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Sunday, September 02, 2012

Abba Eban and Ivory Soap

A funny exchange in the UN from the debates that led to Security Council Resolution 242:
Mr. DAOUDY (Syria): Day by day it becomes increasingly clear that that aggression was precisely calculated and planned in advance as if by a computer. The numerous statements of high-ranking Israel spokesmen, quoted on many occasions, confirm this, if ever confirmation be needed. But let me quote an illuminating paragraph concerning what transpired with regard to the total mobilization of Israel forces for the definite purpose of aggression. This is taken from a book entitled Six Days in June by Robert J. Donovan and the staff of the Los Angeles Times, which was written especially to glorify the so-called heroic deeds of Israel:
"Robert C. Toth, Los Angeles Times correspondent in Israel, was able to circumvent military censorship on the scope of the Israel mobilization before hostilities. To keep the extent of the call-up secret, Israel said it had undertaken 'partial mobilization'. Censors would pass no other phrase. Deep in a story on war preparations filed three days before the fighting began, Toth inserted the phrase, 'Israel's partial mobilization was Ivory-pure.' The story cleared. On the foreign desk in Los Angeles, editors quickly realized Toth was referring to the Ivory soap slogan--99 and 44/100ths per cent pure--and rewrote Toth's lead paragraph to say that Israel was 'fully mobilized'."
Thus any doubt which may still be entertained by anyone regarding the identity of the real aggressor is removed, even by sources sympathetic to the Israel point of view.

Mr. EBAN (Israel): It is very difficult for me to reply to the address of the Syrian representative without taking the level of this debate below the level that it has reached. I am a much less assiduous reader than he is of the Los Angeles Times, and I know very little about the qualities of Ivory soap. Nor do I feel that I have to analyse again the address of mine to which he took exception. I said what I said on Monday [1375th meeting], and I have noted the reports of what I have said throughout the world, and I am content that Israel's meaning is clear.

The Syrian representative began with a long and rather sinister description of the fact that Israel armed forces were mobilized in the first days of June. Of course the Cabinet of which I am a member ordered mobilization in the early days of June. Ninety thousand Egyptian troops in the Sinai; 45,000 poised on the Syrian heights; the entire Jordan army in order of battle; all surrounding airfields with operation orders about targets for attack; a complete naval blockade of our southern frontiers: if, in these conditions, Israel mobilized its forces for defense, this simply proves that the Israel Government was possessed of a normal sanity.

Mr. DAOUDY (Syria): Apparently my reference to Robert J. Donovan's book called Six Days in June, which I have here in my hand, was not to the liking of the Foreign Minister of Israel. But that book was not written by an Arab, nor is it considered to be pro-Arab. That book, which is being sold in New York by the thousands, was written precisely to propagate the Israel point of view and is definitely a pro-Israel book. Naturally, the Israel authorities do not like the fact that the Los Angeles Times correspondent was able to convey to his paper, despite the Israel censorship, the fact that Israel had totally mobilized its troops while the Israel authorities were deceiving the world in stating that there was no mobilization whatsoever. Whether Mr. Eban reads the Los Angeles Times or not is beside the point. I can assure him that I have no special knowledge of Ivory soap or the slogans put out by the Ivory soap company. My stay in this country has been very short, and he should know better about these things in view of the fact that his stay has been much longer and he has very intimate and very valuable connections in this country.