UN Body Sets Vote on Non-governmental Groups’ Status; USSR Opposes Jewish Units

A joint Soviet-Arab campaign to deny consultative status to three Jewish Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) at the United Nations Economic and Social Council will be climaxed tomorrow when the Council meets to vote on 12 disputed NGOs, which include the three Jewish NGOs.

The ECOSOC unit voted on Friday to assign consultative status to 104 NGOs in category two, in which such organizations can speak but may not vote at meetings of ECOSOC agencies, including the Human Rights Commission. It also voted to include 31 other NGOs on the ECOSOC roster only. The three targets of the joint effort are the World Jewish Congress, the Women’s International Zionist Organization, and the Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations, representing the British and South African Boards of Deputies and B’nai B’rith.

The vote on Friday was on recommendations of an ECOSOC committee on NGOs and had been preceded by debate during which Soviet delegate A.V. Zakharov announced that the Soviet Union opposed NGO status for the World Jewish Congress and the WIZO and argued that the Coordinating Board should not be given category two status but should be listed on the roster. The committee also recommended that the Agudas Israel World Organization, formerly in category two, should be assigned to the roster but Uruguay asked for a vote on that NGO and it will be among those voted on at the meeting tomorrow.

During the debate preceding the vote Friday, Isa Babaa of Libya delivered a sharp attack on Israel, Jews, Zionism and their supporting organizations without referring to any by name. He said there were “a few organizations which defended the interest of one state and of an international expansionist movement.” He charged that “they use religion as a mask for their activities and preach war and favor expansionism and deportation.” Such organizations, he said, should be “punished and expelled from the United Nations.” The Soviet delegate charged that the Jewish NGOs “engaged in slanders against the United Nations and member states.” The Libyan delegate, earlier in the debate, said “B’nai B’rith is truly an invisible government in the United States” which “seeks to undermine the United Nations, controls the telephones of delegates, forbids delegations from entering the United States.”

NEXT STORY