ROME (Jan. 5)
The World Jewish Congress today urged direct Arab-Israeli peace talks to ease Middle East tensions but rejected “attempts by outsiders to bring peace — or impose it — between Israel and its Arab neighbors.” The resolution by the WJ Congress governing council was the first order of business on the second day of meetings here which will end Tuesday. It was aimed at the reported consideration by the Big Powers of a Four Power conference on the Middle East or a two power — United States and Soviet Union — effort to work out a Middle East solution and impose it on both sides in the dispute.
“The problem is not one for outsiders, it is a problem for the peoples of the Middle East,” the WJ Congress argued. The resolution blamed the growing violence in the region squarely on the Arab governments which give aid and encouragement to terrorist forays against Israel and which refuse “to accept repeated Israeli invitations to seek a peaceful permanent settlement to the Middle East crisis.” The organization expressed wholehearted support of Israel “in its resolve to maintain its sovereign independence within secure and recognized frontiers.”
The WJ Congress meeting opened Saturday under the chairmanship of Dr. Joachim Prinz of Orange, N.J., chairman of the governing council. The keynote address was delivered by WJ Congress president Dr. Nahum Goldmann who assailed the United Nations Security Council’s resolution condemning Israel for the Beirut Airport raid as completely one-sided. He said the resolution would tend to encourage Arab terrorism.
At a press conference, Dr. Prinz and Dr. Gerhard Riegner, WJ Congress secretary general, outlined topics on the agenda. Referring to Judaea-Christian relations, Dr. Riegner said that the Catholic Church had come to realize that Judaism and the Jewish people must be accepted. Dr. Prinz said that, apart from Israel, the major preoccupation of the Jewish world was with the position of Jewry in Eastern Europe. Armand Kaplan, director of the organization’s international affairs department, elaborated on that problem in a report to the meeting. He stressed, however, not the current anti-Semitic campaign by the Warsaw regime but the danger of cultural extinction for Jews remaining in Poland. He said that old-age homes for Jews had become mixed institutions where Jews and non-Jews lived. He said Jewish schools in Poland are now Jewish in name only — they are mixed schools where Jews can learn Yiddish only in special classes. Jewish publishing houses have been liquidated. Mr. Kaplan said that Jews are permitted to take possessions when they emigrate from Poland but must renounce Polish citizenship, becoming state less. An exit permit, he said, costs the equivalent of $1,000.