Jacques Torczyner Says ZOA Joined New American Zionist Federation Reluctantly

Jacques Torczyner, president of the Zionist Organization of America, told the JTA today that his organization decided to Join the newly formed American Zionist Federation after receiving assurances that the ZOA would retain its complete independence in the field of public relations. During preliminary discussions between the thirteen Zionist groups that Joined to launch the AZF here Tuesday, leaders of the ZOA expressed reluctance to Join the federation. “We are still reluctant to participate,” Torczyner said. “We have a wait and see attitude. Our overriding concern in the decision to Join was to avoid internecine warfare within the American Zionist movement” at a time when Israel is faced with a critical situation.

“Our feeling,” Torczyner added, “is that the new federation endangers only the work of the ZOA.” Other organizations, he noted are involved in specific areas such as hospital work or aliya and can express their presence through those activities. The role of the ZOA, however is primarily in the area of public relations. The founding conference of the AZF declared that the organization, in its articles of incorporation, guarantees the organizational integrity and freedom of action of the constituent Zionist groups. Previously, American Zionists were coordinated through the American Zionist Council which operated on a limited basis and in which member organizations could veto programs they did not approve. The new federation, it was stated, will function on the basis of a majority vote of its membership.

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