Christopher Jon Bjerknes
Shmuel Rosner has called our attention to some very interesting text from the U. S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearings of 9 June 1967:
"SUBSIDIZING THE REFUGEE CAMPS
Senator GORE. Mr. Secretary, I realize that we do not have power, as Senator Symington has punctuated, to give instructions and directions there.
There is one problem, it seems to me, about which we can have a say, and that is continued subsidization of this refugee camp. I went there ten years ago and found it an impossible situation in which they have continued all the while to feed and clothe, support those people, and there are some 200,000 more than when they went into the camp. So surely we can have something to say about no longer continuing to subsidize this.
Secretary RUSK. Well, that constitutes some pressure on the Arabs. It does not constitute any pressure on Israel.
Senator GORE. Well, Israel has taken over some of them, in the Gaza Strip and also in Jordan. They are now claiming sovereignty. So it seems to me it might be a pressure on both.
Secretary RUSK. Well, I do think that the refugee matter should be raised and looked at wholly anew in connection with a settlement of this present situation.
Senator GORE. The point I am trying to make is this is one subject on which we can have a say, and that is how long we are going to continue to pay a very heavy cost of these refugees if they are not dispersed into the countryside.
Secretary RUSK. Well, I do not want to underestimate influence in this situation, but I just want to point out that it is not necessarily decisive when you are talking with countries about what they consider the life and death issues for them.
TAX EXEMPTIONS FOR DONATIONS TO ISRAEL
Senator HICKENLOOPER. Do we not give tax forgiveness for moneys contributed to Israel, which is rather unusual? We could stop that.
Secretary RUSK. I believe contributions to the UJA are tax exempt, yes.
The CHAIRMAN. That is right.
The only country. Do you think you have the votes in the Senate to revoke that?
Senator CASE. Are you in favor yourself?
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I think we ought to treat all nations alike.
Senator CASE. That is correct. But are you in favor of it?
Senator HICKENLOOPER. As long as we do not give it to other nations, I do not——
The CHAIRMAN. The trouble is they think they have control of the Senate and they can do as they please.
Senator SYMINGTON. What was that?
The CHAIRMAN. I said they know they have control of the Senate politically, and therefore whatever the Secretary tells them, they can laugh at him. They say, 'Yes, but you don't control the Senate.''
Senator SYMINGTON. They were very anxious to get every Senator they could to come out and say we ought to act unilaterally, and they got two, three.
The CHAIRMAN. They know when the chips are down you can no more reverse this tax exemption than you can fly. You could not pass a bill through the Senate.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I do not think you could.
The CHAIRMAN. Changing that tax exemption contribution to the UJA. I would bet you ten to one you could not begin to pass a bill You do not believe they could under any circumstances.
Senator SYMINGTON. A bill to do what?
The CHAIRMAN. To revoke the tax exemption of gifts to the UJA. That is one of their major sources of income. You yourself have pointed out the money they paid for the French arms they got from the U.S.
Senator SYMINGTON. Each year the money we give annually for this is less than 1 percent of the cost of Vietnam.
The CHAIRMAN. I agree with that.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. There you go.
U.S. CONTRIBUTIONS PAY THE ISRAELI ARMS
The CHAIRMAN. But you know very well, you said yourself, that the arms they buy from France are largely paid for by contributions that come from this country.
Senator SYMINGTON. Because we would not sell it to them, so instead of selling them the arms——
Senator GORE. Has the President recommended that this be repealed?
The CHAIRMAN. No, he has not. I do not wish to make the point except the Secretary is quite correct when he says his leverage on Israel is very limited because of the political situation.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I am sorry I brought it up.
Secretary RUSK. I did not say it.
The CHAIRMAN. If you did not say it, you do not disagree with it anyway.
Secretary RUSK. I think it should be pointed out though on this tax exempt matter that there are many other organizations, institutions, that would fall into the same principle, private foundations in their expenditures abroad, churches, the voluntary agencies; there are very large sums of money going to foreign countries that are tax exempt in this country as the origin.
Senator HICKENLOOPER. I do not think it is analogous.
Senator GORE. It is tax deductible; you said tax exempt.
Secretary RUSK. Except the organizations are exempt. Contributions to them are tax deductible.
Senator COOPER. I suggest—it is possible after this that Israel may ask that this be removed as a sign of showing they are not absolutely dependent on the U.S."—"BRIEFING ON THE MIDDLE EAST SITUATION, Friday, June 9, 1967, U.S. SENATE, COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, Washington, DC.", Executive Sessions of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Together with Joint Sessions with the Senate Armed Services Committee (Historical Series), Volume XIX, Ninetieth Congress, First Session, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C., (1967/2006), pp. 705-728, at 710-712.