CLEVELAND (Mar. 21)
Protests and picketing marked the presentation Sunday of the Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver Award by the Cleveland Region of the Zionist Organization of America to House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford (R. Mich.). Joel Walters, a spokesman for the Radical Zionist Alliance, said today that RZA members from Cleveland and Kent, Ohio, protested to Conrad J. Morgenstern, president of the ZOA Region, that honoring Ford was a disservice to the Jewish people and offered to publicly debate “the value of such an award to k’lal Yisroel.”
Walters said the RZA objected to the honor being paid Ford because of his views on “issues ranging from human rights, to education, to the Vietnam war.” Rejecting Morgenstern’s reply that Ford was being honored “only for his views on Israel,” the RZA members maintained that honoring Ford, “for whatever reason, is not in the best interests to the Jewish people.”
They termed Ford a man who “encourages genocide in Vietnam and refuses to support basic domestic needs in this country; holds none of the basic interests of the Jewish people and should not be honored by us.”
In his address to the ZOA meeting in Beach-wood, Ohio, Ford proposed that the US recognize Jerusalem as “the historic and lawful capital of Israel” by moving its embassy there from Tel Aviv. He said he planned to take up his proposal with Secretary of State William P. Rogers.