NEW YORK (May. 21)
The Zionist Organization of America repudiated today charges that it maintains affiliation with political groups in Israel and thereby interferes in the internal affairs of the Jewish State. The charges were voiced at the founding conference of the American Jewish League for Israel which was held in New York during the week-end.
Repudiation of the charges was contained in a statement presented today by Dr. Emanuel Neumann, ZOA president, to a meeting of the organization’s National Executive Council attended by ZOA leaders from all parts of the country. The statement, which was endorsed by the meeting, said that the ZOA has never been “affiliated” with any of the parties in Israel. It also asserted that “despite their representation of themselves as “unidentified,” the leaders of the American Jewish League for Israel “have themselves maintained close relations with the Progressive Party of Israel” within the framework of the world Zionist movement.
“We profoundly regret the necessity of commenting on the highly-publicized meeting held a few days ago by a splinter group of the Zionist Organization of America which combined with other elements unfriendly to the ZOA to form an ‘American Jewish League for Israel,’ “the statement said.” The controversy which this small faction has sought to foment in American Zionist ranks is surely not helpful to the Zionist movement as a whole, or to Israel’s cause on the American scene.
“The grave crisis in the Middle East should impel all responsible Zionists to concentrate their thoughts and efforts on the task of safeguarding Israel’s legitimate interests,” the statement continued. “We remain determined that the energies and resources of our organization shall be marshalled for this constructive end, and not diverted to the battleground of internal strife. If we are now compelled to refute certain unfounded attacks against our organization by men who should have known better, this should not delude the enemies of Israel and Zionism into believing that we have been deflected from our main purposes.
“The plethora of pronouncements and statements that emanated from the founding conference of the ‘American Jewish League for Israel’ contained numerous inaccuracies. The most mischievous of these had to do with the alleged affiliation of American Zionist groups with ‘political parties’ in Israel. By repeating this overworked and already-repudiated charge against American Zionists, and by representing their small faction as the only one not ‘aligned with an Israeli political party,’ the leaders of this group have come perilously close to the canards being spread by anti-Zionist propagandists in this country.”
POSITION OF Z.C.A. STATED; WILL HOLD CONVENTION IN NEW YORK
The statement says that “as a constituent unit of the World Zionist Organization, the ZOA has, from time to time, expressed sympathy and cultivated friendly relations with like-minded organizations of General Zionists in Israel and other parts of the world.” This relationship on the part of all Zionist groups within the framework of the World Zionist Organization antedates the creation of the State of Israel, the statement points out.
“We have never been ‘affiliated’ with any of the parties, any more than they are ‘affiliated’ with the ZOA. We are not bound by any ‘party discipline. “We have remained, as always, completely free and independent – free to make our own decisions and adopt our own positions on any Zionist question. Our organization does not and will not intervene in the internal political affairs of Israel, which are the province of its citizens and government, though we are profoundly concerned with its manifold problems and will continue to give them serious thought and study,” the statement declares.
At today’s meeting plans were announced for a nationwide observance of the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the World Zionist Movement and the Zionist Organization of America. It was decided to hold the next annual convention in New York City, Sep. 12-15, which will also celebrate the occasion. A special sponsoring committee of the sixtieth anniversary was designated headed by Robert Szold, a former president of the Organization. The Committee is made up of Zionists from all parts of the country, including four other past presidents: Dr. Abba Hillel Silver, Rabbi Irving Miller, Mortimer May and Dr. Israel Goldstein.
Z.O.A. REPORTED TO HAVE 110, 000 MEMBERS; RAISED $387,000
Rabbi I, Usher Kirshblum, national ZOA membership chairman, reported an increase in the membership of the organization over last year’s total. The number of new members enrolled has brought the current total to 110, 000. Dr. Morton J. Robbins, national co-chairman of the American Zionist Fund, the financial arm of the organization, announced an income of $387, 043, some $83, 000 over the same period last year. This income is supplementary to the revenue of regular membership dues.
Max Bressler of Chicago, national ZOA chairman for Israel funds, reported that the maximum efforts on the part of the nationwide membership in the current Emergency Rescue Fund of the United Jewish Appeal, as well as in the sale of Israel bonds for economic development of Israel and in the Jewish National Fund work for the redemption of land in Israel. It was announced that a large Israel bond delegation will leave on a study tour of Israel in the near future.