NEW YORK (May. 24)
An official of the World Jewish Congress denied today that pressure was being brought to bear by the World Zionist Executive in Jerusalem to establish a collective leadership of the global organization more amenable to current Zionist and Israeli policies. Max Melamet, executive director of the WJC’s American Section, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that recent changes in the WJC’s top leadership structure were the results of decisions democratically arrived at within the Congress and representative of the views of its constituent organizations which include most Zionist groups in the US and abroad.
Melamet offered that explanation when asked to comment on a JTA dispatch from Jerusalem today reporting that the WZO Executive meeting in plenary session “decided” that the WJC should henceforth be led by a group of persons that would act collectively on policy and administrative matters. The WZO Executive said that at the annual meeting of the WJC’s Governing Council in New York June 6-9, clear guidelines for the Congress’ functions and for the shaping of its policy should be demanded by the Zionist Executive, the JTA dispatch said.
The WZO Executive and Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the WJC, recently had sharp differences over policies relating to Soviet Jews. Dr. Goldmann was barred from addressing the 28th World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem last Jan. because of remarks he made in a speech in London last fall. Melamet denied that these differences had anything to do with the recent establishment of what he described as a “small inner executive” to share the top WJC leadership with its president. He said the establishment of the inner body was recommended by a committee nominated by Dr. Goldmann at the WJC’s Governing Council meeting in Montreal in 1970 to re-examine the structure of the organization.
Melamet said the inner body, when fully implemented, would consist of about 15 members and would have decision-making functions should emergencies arise in the interim between meetings of the Governing Council.