Menu JTA Search

Z.O.A. Convention Asks U.S. to Stimulate Israel-arab Direct Talks

The four-day annual convention of the Zionist Organization of America concluded here yesterday with a resolution calling upon President Kennedy and the United States Government to make “a full-scale effort to bring Israel and the Arab states into direct negotiations with the aim of averting the danger of war and opening the way to peace and political stability in the Middle East.

The U.S. Government was also urged to pursue “an equivocal and resolute policy on the Middle East which will serve to deter aggression, promote the constructive pursuits of peace and strengthen freedom, ” The U.S. Government was also asked to reaffirm its commitment “to act promptly and decisively against any nation in the Middle East which attacks its neighbor” and to enforce the principle of free passage through the Suez Canal for all nations, including Israel.

Max Bressler of Chicago was re-elected president of the ZOA for a second term. Dr. Emanuel Neumann and Dr. Abba Hillel Silver were re-elected honorary presidents of the organization. Dr. Max Nussbaum was re-elected chairman of the national executive council; Jacques Torczyner, associate chairman, and Dr. Morton J. Robbins, vice-chairman of the council. Dr. Sidney Marks was re-elected national secretary; Charles Wolf, treasurer; Jacob Goodman and Benjamin J. Doft, associate treasurers.

Other resolutions adopted called for a half to the arms race in the Middle East with assurances by the U. S. and her allies “of the maintenance of an arms balance as the best guarantee against an outbreak of hostilities”; termination of the Arab boycott against Israel and American firms dealing with Israel; resettlement of Arab refugees in Arab countries to come as part of a general peace settlement in the Middle East; and extension of U.S. economic assistance, but with insistence by the U.S. that “nations receiving such aid will refrain from boycott, blockade and acts of war. “

The convention in a resolution on Aliyab, urged that “all steps necessary to bring to Israel American Jewish ideals, American standards and American know-how in capital in order to assist Israel, but in full realization that those who participate also will find in answering that need, a new sense of purpose and gratification which inevitably must flow from contributing personally to Jewish survival in the old-new homeland of the Jewish people and to the development of that dynamic land. “

The convention also endorsed programs for short term work and study in Israel and to inspire persons with capital or with professions and trades in short supply in Israel, or with special training, or in retirement or about to retire, to immigrate to Israel, to Job in its upbuilding.

In resolutions calling for economic aid for Israel the convention called upon its nationwide constituency to continue and intensify the efforts on behalf of Israel bonds, and contribute to the maximum to the United Jewish Appeal to carry forward “the sacred task of rescue and resettlement.” It also reaffirmed its support of the cause of soil reclamation and land development in Israel undertaken by the Jewish National Fund.

The convention also called upon all its Regions and Chapters to enlarge their educational efforts through the encouragement of Hebrew study and discussion groups, the encouragement of the establishment of day schools, the enrollment of children for Hebrew courses in Junior and senior high schools, the fostering of Hebrew speaking clubs, forums on Jewish history, Hebrew lore and literature and widest possible distribution of Zionist literature.

SILVER REPORTS ON ANTI-JEWISH DISCRIMINATION IN RUSSIA

Dr. Abba Hillel Silver, ZOA leader who recently returned from a visit to the Soviet Union, told the convention of the “unfavorable position in which the Jewish people, as a nationality group, finds itself in the Soviet Union today. ” He said that “as individuals, Jews fare no better and no worse than all other Soviet citizens,” but emphasized that “cultural and religious discriminations are undoubtedly being practiced against the Jewish minority.”

The situation of the Jews has “eased somewhat” since Stalin’s death, he reported, but noted that “many of the obnoxious practices still remain” and much still remains to be corrected. ” He felt that “progress in the direction of granting the Jewish minority in the Soviet Union the same cultural and religious considerations which are accorded all other nationality and religious groups can still be made, given a friendly and insistent world Jewish opinion.”

“I do not believe that Russian Jewry should be written off, ” Dr. Silver continued. “Many have undoubtedly been assimilated in the past 40 years, having been denied Jewish cultural and religious education, and having been cut off from contact with world Jewry. In some instances this assimilation was eager and self-willed. But many have retained an unshaken racial loyalty and an historic attachment, which, though not vocal, are strong and unmistakable.

NEUMANN OUTLINES STAND ON AFFILIATION WITH ISRAELI PARTIES

Dr. Emanuel Neumann, president of the World Confederation of General Zionists, addressing the ZOA convention, reaffirmed “as the definite and settled policy of the Confederation to function exclusively as a Zionist grouping within the framework of the World.

Dr. Neumann maintained that “the principle of non-intervention in Israel’s political affairs must not be pushed too far, to the point of absurdity. ” He clarified this by saying that “it cannot be so construed as to deny to an Israeli group the right to be affiliated with a world Zionist confederation such as ours, ” He further asserted that “provided our link with them is clearly within the framework of the Zionist movement, and our mutual cooperation is in the field of Zionist endeavors, we not only welcome their adherence to our Confederation, but feel honored by their presence.”

“Their participation as Israel citizens in the political life in the country is their affair; it does not deprive them of their rights and status in the world Zionist movement, ” he continued. “Nor can we question the right–perhaps even the duty–of Zionists and all Jews in the Diaspora to take a deep and active interest in all that goes on in Israel, to be concerned with its manifold problems and its evolution as a democratic society animated by Jewish ideals.”

Jacques Torczyner, associate chairman of the National ZOA executive committee, asserted that the unification of the two General Zionist parties in Israel (General Zionists and Progressives) into one Liberal party is a vindication of the policies which have been advocated by the General Zionists for the last ten years. He voiced the hope that the unification in Israel will be followed by a total reunification of the two World Zionist Confederations.

Rabbi Max Nussbaum, chairman of the ZOA national executive council, said the Zionist movement was the only force that could achieve the cultural and spiritual unity of Jews the world over. He asserted that not only was it the task of American Jews to give moral and financial aid to needy Jews the world over but that it also was “more significant” for the American Jew “to feel a spiritual identification with his fellow Jews throughout the world.”

Other speakers included Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller; Rabbi Irving Miller, chairman of the American Zionist Council; Rabbi Herbert A. Friedman, executive vice-chairman of the United Jewish Appeal; James G. McDonald, the first United States Ambassador to Israel; General S. L.A. Marshall, a leading military analyst and commentator who was the U.S. Government observer in Israel during the Sinai campaign; Rabbi Joseph S. Shubow of Boston, a vice-president of the ZOA and Dr. Joseph Tenenbaum, a member of the presidium of the Histadrut Ivrith, and others.

NEXT STORY