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ZOA Charges Azf Censoring Election Platform

The Zionist Organization of America said today that it is planning to participate in the 28th World Zionist Congress and that it abides by the decision of the Congress Tribunal in Jerusalem upholding mail ballots although it had opposed that method of elections. A ZOA spokesman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that there was “absolutely no truth” in reports from Jerusalem that the ZOA had refused to abide by the Tribunal’s ruling.

At the same time, however, the ZOA accused the American Zionist Federation of trying to censor part of the ZOA platform that is being mailed together with ballots to all eligible voters in the forthcoming election of American delegates to the Zionist Congress. According to the ZOA spokesman, the AZF was censoring out of its platform a sentence referring to a decision by the Congress Tribunal in Jerusalem voiding a pre-election deal on the allotment of Congress seats between three other American Zionist parties. The deal was the subject of a complaint to the Tribunal last month by the ZOA and the United Zionists-Revisionists of America.

The censorship allegation relates to a paragraph of the platform which states that “ZOA is the only major Zionist organization to denounce on moral grounds a deal ‘reached in the night’ by Hadassah, Labor (Socialist) Zionists and Mizrachi concerning distribution of American delegates to the Zionist Congress. Following a trial in Jerusalem, the Congress Tribunal throw out that deal, saying: ‘We declare that the inter-party agreement is of no effect and we instruct that it should not be followed.'” A ZOA spokesman told the JTA that the last sentence of that paragraph was being censored by the AZF. Herman L. Weisman, ZOA president, called the censorship attempt “intolerable.”

WEISMAN: PARTICIPATE IN MAIL ELECTIONS

In an open letter to “Dear Fellow Zionists” sent out this week by the ZOA urging a vote for its slate and platform, Weisman called for “participation in the mail election” of American delegates to the World Zionist Congress. Referring to a remark made recently by Secretary of State William P. Rogers that Israeli society was “breaking up” under the strain of defense burdens, Weisman repudiated this contention and stated: “If Jewish unity didn’t break up under the unspeakable conditions of the ghettos and persecution in Europe and elsewhere, there will be no break-up of society in the State of Israel.”

One plank in the ZOA’s election platform reaffirms its support “for a progressive society in Israel, concern for the welfare of all Israelis, the centrality of Israel in Jewish life and the unity of the Jewish people.” Another plank states that the ZOA expresses the point of view of those “who are the mainstream of the middle-of-the-road American men and women in every walk of life.”

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