ZOA Withdrawal from Azf Assailed Schenker: Ill-considered, Ill-timed; Mrs. Schenk; Disservice, Confu

The withdrawal of the Zionist Organization of America from the American Zionist Federation was assailed today by Avraham Schenker, a member of the World Zionist Organization Executive and head of the WZO’s organization and information department. He called the defection “an ill-considered and ill-timed act which weakens the unity and cohesion of the Zionist Movement” and urged the ZOA “to reconsider its action and return to the unified Zionist fold.”

Schenker said the ZOA’s withdrawal violated the unanimous decision of the recent 28th World Zionist Congress, in which ZOA delegates participated, “to place the Zionist Federation in each country at the center of Zionist activity.” He said “It should be clear that the Executive is committed to the support of the American Zionist Federation and its leadership. It will not tolerate any attempt to weaken Zionist unity.”

The ZOA’s withdrawal from the AZF was announced on Feb. 22 by ZOA president Herman L. Weisman who said the decision was made because the AZF is “committed” to conducting “a wide spectrum of Zionist activities” which “compete with, disrupt and supplant” important ongoing Zionist programs traditionally conducted by the ZOA.

(In New York today, Mrs. Faye L. Schenk, national president of Hadassah, expressed “dismay” over the ZOA’s withdrawal from the AZF. “This action,” she said, “is incomprehensible coming at a time when unity in Zionist ranks is imperative if we are to achieve the goals we have voluntarily assumed: To help Israel absorb the heroic olim from the Soviet Union; to educate a new generation; to interpret Israel’s position to our fellow Americans; and to promote aliya.”

(Mrs. Schenk’s statement continued: “The action of the ZOA will perforce dissipate our energies in unworthy inter-organizational competition, confusing the public, rendering a disservice to Israel and hindering rather than furthering Zionist objectives. United as an American Zionist Federation in accordance with the decisions of the World Zionist Congress, we have the opportunity to function as a creative force in every major area in the life of the Jewish people today.”)

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