NEW YORK (Dec. 16)
B’nai B’rith announced today endorsement of a proposal to strengthen the World Conference of Jewish Organizations (COJO), a worldwide coordinating body, by replacing its “informal procedures” with a more formal organizational structure. The B’nai B’rith move was voted by its board of governors.
The action virtually assured broader and more intensive activity by the World Conference. Its nine other constituent groups had previously accepted the proposed change. Approval by B’nai B’rith had been viewed as “necessary” because of its size and influence, and the fact that it operates in 43 countries.
In a companion action announced by Label Katz, B’nai B’rith president, the organization also agreed to plans for converting the present Conference of Presidents of Major Organizations to a “Conference of American Organizations.” The Conference of Presidents, organized in 1954, has heretofore comprised the heads of 18 Jewish groups acting consultatively on issues involving American-Israel relations and, more recently, on problems affecting Jews in other foreign countries. The proposal will change its membership from individuals to organizations.
Mr. Katz described the B’nai B’rith decisions as “further implementing our long standing policy of entering into cooperative and coordinative movements that encourage consultation and, wherever possible, joint action, without restricting the autonomy or freedom of action of its constituent members.”
Last week, B’nai B’rith adopted similar action when it voted to rejoin the National Community Relations Advisory Council, a coordinating body of national agencies and local community relations councils engaged in combating anti-Semitism and discrimination.
The COJO has been in existence since 1958. B’nai B’rith and the World Jewish Congress are the two groups with international constituencies represented in COJO. Other participants include the American Jewish Congress, the Jewish Labor Committee, the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the South African Board of Jewish Deputies, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the Conseil Representatif de Juifs de France and the Delegacion de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas.