WASHINGTON (Aug. 13)
At least seven Jewish organizations are scheduled to offer oral presentations to the Republican national platform committee on domestic and international affairs at the three days of platform hearings which begin tomorrow in Miami Beach.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency obtained from the GOP platform committee the names of witnesses, including some from non-Jewish organizations, who will testify on the Middle East. The platform committee, headed by Rep. John Rhodes of Arizona, is expected to make public its recommendations before the end of the week, when delegates will begin arriving for the Republican National Convention, which opens in Miami Beach a week from tomorrow.
Secretary of State William P. Rogers, who will appear tomorrow morning as first witness, will keynote the foreign affairs presentation of the Nixon Administration. The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and the American Jewish Committee, which is not a conference member, will support proposals by the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee for a plank reaffirming President Nixon’s Middle East views with continuation of his policy of maintenance of Israel’s deterrent strength and direct Israel-Arab negotiations as well as approval of movement of the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Democratic Party and the Young Republican Federation have approved such a shift and its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The American Jewish Committee will not testify before the platform committee. It has expressed its views in a letter to Rep. Rhodes. Jerry Goodman, executive director of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, will offer Wednesday testimony for a GOP plank calling for relief for Soviet Jewry, proposing action on the problem for the Republican Administration, the platform committee told the JTA. Jerome Cohen, Jewish War Veterans Commander, will be the first Jewish organizational witness. He will appear tomorrow to appeal for improved housing for the elderly and facilities for sick and aging veterans, the committee said. Mrs. Philip Bloom will represent the National Council of Jewish Women tomorrow in discussing equal rights for women.
Rabbi Morris Sherer of New York, executive president of the Agudath Israel of America, and Rabbi Bernard Goldenberg, who will speak for the National Society for Hebrew Day Schools, will testify Wednesday for government aid to non-public schools. Dr. Joseph Sternstein of New York, chairman of the national affairs committee of the Zionist Organization of America, will testify Tuesday on strengthening Israel-American relations.
Among the half-dozen non-Jewish witnesses is David L. Hendry, identified by the committee as chairman of the American Committee for Justice in the Middle East, who will speak tomorrow on national defense. Also speaking tomorrow will be Dr. M. T. Mehdi, of New York, listed as director of the Committee on Arab-American relations. Witnesses on Wednesday, the committee said, also will include Dr. Joseph M. DiCapro, president of “Americans for the United Nations Responsibility in the Middle East.”
The American Jewish Committee said in its prepared statement that it supports busing to help bring about school integration and opposes the “concept” of “quotas” whether in government appointments or any other field. The agency also expressed the hope that the platform would “deal forthrightly with the plight of Soviet Jewry” and help Jews in Syria and other Arab countries “whose basic human rights are being violated.” The AJ Committee also called for “immediate ratification” by the Senate of the International Genocide Convention which was “approved by the Senate Foreign Relations committee” after recommendation by President Nixon.
In making the statement available to the JTA here, Hyman Bookbinder, AJ Committee Washington representative, said that the agency had made similar presentations to the Democratic platform committee. The statement said that the AJ Committee “is unequivocally committed to the goal of a racially integrated society” for which “racially integrated public schools throughout the country are vital,” and for which “busing must remain as one possible option, among others, for this socially necessary purpose.” The statement said the agency “strongly opposed” any measures which preclude or inhibit the use of busing as an instrument for achieving school integration, whether by constitutional amendment or legislative enactment.”
Citing its active support of “affirmative action” programs to rectify historical injustices suffered by Blacks or other disadvantaged minority groups, the statement also warned that “affirmative action programs to seek out, encourage, assist and accept those previously excluded” must not be “permitted to lead to the acceptance of proportional representation whether in government appointments or other fields, which we believe is but a euphemism for quotas.” a concept “which substitutes new forms of discrimination for old.” The statement said that “in a democracy it is to the individual that rights are accorded, not to groups.” calling “the concept of group rights totally alien to our constitutional system.”