Proxy Vote Effort to Return Elmer Berger to American Council for Judaism Fails

An effort by American Council for Judaism members friendly to resigned executive vice president, Rabbi Elmer Berger, to have him reinstated failed this weekend at the organization’s 25th anniversary conference. A proxy battle waged by pro-Berger forces against a group backing the present administration, led by president Richard Korn, of New York, turned out to be a lopsided loss. The present administration netted 750 votes, according to Mr. Korn, and the opposition about 150, in a canvass of the anti-Zionist organization’s membership of some 5,000.

Rabbi Berger’s official resignation was accepted by the Council’s National Executive Committee on June 30, 1968. His position has not been filled since then. The present composition of the Council’s governing authorities, heavily weighted with his opponents, will continue for another year, having been re-elected this weekend. Asked if the Council envisions any future working relationship with Rabbi Berger, its chief ideologist and driving force since its founding, Mr. Korn said that “conversations will be held later in the winter in an attempt to reach a working arrangement that is acceptable to all parties concerned.” Rabbi Berger could not be reached for.comment. He reportedly rejected a recent attempt to reach a compromise.

Rabbi Berger contends that he was forced out of office as a result of differences with the Council leadership over policy. His enemies maintain that he damaged the Council by turning it into a “pro-Arab and anti-Israel foreign policy association” and that he dominated its policy and program direction. The rabbi, on the other hand, holds that the leadership has adopted an “arbitrary” policy line that rules out “Middle East problems” and leaves the Council with a “kind of American Jewish Committee ‘non-Zionism.”

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