Confederation of General Zionists Splits; Each Faction Claims Control

The eleven-year-old Confederation of General Zionists, the world body of centrist Zionist parties, has split up over the question of the identification of its parties abroad with either the Progressive or General Zionist Parties in Israel.

Mrs. Rose Halprin, acting chairman of the Jewish Agency executive in the United States, is the spokesman for one faction which includes the Hadassah and other parties. Dr. Emanuel Neumann, president of the Zionist Organization of America, is spokesman for the other group which is led by the ZOA. According to the conflicting claims of the two groups, it would appear that each has control of the Confederation’s apparatus and the other has been excluded.

The Halprin-led faction charged that the ZOA group had identified itself with the General Zionist Party of Israel. Dr. Neumann, for his part, charged that the Hadassah and its group had identified itself with the Progressive Party What thoroughly confused the issue today was that each faction claimed that it represented a long list of Zionist organizations in Western Europe, Latin America. Actually, these groups have already split up among themselves and are polarized in some cases around two separate frameworks.

COMPETING GROUPS SEE EACH OTHER EXCLUDED FROM CONFEDERATION

According to a statement by Mrs. Halprin today, the Confederation has been completely inactive during the past year because of a deadlock caused by two groups which are evenly balanced and are unable to bridge differences of opinion over the question of identification with Israeli political parties. Mrs. Halprin’s statement asserts that the delegates to the Actions Committee representing the “largest bloc in the Confederation in the Diaspora came to the conclusion that the Confederation will be able to operate only if it includes organizations not identified with any political party in Israel.” This statement is tantamount to a claim that the ZOA-oriented group has been excluded.

Things look exactly the opposite from Dr. Neumann’s viewpoint. He said that the last conference of the Confederation–held during the 24th World Zionist Congress–decided to keep the Confederation as a “roof organization” and established a 12-member administrative council–six from each group–which was authorized to make any amendments and changes in the Confederation’s new set-up.

When the administrative council met here last week. Dr. Neumann continued. the Progressive group wanted to scrap the entire agreement and negotiate a new one, but the ZOA rejected the idea of scrapping the pact and held out for changing it. When the Progressives insisted on scrapping the agreement, the ZOA-oriented faction implied that the former could leave if they did not like the set-up. Dr. Neumann insists that no group–not even all the groups in the Confederation unanimously–have the legal right to abolish the Confederation before the next general conference.

While Mrs. Halprin holds that the ZOA group is actually forming a new group. Dr. Neumann maintains it is the Progressive group which is departing and will have to establish a new organization, particularly since the latter intends to include the WIZO and the new American Jewish League for Israel, neither of which are members of the Confederation. Meanwhile, the Israel Progressive Party, which seems to have acted as a catalyst in the split, has not officially identified itself with either group.

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