U.S. Zionists Divided on Holding Actions Committee Meeting in New York

Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Zionist Organization, said today at a press conference that he was “astonished and sorry” over the “excitement” in Israel over the decision to hold the next meeting of the Zionist Actions Committee in New York. He asserted that the Israeli press had “distorted” facts of the discussion in American Zionist groups on the proposal.

He said he had supported the idea of a New York meeting because it was “bound to be impressive to the highest possible degree and carry influence and be the beginning of a great Zionist activity among American Jews.” He emphasized that when he gave such support to the proposal on his visit to Israel last November, it was clear that “even then, we decided first of all to consult with the members of the Actions Committee from the United States and the Zionist organizations in the United States.”

He declared that the Zionist Organization of America did not oppose such a meeting. Adding that “there were differences between ZOA leaders” on the idea, he said that the ZOA had decided to leave the final decision “to the appropriate institutions, which means through the Zionist executive and the presidium of the Actions Committee.”

He said that this was the stand taken also by Mizrachi, and the Labor Zionists, even though the majority of these organizations had supported the idea of a New York meeting. Hadassah, he declared, had decided to oppose the idea “but it has never stated it would not accept the decision of the majority.”

“The problem of dual loyalty was never mentioned,” he added, “and it would be dishonest to accuse the ZOA of allegedly demanding any kind of censorship over speeches at the proposed meeting.” He said that the ZOA decided only that if the meeting did take place in New York,” an agenda and program would have to be thoroughly prepared.”

Dr. Goldmann then added he felt that it would be better to postpone the proposed meeting in New York to a later date because the American Zionist Council was currently in a “stage of reorganization.” At the same time he stressed that a meeting in New York would “increase the expenses very substantially.”

“The Zionist executive in New York, at a meeting attended by the chairman of the Jewish Agency executive, Moshe Sharett, and its treasurer, Aryeh Pincus, both now on a visit to New York, decided unanimously to propose that the presidium of the Actions Committee postpone the final decision to December 24 at which date Mr. Sharett and Mr. Pincus will be back in Israel and a joint meeting of the Zionist executive and the presidium will be held,” he said. “Any decision adopted at that meeting will be implemented.”

Dr. Goldmann stated that “there never was and there is not among American Zionists any tendency not to fulfill with the fullest loyalty the decision about the place of the meeting of the Actions Committee. In case it is decided to hold it in new York, the Zionist executive, in cooperation with all Zionist organizations, will do all that is necessary to implement the decision and to assure the success of the meeting.”

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