UNITED NATIONS (May. 22)
Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said his meeting yesterday with UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim left him “with a feeling of pessimism” because there was no real response from the United Nations toward the problem of terrorism. Rabbi Miller led a group of American Jewish leaders who met for 45 minutes with Waldheim to press for UN action against terrorism lest the international organization “by its failure to act” appear “an accomplice to murder.”
But at a press conference later, Rabbi Miller said that although Waldheim is “a fine gentleman with his heart in the right place” he is powerless to act as far as solving the problem of terrorism. The Jewish leaders urged that UNRWA Commissioner Sir John Rennie, stationed in Beirut, “root out” terrorist groups headquartered in Palestinian refugee camps run by the UN in Lebanon and refuse to give UN funds to camps that serve as terrorist bases.
According to Rabbi Miller, Waldheim said the camps are not run by the UN, but by the government of Lebanon, and the UN only serves them. Waldheim told the Jewish leaders the UN does not have police powers to control activities in the refugee camps but promised to look further into the question. Rabbi Miller said the Presidents’ Conference will ask Congress to consider cutting off funds to refugee camps that serve as terrorist bases.
STUDY CANNOT BE RELEASED
The delegation demanded that Waldheim print and disseminate the Secretariat’s 41-page study of the nature of international terrorism, which concluded in 1972 that “certain forms of violence,” particularly that directed “against the innocent” have no legitimacy. They said that this should include a statement from Waldheim appealing “to all governments providing sanctuary or other forms of assistance to terrorist groups to cease and desist from such practices.” But Waldheim, according to Rabbi Miller, said he could not release the study because the UN commission that had asked the study be made forbade its publication.
The delegation also asked that the issue of terrorism be placed on the agenda for the next General Assembly session and the United States draft resolution submitted in 1972 following the murder of Israeli Olympic athletes be adopted. The Jewish group noted that the General Assembly had adopted “no concrete means for combatting terrorism” and had only approved a convention on the “prevention and punishment of crimes against internationally protected persons including diplomatic agents.”
The Presidents’ Conference delegation included the presidents of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, North American Jewish Youth Council, American Jewish Congress, United Synagogue of America, Hadassah, Women’s League for Conservative Judaism, National Jewish Welfare Board, Mizrachi Hapoel Hamizrachi, Pioneer Women and the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.