NEW YORK (Jun. 23)
A statement repudiating charges against the administration of the Zionist Organization of America made earlier this week by Louis Lipsky–who, together with a number of other leading American Zionists, stayed away from the ZOA’s 58th annual convention which concluded in Washington last Sunday–was issued here today by Mortimer May, ZOA president. The statement reads.
“While the delegates to the 58th annual convention of the ZOA, gathered in Washington from all sections of the country, were busily engaged in constructive Zionist work, Mr. Louis Lipsky, sitting in New York, decided to let fly with a diatribe against the organization. In reading the lengthy statement issued by Mr. Lipsky one can only regret that he should have chosen to air his grievances in so destructive a manner.
“Mr. Lipsky has had ample opportunity to voice any criticisms he may have of the ZOA, even wholly unwarranted ones, in the deliberative bodies of our organization, to all of which he has been either appointed or elected, and where his words are treated with the respect and consideration due him. However, Mr. Lipsky and those of his friends for whom he speaks have preferred not to avail themselves of such opportunities. They have consistently boycotted our meetings and our activities. Sniping from the side-lines is evidently more to their liking.
“Thus, Mr. Lipsky never attended a single meeting of the ZOA’s Inner Committee, to which he was named by the administration he so violently assails; nor has he bothered to participate in the work of our national executive committee and national administrative council. His single appearance–by special invitation–at a recent meeting of the national executive committee failed to disclose any constructive contributions to the program and policies of the ZOA. Indeed there was general disappointment over the negative approach reflected by his remarks.
“For some years now this small minority, numerically insignificant, has sought to gain control of the ZOA. Such ambitions are quite legitimate when pursued in a democratic manner within the organization. But having repeatedly failed to carry the national convention, notwithstanding a variety of “issues” which they have employed, they have sought to acquire control by other, less direct, means and on occasion they fire broadsides at the organization–from a safe distance. The policies of the ZOA are determined by majority decisions after full and free discussion and debate. However, Mr. Lipsky’s group persists in refusing to abide by this democratic procedure. This attitude is passing strange in view of the self-proclaimed ‘liberalism’ of Mr. Lipsky and his colleagues.
“Anyone who was present at our national convention must view Mr. Lipsky’s strictures with incredulity–for the spirit and achievements of this gathering categorically refute each and every one of Mr. Lipsky’s amazing statements. This was one of the most successful Zionist conclaves in many years. In Washington we recorded the significant progress made by the ZOA in pursuing its numerous activities in behalf of both Israel and American Jewry, in increasing its membership and in expanding its resources. The large numbers of delegates provided a striking demonstration of Zionist unity and vitality. The serious and effective manner in which they created the future course of the organization augurs well for the months ahead.
SAYS U. S. AND ISRAEL DO NOT SHARE LIPSKY’S VIEWS ON Z.O.A.
“If our convention had consisted of nothing more than the session of Saturday evening, June 18th, it would already have been a significant event on the American scene, reflecting the paramount role of the ZOA in securing and giving expression to American support for Israel. It constituted a major development in the creation of a constructive United States policy in the Middle East.
“Moreover, it would seem that the Government of the United States as represented by Attorney General Brownell, the Congress of the United States as represented by Senator Humphrey, and the Government of Israel as represented by Ambassador Eban, do not share Mr. Lipsky’s low opinion of the ZOA. Mr. Brownell, for example, had this to say: ‘In dealing with the question of this two way bridge between the United States and Israel, I wish to express my hearty congratulations to the Zionist Organization of America, whose current work in this field is no less important than the historic role it played in the creation of the State of Israel.’
“The same view was expressed by Senator Humphrey, who declared: ‘It is hardly possible for anyone concerned, as I am, with the foreign relations of the American Government to be unaware or unappreciative of the role played by the Zionist Organization of America in the field that commands its particular attention. The Zionist Organization of America today, as over many years in the past renders invaluable service in strengthening the relations between the peoples of the United States and Israel, and in furthering America’s vital interests in the Middle Eastâ€¦An organization such as this…earns the commendation and gratitude of all conscientious Americans.’ Ambassador Eban’s appraisal of the significance of our Zionist work and his words of encouragement to us also stand in sharp contrast to Mr. Lipsky’s bitter assault.
“This is not the place to deal with Mr. Lipsky’s narration of the inconclusive discussions between the leaders of the ZOA and his group. At the specific request of Mr. Lipsky we had withheld a detailed report to our Organization on the proceedings of these meetings. Mr. Lipsky has now chosen to release to the press his version of certain proposals put forward by his group and of our reaction there to. We wish to make it clear that, in accordance with the terms of reference it received from the ZOA national executive committee, the sub-committee which pursued these talks will render a full–and accurate–report on the entire matter at the next meeting of the executive.
“We have serious and important work to do for Israel and the Zionist cause generally. We must mobilize economic support for Israel, organize public opinion, strengthen America-Israel friendship, and conduct a widespread program of Zionist education throughout America. We will not be diverted from our tasks by a controversy which Mr. Lipsky seems eager to carry on. With all due respect, we suggest that he can put his own unquestioned talents to better and more constructive use.”