the world at large
"Israeli propaganda on the Palestinian kept silent during the holocaust. The ears
issue has been essentially defensive, and re- of every Israeli are still ringing of the echo
mained so during and since the 1973 war. of statements like the following:
"Israel must die, and we shall be the
Yet two things, at least, could be done. The
first is to convince the outside world that executioners" (Ahmed Shukairy of the
Israel appreciates he human aspects of the P•L.O., May 26, 1967). "Our basic aim is
Palestinian problem, the hardships of the to destroy Israel" (Gamal Abdel Nasser,
refugee camps, the psychological impact of May 25, 1967). "Israel's secure and rec-
exile, the feeling of loneliness — one which ognized boundaries, in our opinion, are a
Israelis can understand very well — and Jewish synagogue in Tel Aviv with
the tribulations of dispersion, which is meters around it" (Mohammed Hassai'
equally understandable. The second is to Heykal in Al-Ahram, Feb. 2, 1969). wine
get to grips with the overall refugee prob- day of the realization of the Arab hope for
lem of the Middle East, instead of simply the return of the refugees to Palestine
waiting to be assailed with complaint and means the liquidation of Israel" (Abdulla
accusation. Why should Israel not propose al-Yafi, prime minister of Lebanon, in the
a "Refugee Claims Conference" — which Lebanese Parliament, quoted in Al Hayat,
would take in the losses suffered by Jews April 29, 1966).
who left their homes in Arab countries, as
True, recently Egyptian leaders have
well as those of the Palestinian Arabs?
been more moderate in their speech, ex-
Once again, in suggesting anything of this cept for Colonel Qaddafi of Libya and the
kind, propaganda and policy overlap. This Syrian leaders. And even the most moderate
cannot be helped.
speech from Arab leaders is still vague
"The subject of the propaganda battle of and ambiguous, giving no clear expression
1973 must inevitably include a word on what of a readiness to coexist in peace with
has been said, written, done on Israel's be- Israel, the Jewish state.
What a hypocrisy to brand as the ag-
half in the outside world, and more particu-
larly in our own country. It would be in- gressor a small country which has been
vidious to name organizations or individuals the victim of aggression ever since 1948.
(Abbot) Leo A. Rudloff
who have been closely involved in the prop-
Benedictine Monks, Weston Priory
aganda battle, but one can at least make a
Weston, Vt., Dec. 23, 1973
number of generalizations. Efforts on Is-

Terence Prittie, perhaps one of the most
brilliant foreign correspondents who has
been covering events
to the Arab-
Palestinian relating
Israel conflict for many
years, was the lecturer
Issue
selected to deliver the
18th Noah Barou Memorial Lecture in Lon-
don, Dec. 13, in memory of the distinguished
late leader of the World Jewish Congress
British Section. Prittie discussed " T h e
Propaganda Battle" in the Yom Kippur
War and he touched upon the rights of Pal-
estinians and Palestinian r e f ugees. His
scholarly address and his thorough review
of the conditions affecting Israel, the Arabs
and the Middle East included these remarks
regarding these questions:
"The Israeli government has very
properly pointed out in the past that the
c e n t r al question for the Palestinians —
whether they should have a state of their
own — can only be settled by the Arabs.
If the West Bank is to 'be part of such a
state, King Hussein of Jordan must re-
nounce his. claim to that area. If the Gaza
Strip is to be included, then Egypt, as the
occupying Arab power from 1948 to 1967,
must assent. Mrs. Meir, and others, have
admittedly expressed a distaste for the idea
of a small and totally independent Palestin-
ian state on Israel's borders. The danger
would be that such a state would be polit-
ically unviable and would fall under the
control of extremists who would not want to
leave Israel in peace. In addition, Israeli
support for a Palestinian state would mili-
tate against the chances of reaching a peace-
ful settlement with King Hussein. - The very
farthest that the King will go towards sat-
isfying Palestinian aspirations was indi-
cated in his plan of last year, for a federal
solution, which would give the Palestinians
local' autonomy but would leave both their
parliamentary representation and their for-
eign policy direction to Amman.

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