LONDON (Dec. 4)
Confidence in the “sincerity and goodwill” of the Moroccan nationalists and the Tunisian Government in their relations with the Jews of those countries was expressed here today at the annual convention of the British Section of the World Jewish Congress by A.L. Easterman, WJC political director. The convention opened last night with the presentation of a report by Israel Sieff, honorary president of the British Section. A total of 321 delegates are attending the parley.
Mr. Easterman reported on negotiations between the WJC leadership and North African nationalists in both Tunis and Morocco. He said that the Jews had frankly presented their anxieties about the Jewish position in those countries in the light of past experiences, asking for assurances on Jewish rights, including that of emigration. This frankness had found both understanding and acceptance, Mr. Easterman pointed out.
He noted that in Tunisia these guarantees were embodied in the new Tunisian constitution and that the Moroccan nationalists, now in the process of forming a government, had given “explicit assurances” that in all respects Jews would be guaranteed equal rights in the new constitution. He said that it remained to be seen how these assurances would be translated into fact, but he expressed confidence in the calliber and honor of the nationalist leaders.
ARAB LEADERSHIP IN NO. AFRICA FOUND DIFFERENT THAN IN MIDDLE EAST
In the Arab leadership in North Africa, he said, the WJC had found a group “totally different” from that of the Middle East Arab states, one of “higher intelligence and imbued with democratic ideas and modern and Western in concepts and outlook.” He agreed that some of the nationalist extremists in Morocco looked to Cairo, but added that “the men we know look to the West rather than the East and are not bound to the prejudices and passions of the Middle East Arab states.” He noted that Jewish confidence in this leadership was essential because the goodwill of this leadership was vital to the whole future of Arab-Jewish relations. The Tunisian and Moroccan Governments might yet play the supreme role in contributing to an atmosphere of conciliation, he stressed.
In referring to the emigration of Jews from North Africa, Mr. Easterman said there was no difference of policy between the Jewish Agency and the World Jewish Congress–it was merely a question of method, time and means. Emigration was voluntary, he continued, and this view had been impressed upon the Arab nationalists and had been accepted by them. There was neither “sense nor statesmanship, “he insisted, in declaring a panic or decrying the crusts ####### of the North African Governments. The security of emigration could wetter achieved with their goodwill than with their hostility, he concluded.
An executive committee report submitted to the annual parley says: “The abiding concern of the Jewish people with political problems has led to a greater realization of the need for Jewish unity. Indeed, the number of Jewish international committees and conferences, each devoted to some specific problem, is ever increasing. Even formerly vocal opponents of international Jewish consultation and coordinated action are now either grudgingly admitting its justification, or, while stubbornly maintaining their theoretical opposition are, in fact, practicing and even initiating it. “
RESOLUTION LAUDS UNDERSTANDING SHOWN BY TUNISIA AND FRANCE
The convention adopted a resolution expressing its appreciation of the Tunisian and French Governments understanding in including in their agreement for an autonomous Tunisia provisions safeguarding the rights and liberties of Tunisian Jews, and “noting with satisfaction declarations by the Sultan of Morocco and leaders of North African nationalists parties assuring full civil equality for all citizens, including the right of emigration.” The resolution further expressed the hope that these assurances would find constitutional and administrative expression in accordance with democratic principles.
In another resolution, the convention viewed with alarm the “dangerous situation created by Soviet and Western arming of the Arab states, “and urged that if arms continue to be provided to the Arab states Israel be supplied with weapons of defense. The resolution hit as “unjust” the Eden proposal for an Arab-Israel settlement based on an Israel “compromise” of its territory and insisted that a settlement of the Middle East conflict would best be served by direct negotiations between the parties “unfettered by any prior condition.”
A third resolution reaffirmed the unity of the Jewish people, irrespective of the political systems under which various sections of the Jewish people lived, and termed the link between Israel and Jews abroad an important factor in Jewish life. It called “ingathering of the exiles” a primary task of the Jewish people and urged every Jew towork for the development and security of Israel.