MELBOURNE (Jul. 30)
“Australia would oppose any moves by the Arab bloc to exclude Israel from the UN General Assembly.” Arthur Hertzberg, president of the American Jewish Congress, said after talks with senior government leaders in Canberra. His meetings included a luncheon with the Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, at the Lodge, the Prime Minister’s official residence.
Hertzberg said he expected that a formal statement outlining Australia’s position on protecting Israel’s membership in the world body would be made in the near future. The visiting American Jewish leader was speaking after a series of meetings with officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs, senior government ministers, and representatives of the Jewish communal leadership in Melbourne and Sydney.
“The Australian attitude was welcome particularly in the light of its recent votes of support for the admission of the PLO to the UN as observers,” Hertzberg added, Australian officials have explained that their support of the PLO should not be taken to mean recognition of the PLO as “the representative of the Palestinians but as a representative of the Palestinians,” he said.
Hertzberg, who is also a vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, left Australia for New Zealand yesterday at the end of a tour of Jewish communities in Southeast Asia which included visits to Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as Perth in western Australia, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.