NEW YORK (Jun. 27)
The 57th annual convention of the Zionist Organization of America, at its closing session today unanimously adopted a resolution urging the government of the United States “to reconsider the contemplated arms shipments to the Arab States which could prove disastrous to Middle East stability.”
The resolution declared that “recent actions of our State Department and certain of its officials jeopardize our country’s traditional policy of friendship for Israel as well as America’s vital interest in promoting peace and stability in the Middle East.”
Another resolution demanded that “Rumania immediately halt its persecutions of Zionists and Jewish community leaders, release these innocent people and permit their emigration to Israel.” The convention declared that “the worst forms of totalitarian brutality are being inflicted on Rumanian Jews merely because they assisted some of their brothers and sisters to emigrate to Israel. “
The resolution calling upon the United States to reconsider its decision on sending arms to Arab states was adopted following a report to the convention by I. L. Kenen, executive director of the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs, which is watching developments in Washington. Mr. Kenen charged that “the apparatus of the Department of State, primarily concerned with the Near East affairs, is being fully utilized to alienate our friends in Congress and in all walks of public opinion, ” and in the hope of convincing President Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles that the majority of the American people favor a “new look” in the U.S. policy toward Israel.
“The new climate in Washington,” Mr. Kenen said, “dictates an intensification of our work. If, during 1951 and 1952 we found ourselves advocating a pro-Israel program in harmony with our government, in 1953 and 1954, we find ourselves in a seemingly endless dispute with the Department of State. We are in a continuing struggle to defend our cause from attack and to maintain and reinforce the broad friendship for Israel in Congress and American public opinion.”
MORTIMER MAY UNANIMOUSLY ELECTED Z.O.A. PRESIDENT
Mortimer May, of Nashville, Tennessee, veteran Zionist and communal leader, was unanimously elected president of the Zionist Organization of America. The election was uncontested. Dr. Emanuel Neumann was elected chairman of the national ZOA executive committee; Dr. Harris J. Levine, chairman of the national administrative council; Herman L. Weisman vice-chairman of the national executive committee. I. S. Turover of Washington was elected treasurer.
Addressing the convention last night, Dr. Emanuel Neumann asserted that Zionists would never accept the severance of world Jewry’s ties and obligations to the State of Israel. He labeled as “Byroadeism” this “insidious doctrine” set forth by Assistant Secretary of State Henry Byroade in a recent speech, “Byroadeism,” he said, “would isolate Israel, sever her vital connection with the Jewish people, block out her cultural hinterland, fore-shorten her world horizons and reduce her in the end to an enclave buried away in a corner of the Arab world.”
Dr. Neumann referred to the progress that had been made in creating an American Council for Israel” embracing all important Jewish national organizations and local communities” in this country. “We have sounded most of the important organizations,” he reported. “Their responses have been varied, ranging from complete and enthusiastic endorsement in some cases to outright disapproval in one case. Nearly all, however, have agreed on the desirability of establishing a procedure for mutual consultation from time to time and as occasion arises. “
Rabbi Irving Miller, outgoing ZOA president, speaking last night at the convention, defined the status of Israel, a subject of much controversy among Zionists, “as a political sovereign state for Jews within its borders and as a spiritual and cultural home for all the Jewish people. ” Dr. Israel Goldstein condemned as “specious” the claim that “possible emigration of Jews from Eastern Europe to Israel will represent Communist infiltration. ” Jacques Torczyner, ZOA vice-president, warned of an “assimilative tendency of the American-Jewish community as a threat to the Zionist movement.”
He said that the time is ripe for the ZOA to recapture American Jewish leadership. The session was also addressed by George Flesch, member of the Israel Parliament, who emphasized that Israelis cherish friendship with the United States.
DR. GOLDMANN URGES REORGANIZATION OF ZIONIST MOVEMENT
In a message to the convention, Dr. Nahum Goldmann, chairman of the Jewish Agency, who is now abroad, advocated the reorganization of the Zionist movement outside Israel into territorial federations based on membership at large, and not on parties as at present. He has always qualified his position by pointing out that he does not call for the abolition of parties, but does feel that they should accept a secondary role.
Warning that the Zionist movement “must undertake, deliberately and courageously, radical changes in its structure, constitution and functions,” Dr. Goldmann said: “The viability of the Zionist movement will be determined by its flexibility. If the Zionist movement is to adapt itself to the new circumstances, it is essential that a sense of common devotion and responsibility for the welfare of the movement as a whole, replace partisanship, petty group interests, and addiction to antiquated methods of procedure. “