NEW YORK (Jul. 14)
The 63-member Governing Board of the World Jewish Congress concluded a three-day meeting in Geneva last week with a number of resolutions on subjects of primary Jewish concern, including the Middle East, the Arab boycott, Soviet Jewry, Rumania and Israel-diaspora relations, it was reported here today by the WJC, Sixteen countries were represented at the meeting. Philip M. Klutznick, chairman of the Governing Board, presided at all the sessions in which the participants included Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the WJC, and Pinhas Sapir, chairman of the Executives of the World Zionist Organization and Jewish Agency.
A discussion on the Arab boycott was introduced by Edgar Bronfman of New York, chairman of the WJC Committee established to initiate measures against the boycott and coordinate the activities of the WJC’s affiliates in this connection. He emphasized that resistance to the boycott was not just a Jewish responsibility. International intimidation, the curtailment of the democratic rights of citizens struck at the foundations of free societies.
Bronfman stated that his committee was not opposed to the re-cycling of Arab petrodollars through investment or the purchase of goods and services, What it did oppose was the use of this investment as a political and economic Trojan horse to attack the constitutional rights of Jewish citizens, subvert the democratic values of societies, and distort political institutions, business practices or foreign policies of countries which guarantee their citizens of all faiths and creeds complete equality.
One of the most potent weapons against the boycott, Bronfman said, was public disclosure, turning the searchlight of public knowledge and inquiry on the activities of the Arab boycott leaders
Avraham Agmon, former director general of the Israel Ministry of Finance, and recently appointed director of the Israel Government Office to combat the Arab boycott, said international trade depended on a web of interdependence. If the Arab boycott were to shatter this web by introducing an artificial division of international markets into ethnic sections, it might very well destroy that very stability of the Western economies which made them attractive to Arab investors.
DETENTE WOULD AID SOVIET JEWS
The Soviet-Jewish scene was surveyed by Dr. S. Levenberg of London, chairman of the WJC standing commission on international affairs, when expressed the view that no radical changes in Soviet policy could be expected before the 25th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party scheduled for February, 1976. He regarded as of considerable importance the visit to the USSR of a group of American Senators which had received tremendous publicity in the Soviet media. In his opinion the Soviet leaders while publicly opposed to any interference in their internal policy on emigration, were still ready for private negotiations and compromise solutions.
Dr. Samuel Pisar of Paris, a distinguished international lawyer and author, called for the support of detente and expanded economic relations between East and West, and particularly between the United States and the Soviet Union. He stated that normalized East-West coexistence, especially through economic means, offered the best guarantee of peace and of joint undertakings to deal with global problems and dangers that threatened the world community as a whole, regardless of ideological differences.
Specifically, Dr. Pisar said, he saw in detente the prospects of favorable developments for Jewish life in the USSR and for continued freedom of emigration to Israel. He expressed the fear that a return to the tensions of the cold war would be harmful to Jewish interests and to the freer flow of people and ideas and commodities between East and West.
The meeting adopted a-resolution deploring the continuation of Soviet harassment of Jews seeking to emigrate to Israel, calling on the Soviet Union to grant exit permits to all Jews who applied for them and to give facilities to all other Jews in the Soviet Union to establish and maintain a full Jewish cultural and religious life.
The resolution also urged more effective coordination and cooperation in the WJC’s work in behalf of Soviet Jewry and called on the WJC Executive forthwith to initiate, together with all concerned parties, a process of reassessing the policies, methods and actions governing the Jewish people’s world-wide efforts in this field.
RUMANIAN JEWRY AND THE WJC
Rumania’s efforts to obtain most favored nation status in the U.S. was echoed in a special resolution that focused on the relationship between the WJC and its affiliate, the Federation of the Jewish Communities of Rumania. The resolution emerged from a meeting between a sub-committee chaired by Sol Kanee of Winnipeg, treasurer of the WJC, and Chief Rabbi Moses Rosen of Rumania.
The resolution referred to the principle of non-intervention in the domestic political affairs of a community’s country embodied in the WJC’s constitution, and reaffirmed the WJC’s view that no action involving a particular Jewish community should be undertaken without prior consultation with the leadership of the community concerned. The resolution noted that very large numbers of Jews have been permitted to leave Rumania to be reunited with their families in Israel, and expressed the hope that this humanitarian policy would be maintained.