Poale Zion, Farband Join Jewish Labor Committee, Adding 35,000 Members
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Poale Zion, Farband Join Jewish Labor Committee, Adding 35,000 Members

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The Jewish Labor Committee (JLC) ended its 35th anniversary biennial convention here today after approving the affiliation with it of the Poale Zion United Labor Zionist Organization and Farband, the Labor Zionist fraternal order. The JLC elected Charles Zimmerman, 72, as its president to succeed the late Adolph Held. The affiliation of Poale Zion and Farband will add 35,000 members to the JLC which represents 500,000 Jewish members of the AFL-CIO and 65,000 Jewish families in the Workmen’s Circle and the United Hebrew Trades.

The 500 delegate convention was greeted it its opening Friday with a message from President Richard M. Nixon who hailed the JLC’s efforts “to bring to those who have been left out or left behind the benefits of our social and economic life.” Premier Golda Meir of Israel cabled a message of greeting, saying “as you go forth with renewed strength and solidarity in the task of ever extending social justice with equality in human society, our ancient Biblical teachings about social justice and the contemporary achievements of Labor Zion in Israel are our joint dedication and inspiration.”

The affiliation of Poale Zion and the Farband with the JLC was recommended in a report by the organization’s national executive committee, submitted to the convention by Emanuel Muravchik, executive director. The two Labor Zionist groups had requested affiliation in November, 1968. The national executive committee’s report noted that there were no ideological reasons to oppose affiliation. It pointed out in its recommendation that affiliation “would make the JLC for the first time the spokesman for the entire democratic Jewish labor movement in the U.S. and this would significantly increase our stature in American Jewish life and our power within the various coordinating bodies–national, international and local.”

Mr. Zimmerman, a vice president of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, had been serving as interim JLC president since Mr. Held’s death. He told the convention that the JLC “will support any action taken by the International Association of Airline Pilots and the Airline Pilots Association AFL-CIO, in their efforts to get United Nations and other governmental action against air hijacking.” He said, “We also want to remind the United States Government that too many days and weeks have passed since an American airliner was hijacked to Syria and that two passengers, both Israelis, still languish in Syrian prison.”

Family Court Judge Jacob T. Zukerman, JLC first vice president, warned that “responsible Negro and Jewish leadership must not allow the alliance between Jews and Negroes to crack.” Judge Zukerman, former Assistant Commissioner of Welfare, said that “extremist Blacks do not speak for all Negroes any more than the Jewish Defense League speaks for all Jews.”

In an address to the closing session, Gordon Band, of Cleveland, chairman of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council, warned of “a vast apparatus of Arab propaganda, luxuriously financed” which is trying “to drive a wedge between Americans on the one hand and Israel and the Jewish people on the other.” Mr. Band said that the Arab propagandists were making headway among the New Left, the extreme right, in the Black community and “among the Christian clergy–especially in those Protestant denominations with heavy stakes in Jerusalem and in the missionary movement in the Middle East.” Mr. Band said Jews must counter the propaganda “by at least an equal increase and intensification of interpretive activity by community relations agencies and by other organizations…We must emphasize the democratic character of Israel, its role as an embodiment and expression of the highest ideals of freedom and democracy and of self-realization for Jews, and its reflection of the finest aspirations of a people for self-determination.”

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