LONDON (Apr. 24)
Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress, said today that he was compelled to correct “inaccurate assertions” about the WJC by Jack Winocour who resigned last week as director of its information department in London. Winocour attributed his resignation to the alleged usurpation of the WJC’s independence by the Israel government. Dr. Goldmann said, “In my long years as president of the WJC, I have never witnessed any attempt on the part of the Israeli authorities to enforce an attitude on the WJC leadership.”
Dr. Goldmann referred specifically to the issue of Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union, a subject on which his own expressed views conflicted with those of the World Zionist Organization Executive, leading to the withdrawal of the WZO’s invitation to him to address the 28th World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem last Jan. Dr. Goldmann stressed the invitation was withdrawn by the Jerusalem members of the Executive, not by the government of Israel. “The whole incident concerned me personally and had nothing to do with the WJC,” he said.
“The government of Israel,” Dr. Goldmann continued, “Is obviously interested in a large immigration of Soviet Jews to Israel, but it is not true that they have ever demanded the immigration of all Soviet Jews. The Israel government has always supported the demand of the WJC and other Jewish organizations that those Jews who wish to remain in the USSR be given the right to live as a Jewish minority and to develop their own religious and cultural life,” he said.
Dr. Goldmann said that while the Israeli people are represented in the WJC, the government of Israel holds no official position within that organization, the large majority of which is comprised of representatives of 62 diaspora communities and organizations.