Z.O.A. Convention Closes with Appeal to U.S. on Direct Arab-israel Talks
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Z.O.A. Convention Closes with Appeal to U.S. on Direct Arab-israel Talks

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The 65th annual convention of the Zionist Organization of America concluded here today with resolutions calling upon the United States Government “to press for the settlement of the Arab-Israel dispute peacefully through direct negotiations.” The resolution voiced “regret that United States representatives found it necessary to oppose the resolution sponsored by 16 small nations during the 16th United Nations General Assembly, advocating direct negotiations between Israel and the Arab nations.”

Another resolution noted “with appreciation” President Kennedy’s greeting to this year’s convention, in which the President voiced a desire for “peace and prosperity in the Middle East.” The ZOA urged the Government to take “resolute and consistent measures to promote these ends and thus counter the mounting dangers to the peace of the world inherent in the threat of a new conflagration in the Middle East.”

Resolutions were adopted urging continued American economic aid to Israel and also that Arab political exploitation of the Arab refugee issue be “squarely faced by our Government. ” Another resolution noted “with growing concern the continued threats of the Arab countries to renew full-scale hostilities, threats escalated through the stepped-up flow of modern arms to the Arab countries, and in particular to Egypt, supplied by the Soviet Union.”

This was followed by a resolution stressing that economic development of the Middle East is retarded by increased arms expenditures. Continued aid to the region was urged, but the Government was asked to take into account “that such aid should not contribute to the military build-up of those states threatening the stability of the entire Middle East.”


A resolution deplored the “rift in General Zionism” and regretted that efforts to unify the two existing World Confederations of General Zionists have failed. In the absence of an early agreement, ZOA said, the World Confederation of General Zionists with which it is affiliated should convene a world conference of all General Zionist organizations that “are prepared to associate themselves with this effort for unity.”

It was resolved that “any world union of General Zionists must provide for adequate “representation and participation of the General Zionists in Israel, formerly divided and now happily united.”

Dr. Max Nussbaum, of Los Angeles, veteran Zionist leader and rabbi of Hollywood’s Temple Israel, was elected president of the Zionist Organization of America at the closing session of the convention. He succeeds Max Bressler, of Chicago.

In his acceptance address, Dr. Nussbaum disclosed that, during the convention, he conferred privately with President Kennedy at the White House on Israel-American problems. Dr. Nussbaum said he was satisfied that American policy has not changed from the views enunciated by President Kennedy at a ZOA convention in August 1960. He expressed a conviction that the President remained devoted to Israel’s security and the objective of Near Eastern peace. Dr. Nussbaum stressed American economic assistance to Israel.


Dr. Emanuel Neumann, honorary president of the ZOA and member of the Jewish Agency executive, told the convention that “though our confidence in the present Administration has been strained at certain moments, it has not been impaired.”

Dr. Neumann said that “we have nothing but friendship toward the Administration headed by President Kennedy. Despite some painful disappointments we have experienced, we do not question his friendship toward Israel and the sincerity of his desire to carry out the pledges he made to our own organization in 1960.”

He speculated that some “disappointments” arose from shortcomings in communication. To remedy that, he said, “in the past few days, important contacts have taken place on a high level, and there is a prospect that lines of communication, which have been established, will be kept open so that we may gain a better insight into the mind of our Administration and policy-makers-and vice-versa.”

Dr. Neumann nevertheless stressed that Zionists could not ignore “the fantastic military build-up of Egyptian power.” He said that, while there was a “bedrock of Israel-American friendship, basic principles needed translation into deeds consistent with declared objectives.

Senator Jacob K. Javits, New York Republican, strongly attacked the Administration’s Near Eastern policy before the convention. He cited indirect American financing of Egypt’s Soviet arms purchases, and named President Kennedy and American UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson in connection with what he said were failures to protect Israel and Jews.

Rep. Seymour Halpern, New York Republican, announced that he will offer an amendment to the Mutual Security Act in the coming week to bar assistance to Egypt because of the disclosure of Egyptian purchase of the new Soviet MIG-21 missilles firing jet fighters.

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