Hadassah Leader Says U.S. Support for Israel Due to Popular Opinion Not the Manipulation by Lobbies

Rose Matzkin, president of Hadassah, declared last night that the “power-base of support for Israel rests on American popular opinion and not the manipulation of any so-called lobbies.” Speaking at the opening session of Hadassah’s 61st annual National Convention, she denied that there is a Jewish lobby in the United States.

“Let us distinguish between a paid lobbyist–a lawyer or publicist who registers and openly represents a government, and a loose, ad hoc coalition of citizens who come together from time to time to advance a cause or a point of view.” Mrs., Matzkin stressed. She said groups like those who advocate protection for children, the aged and consumers “should not be confused with powerful, special interest groups who operate with great wealth and–I might add–with great subtlety. The oil lobby and huge multi-national corporations are in this category. They are like governments within governments.”

The Hadassah president declared that American Jews are not powerful in wealth or numbers and do not speak in one voice. “However, there are some areas where there is a strong consensus among American Jews, and that is support of Israel,” she said. Mrs., Matzkin added that the support for Israel’s right to exist is not limited to Jews. “When the Senate and the Congress of the United States vote aid to Israel, it is not because they are coerced by a powerful lobby. It is because they are representing the moral conviction of the American people.”

Some 2500 delegates, representing 500 chapters throughout the United States, are attending the four-day convention at the San Francisco Hilton Hotel.

UNESCO, WHO ACTIONS DEPLORED

In a speech today, Faye L. Schenk, national chairman of the Hadassah Medical Organization, deplored the politicization of specialized United Nations agencies such as UNESCO and the World Health Organization, with which Hadassah is affiliated.

Noting that the WHO criticized Israel’s health services in the West Bank, Sinai and Gaza, Mrs. Schenk declared that health and living conditions of refugees and residents in those areas have “noticeably improved, thanks to the continuous efforts of the Israeli health authorities.” She said that the standard of living and health are higher than Arab countries and “infant mortality was 30.7 per thousand as against 100 per 1000 in some neighboring countries.”

Mrs., Schenk also noted the medical assistance programs which Hadassah and Israel’s Ministry of Health has provided since 1960 to Third World countries who now attack Israel. “In return, Israel asks not for thanks but only for friendship–for the right to live and work and teach and heal and share in peace,” she said.

WARNS AGAINST ISRAEL’S BAN FROM UN

Sen. Gale McGee (D.Wyo.) told the Hadassah meeting last night that if the United Nations General Assembly expels or suspends Israel, the United States would withdraw from the Assembly in protest. But he added that the U.S. would not forfeit its powerful role at the UN and would remain in the Security Council to exert pressure on Israel’s behalf. A member of the Senate Foreign relations Committee, McGee said that Israel’s survival is a “moral necessity to the U.S. and that the Russians, who tested American strength during the Yom Kippur War would continue to do so.”

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