UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. (May. 21)
The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) decided today to postpone action on the status of a major Jewish non-governmental organization, the Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations, which was under sharp attack by Soviet and Arab delegates to ECOSOC. The board, representing the British and South African Boards of Deputies and B’nai B’rith, has had until now, category two status as a non-governmental organization here, enabling it to speak but not to vote at meetings of ECOSOC agencies, including the Human Rights Commission. In voting yesterday, the UN agency rejected a joint Arab-Soviet campaign to deny any status to the World Jewish Congress and the Women’s International Zionist Organization, which were retained in category two status. The unit also voted to elevate the Agudas Israel World Organization from roster to category two status.
In the debate preceding the vote yesterday, the Soviet delegate, E.N. Nasinovsky, assailed the WJ Congress as “the foreign policy section” of the World Zionist Organization, which sought to depict the Jews as “some kind of chosen people.” In earlier debate, Soviet spokesmen had also denounced WIZO and demanded that the Coordinating Board should be denied category two status and placed on the roster. In its action today, ECOSOC voted to return that question to its committee on non-governmental organizations “for further study and recommendations.” The action followed a complicated parliamentary wrangle which led Walter Kotschnig of the United States to complain that it was impossible to know what status the Coordinating Board should have.
The Soviet delegate charged that the WJ Congress had organized a campaign against the Soviet Union, “alleging” that it was aimed at defending the rights of Russian Jews. The American delegate vigorously defended the Jewish organizations, asserting that the key criteria for status had been met by all of the Jewish NGOs.