GENEVA (Jul. 22)
A pledge “to support Israel in its efforts to secure a just, honorable and genuine peace” was approved yesterday at the closing session of a plenary of the World Conference of Jewish Organizations (COJO) which also expressed the “profound indignation” of the participant organizations over the “Soviet anti-Semitic campaign masquerading as anti-Zionism.”
The resolution added that COJO was “particularly disturbed by the effects of this propaganda on neighboring countries–of which Poland is the most outstanding example of the way in which anti-Semitism has been used to under-nine and destroy organized Jewish life.” The resolution singled out East Germany-as having become “an instrument of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel propaganda which is particularly repulsive, coming as it does from a place populated by Germans so soon after the Holocaust,” reports JTA’s European editor S. J. Goldsmith.
The delegates re-elected Dr. Nahum Goldmann as COJO chairman and Yehuda Hellman as secretary-general. Louis A. Pincus, Jewish Agency chairman, and Dr. William Wexler, president of B’nai B’rith, were re-elected co-chairmen. Michael Fidler, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, was re-elected COJO vice-chairman. Other COJO participant organizations represented were the American Jewish Congress; Canadian Jewish Congress; the Conseil Representatif Des Juis de France; the DAIA, the central representative organization of Argentine Jews; Executive Council of Australian Jewry; American Jewish Labor Committee; South African Jewish Board of Deputies; World Jewish Congress and the World Zionist Organization.
In another resolution, COJO noted “the campaign of misrepresentation and distortion unleashed in recent months against Israel” and called on its member groups “to re-double their efforts in the fields of information and education to ensure that Israel’s just cause and the policy and record on which it is based shall be rightly known and understood.”
Another resolution noted the recent extension by West Germany of the effective date of the statute of limitations on prosecutions of Nazi war criminals and expressed “deep disappointment” about recent interpretations of West German penal laws “which will provide immunity for numerous persons guilty of murder and other crimes as administrators of the extermination machine during the Nazi era.” Another resolution expressed concern about the plight of Jews in Arab countries.
RABBI MILLER CALLS SOVIET JEWS’ PLIGHT A ‘MAJOR PROBLEM OF OUR GENERATION’
Rabbi Israel Miller, former chairman of the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry, said that, after Israel, the situation of Soviet Jews was “the major problem in Jewish life in our generation,” adding that in respect to the spiritual attrition of Russian Jews, “time is never on our side.” Dr. Israel Goldstein said there were now 25.000 Falasha Jews in Ethiopia. compared with the 50.000 when they were first discovered by Jewish leaders. He blamed conversion and assimilation for the drop and urged that world Jewry not forget “this remote Jewish tribe.”
Chaim Finkelstein, Jewish Agency executive member, and Rabbi Jay Kaufman, executive vice-president of B’nai B’rith, who are co-chairmen of the COJO Commission on Jewish Education, presented a series of Commission proposals on Jewish education. In the discussion, several speakers, including Dr. Goldmann, suggested that the Commission might be placed under sponsorship of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. Several other speakers, including Mr. Pincus. argued against changing present arrangements. No resolution was adopted on the matter and the Commission will continue to operate as heretofore.
Dr. Goldmann told one of the sessions that “as the revolutionary processes grow in the world, Jewish communities are bound to suffer, even in places where anti-Semitism is not endemic or pronounced.” He added that the current situation was “historically a dangerous period for Jewry” and that “above all” what was needed now was “solidarity and a joint effort.” He said world Jewry was now “absolutely and irrevocably tied with Israel,” and that “we are responsible for what Israel does.” Hence, he asserted, “it seems justified to expect that Israel and the Diaspora should be thinking and discussing together the issues that affect the whole of the Jewish people, not only in days of crisis but at all times.”
DR. PRINZ SAYS SOLIDARITY WITH ISRAEL DOES NOT NECESSARILY IMPLY TOTAL UNANIMITY
Dr. Joachim Prinz, former president of the American Jewish Congress, said that solidarity with Israel did not necessarily imply unanimity on all problems. He added that he was “severely strictured” by Premier Golda Meir “for having views of my own on certain problems, young people and their attitude toward Israel, for example, and for voicing them in public in Israel.” He declared that non-Israeli Jewry “did not want to become the political counselors to Israel but we are surely entitled to have our own views.” Adding that he was not frightened by charges of dual allegiance, he said “I have dual allegiance. My loyalty to Israel is part of me and there are many Jews who think and feel likewise.”
Shmuel Divon, head of the department for the Diaspora at the Israel Foreign Affairs Ministry, told the delegates that the term “alliance,” often used to describe the relations between Israel and other Jewries, was both “misleading and inappropriate.” He said the partnership was based on a common tradition and a common destiny and not “a mere alliance.” A special session was held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Committee of Jewish Delegations to Paris, established during the Versaille Peace Conference to present Jewish views and demands. Dr. Goldmann addressed the meeting at which Rabbi Arthur Lelyveld, president of the American Jewish Congress, presided.
Addressing the parley, Dr. Jacob Herzog, director-general of Premier Golda Meir’s office, denied that Israel had suffered a regression in world esteem as a result of being the victor in the Six-Day War, but he asserted that there were “dangerous fissures” in the intellectuals’ understanding and appreciation of Israel and that Israel had not yet found dependable channels to such circles. That issue was touched on by Rabbi Herschel Schacter, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which attended the COJO meeting with observer status. Rabbi Schacter told the delegates that the Presidents’ Conference considered public relations on behalf of Israel as one of its most vital current tasks and had accepted as a duty the sponsorship of such public relations activities in the United States.