TEL AVIV (Jan. 7)
The Herut World Movement is waging a bitter campaign to prevent the re-election of Dr. Nahum Goldmann as president of the World Jewish Congress. Their efforts are doomed to failure, most observers agree, but they are expected to enliven the WJC’s plenary assembly which opens in Jerusalem Feb. 3,
They are also expected to consume a great deal of time which might be put to better use tackling such issues on the plenary agenda as assimilation; safeguarding Jewish rights; the right to emigrate; growing anti-Semitism; and aid for needy Jewish communities, especially in countries where regimes have changed.
Nevertheless, Herut seems resolved to push the anti-Goldmann movement as far as it will go. Joseph Klarman, a Herut member of the World Zionist Organization Executive, raised the issue at an Executive meeting in Jerusalem earlier this week, “I have nothing personal against Goldmann. We are good friends, But I do not see how he can continue in his office after all of those statements he made,” Klarman said.
He was reflecting Herut’s distaste for Goldmann’s moderate, frequently doveish views on the Middle East situation, his past criticisms of Israeli policies he believed to be rigid and his suggestion that Israel will one day have to deal with the Palestinians, even with the hated PLO.
STRUGGLE IS A MATTER OF CONSCIENCE
According to Klarman and his Herut colleagues, such views expressed by the president of the World Jewish Congress are politically harmful to Israel and the Zionist movement, Klarman urged the WZO Executive to revise the terms of its agreement with the WJC. Under the agreement, the WZO has greater representation on the governing bodies of the WJC in consideration of the fact that the activities of both organizations often overlap.
But the WZO as such has no control over WJC organizational matters. The WZO Executive rejected Klarman’s demand that it go on record in opposition to Goldmann’s re-election. But he asked to be permitted to continue the struggle because “it is a matter of conscience for me.”
Rumors had it that Klarman favored former Foreign Minister Abba Eban to replace Goldmann as head of the WJC. When a colleague pointed out that “even he (Eban) does not rule out contact with the PLO,” Klarman retorted, “Who said it is a he?. I mean a she.” This led to speculation that the Herut bloc would support former Premier Golda Meir for the WJC presidency. But Klarman refused to elaborate and the matter has never been taken up with Mrs. Meir.