MONTREAL (Sep. 22)
The Zionist Organization of Canada explained today why 75 of the 80 members of its national executive had voted against proposals for a Zionist territorial federation in Canada sought by the World Zionist Organization.
Lawrence Freiman, ZOC president, said that he and Sol D. Granek, ZOC executive vice-president, had accepted an invitation from Aryeh L. Pincus, Jewish Agency executive chairman, to go to Brussels to negotiate on the proposals. He said negotiations in Canada and in Brussels “were necessitated by the action taken by the Labor Zionist Movement of Canada, Mizrachi Hapoel-Hamizrachi Organization of Canada, Achdut Avodah and Mapam, signifying their intention of forming a Zionist Federation in Canada based on the party system.”
The proposal for a Zionist territorial federation was one of several approved by the last World Zionist Congress for most areas of the world in which there are Zionist groups. The proposal for Canada, made by Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Zionist Organization, and Mr. Pincus, called for a territorial Zionist federation based on free elections and the political party system, and that a founding convention for the federation be held by June 30, 1967.
In the interim, according to the Goldmann-Pincus proposal, the Labor Zionists, Mizrachi-Hapoel Hamizrachi, Achdut Avodah and Mapam would be given 50 percent representation and the ZOC-Canadian Hadassah-WIZO would receive 50 percent representation on the ZOC national executive. Votes resulting in a tie would be referred to the chairman of the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem for arbitration. If one of the smaller Zionist parties voted with the ZOC, this would also be considered a tie vote subject to the same arbitration procedures.
REFUSE TO ACCEPT PROPOSED PROCEDURE OF VOTING ON A PARTY BASIS
Mr. Freiman said the proposals “would have introduced a new procedure, alien to the ZOC, namely of voting on a party basis rather than each member of the executive casting his or her vote in accordance with their understanding of the issues under discussion.” He said the meeting at which the proposal was rejected included representation in Zionist, fund-raising and communal affairs throughout Canada.
Mr. Freiman said he had placed the issues before the executive, emphasizing the gravity of the situation and outlining the possible eventualities if the Goldmann-Pincus proposals were rejected, particularly in regard to decisions which might be taken in Jerusalem by the Jewish Agency which could jeopardize the historic relationship between the ZOC, the Keren Hayesod and the Jewish Agency.
The vote rejecting the proposals indicated that the majority of ZOC executive members believed that the ZOC “must continue to relate to the total needs of Zionism and Israel to enable Zionists in Canada to serve Israel and Zionism in accordance with the historic non-party position of the ZOC, ” Mr. Freiman stated.
The resolution rebuffing the proposals declared that they ignored “the historic position of the ZOC and would necessitate changing its character in a manner which would not be supported by the vast majority of Canadian Jewry. ” The resolution added that the ZOC was prepared “to consider an organizational solution which would further Zionist activities in Canada based on the widest cooperation.”
The resolution stressed that the “desire of the ZOC leadership to bring about Zionist unity in Canada is a matter of record. For years, Zionists of various ideologies and political groups were members in their personal capacity of the national executive of the ZOC, enjoying full status. Even today senior positions in the ZOC are held on an ad personam basis by Zionists who also hold office in other organized Zionist groups, and the ZOC continues to welcome their participation.”