WASHINGTON (Oct. 4)
The 67th annual convention of the Zionist Organization of America concluded this weekend with resolutions calling on the United States Government to fulfill commitments for the security of Israel because of Arab aggression preparations arising from the recent Arab summit conference in Egypt. Dr. Max Ilussbaum, of Hollywood, Calif., was elected president of the organization for a third term. His election followed adoption by an overwhelming majority of an amendment to the ZOA constitution, permitting three consecutive terms instead of two.
In a resolution on American foreign policy, the convention recalled declarations by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson opposing the use or threat of force in the Middle East. The convention said the eventualities contemplated have now arisen, and a threat of force and aggressive preparations were openly proclaimed at the recent Arab summit conference.
The resolution called on the Administration “to implement its declared policy and commitment by taking appropriate measures without delay-measures calculated to halt the preparations for aggression-to deter the would-be aggressors from launching a war of aggression against Israel, and to use its influence to promote direct negotiations of peace between Israel and the Arab states.”
Earlier, the convention received greetings from President Johnson and Sen. Barry Goldwater, Myer Feldman, counsel to President Johnson, in an address today, told the Zionists that the United States is committed to Israel’s survival. He also assailed elements that impugn the patriotism of those Americans who work on behalf of Israel.
JOHNSON RECALLS PARLEY WITH ESHKOL; GOLDWATER PLEDGES FRIENDSHIP
In his communication, addressed to Rabbi Nussbaum, President Johnson, extending “heartiest greetings” to the convention, stated:
“Your convention is another evidence of the close ties of friendship between this country and the people of Israel, a bond which was further strengthened by the visit of Israel Prime Minister Levi Eshkol to this country last June.
“The continued progress of the State of Israel in all fields of economic and social endeavor is of enduring concern to our Nation. Our joint study with Israel of a proposed desolating project in that country, as part of a worldwide cooperative effort to solve the problem of the scarcity of water, should prove a benefit to all mankind.
“As I emphasized to Prime Minister Eshkol, it is the strong desire of the United States to promote friendly relations with all nations of the Near East. The territorial integrity and national independence of all countries in the Near East must be maintained as a primary factor for an enduring peace and for the uninterrupted progress of human development. To this end, the United States is resolved to pursue its policy of firm opposition to aggression, and to the use of force or the threat of force against any country.
“The Zionist Organization of America is to be commended for its program to promote study of Hebrew as a cultural bridge between American Jewry and Israel, and for its efforts to preserve the spiritual heritage of the Jewish people among our fellow citizens of the Jewish faith in this country.”
Sen. Goldwater, in his message, stated: “My sincere best wishes to you and all the members of the Zionist Organization of America for a most successful convention. All Republicans note with pride your fine efforts on behalf of American-Israeli friendship. We support the integrity of all Middle East states, and believe that our economic and military assistance should be directed so as to help maintain stability in this region, and prevent an imbalance of arms. May you-and may all of us-soon see the fulfillment of the peace that we seek.”
FELDMAN SEES MID-EAST PEACE INEVITABLE; TELLS OF U. S. COMMITMENTS
Mr. Feldman was the convention’s guest of honor at a special morning session today. A scholarship in his name was awarded to a student for a full year’s study at Kfar Silver, an agricultural institute in Israel, maintained by the ZOA. Responding to tributes by Dr. Nussbaum and other speakers who noted his contributions to American-Israel relations
In support of Zionism, and obviously rebuking anti-Zionists, Mr. Feldman said: “I get tired of people who think that, if you are engaged in an effort in behalf of Israel, there is something that reflects, somehow, on your patriotism to the United States. These efforts are not inconsistencies with American interests, but a consistent program.
He reviewed efforts of the U. S. Administration to achieve peace, and cited difficulties encountered. He voiced conviction that “peace in the Middle East is inevitable, basing his belief on the following reasons:
“1. The United States is committed to the fact that Israel is here to stay, and will do everything it can to make sure of this; 2. The very close bond of friendship existing between the United States and Israel bears testimony to the prospect that Israel will achieve working arrangements with all other neighboring countries; 3. The United States will assure the territorial integrity of Israel; 4. The United States will oppose aggression of any kind in the Middle East. This we repeat regularly. “
Mr. Feldman lauded the ZOA for advancing the aims of Jewish learning, and express appreciation for the establishment of a scholarship in his name. Abraham Goodman, of New York, presided at this session.
MCCORMACK CONDEMNS ANTI-ISRAEL THREATS, PLEDGES U.S. AID
Earlier, Speaker John W. McCormack, of the House of Representatives, told the convention that it “is tantamount to treason against world public opinion and treachery against the charter of the United Nations” for any neighboring state to “contemplate the destruction of Israel, or to seek to damage its life in any way.”
Delivering the principal address at a luncheon, Rep. McCormack, Massachusetts, Democrat, pointed out that the United Nations charter “clearly states that, for nations to be members of the UN, they must be peace-loving in character and not practice any boycott or undertake any other action which contravenes international law and fundamental laws of the UN.”
The luncheon addressed by Rep. McCormack was sponsored by the American Zionist Fund, fund-raising arm of the ZOA, tendered in honor of Yosef Serlin, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament. Rep. McCormack commended Mr. Serlin for his “personal and public achievements.”
Asserting that “the military strength of Israel is for the preservation of peace-and not for war and aggression, “Mr. McCormack emphasized that, “as long as external threats exist, our Government should and will give necessary assistance to Israel to assure her continued independence and the freedom of her people.”
Mr. Serlin, in response, paid tribute to Rep. McCormack’s long friendship for the Zionist cause. Charles Rosengarten, of Westbury, Conn., who presided at the luncheon, warned against complacency, and urged support of ZOA projects.
AVERELL HARRIMAN LAUDS ISRAELI ADVANCES, COURAGE, DEDICATION
Under-Secretary of State W. Averell Harriman told the convention that “United States efforts in the Near East are directed towards the maintenance of peace through every avenue open.” He added that policies in the Near East “are a part of our total commitment to peace throughout the world. “
Mr. Harriman emphasized that “our objective is to prevent acts of aggression and to promote peace in an area where, unfortunately, much hostility continues to exist. ” He quoted previous statements by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson pertaining to the American commitment to Israel’s security.
Citing Israel’s rate of economic growth, Mr. Harriman said: “Israel has been blazing a trail for others to follow.” He said “the growth rate of this industrious and vibrant young democracy is among the highest in the world. ” He lauded the “courage and dedication” of Israel’s citizens.
Mr. Harriman told of plans for nuclear desalting operations in Israel as a joint Amen-Israeli venture. He reported, however, that “the important unanswered question is whether the project would be economical, ” but added: “The prospect is encouraging, and the results of the study will be made available to all nations.”
NEUMANN DEMANDS U. S. ‘RE-ASSESSMENT’; GOLDMANN SENDS MESSAGE
Dr. Emanuel Neumann, honorary president of the ZOA, told the convention that it is “time for President Johnson to reassess the situation and to adopt a new and firmer line toward President Nasser of Egypt, the dictator on the Nile.”
He asked the Administration to adopt “a more hard-headed and realistic policy, based not upon preconceived theory and wishful thinking, but upon the realities. ” He pointed out that “the current policy of US support of Nasser and Nasserism was not inaugurated by the present Administration. It is a carry-over of past years, to be re-examined in light of experiences and realities.”
Dr. Neumann insisted that the United States must withhold financial and political support from Nasser until he renounces aggression and aggressive preparations. He cited the recent Alexandria Arab summit conference and the formation of the “Palestine Army of Liberation” for aggression against Israel.
He expressed confidence President Johnson will act effectively on the Nasser issue. “When he does-and I hope it will be soon-he can count on the full support of public opinion and bipartisan support in the Congress, ” he said.
Dr. Neumann, asked, in regard to Nasser: “How much longer shall we persist in a policy which has proved so futile, so unrewarding, so fraught with danger, so contrary to our American traditions, so costly and so obviously unsound and discredited by experience? How does it serve our national interest to promote the interest of an ambitious dictator? Why should we be a party even to the slightest degree to his endeavor to foist his way on those who reject his rule?” He charged that Nasser’s destructive designs against Israel “are not an end in themselves but calculated to serve his larger ambitions.” He said that Nasser’s conquest of Israel “would give him easier access to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.” It would “so enhance his prestige among the Arabs as to make his bid for empire appear more possible of achievement,” he declared.
In a message from Geneva, Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Zionist Organization, voiced hope that the ZOA will “begin to map plans for reorganizing the Zionist movement in America.” Dr. Goldmann said “the Zionist movement can only regain its former positions in American Jewish life by united action and joint efforts of all the Zionist groups, and it is only natural that the ZOA should take the initiative to bring about such a real unity of effort and work.”
The session also heard addresses by Rep. Robert Taft, Jr., Ohio Republican, and S. Zalman Abramov, member of the Knesset and a leader of the Israel Liberal Party.
RESOLUTIONS URGE IMMIGRATION TO ISRAEL, ZIONIST UNIFICATION
In another step, the concluding session of the convention unanimously adopted a resolution on American Jewish immigration to Israel, urging that it be diligently and progressively encouraged by the ZOA, with emphasis on middle class settlement. To promote Jewish immigration from America, the program includes promotion of Israeli housing projects for American settlers, in cooperation with the authorities and bodies engaged in providing housing for newcomers. It provides for encouragement of group visits to Israel by the ZOA group of prospective settlers in close cooperation with counterparts in Israel. The resolution encourages participation of American Jews in one or two-year work and study programs in Israel.
Another resolution hailed “the remarkable progress achieved during the past year for the unification of the forces of General Zionism throughout the world under the aegis of the World Union of General Zionists.”
Still another resolution voiced appreciation for “the initial steps taken by Prime Minister Eshkol to provide for closer cooperation between the Government which he heads, and the World Zionist Organization.” The convention expressed “the hope that this line of policy, which Prime Minister Eshkol had indicated, will be fully implemented by the Ministries and departments in the Government of Israel and its official representatives and emissaries in the Diaspora.”