Mexico’s Vote in the UN Rapped; Ban on Tours Continues

Mexico’s affirmative vote Monday night in the General Assembly for a resolution condemning Zionism was denounced by Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, the Israeli Tourism Minister and the leaders of B’nai B’rith and Young Israel. In addition, the two Jewish organizations affirmed that their ban on tour programs, ordered after Mexico voted in the Assembly last month for the resolution equating Zionism with racism, continues to be in effect.

Responding to questions at a press conference yesterday afternoon, Ambassador Chaim Herzog said of Mexico’s vote that he had no reason to believe that anybody changed their mind. He said he was pleased by the statement by the head of the Mexican delegation before the vote, but was disappointed by the vote. Herzog added, “I hope that they (Mexico) will move away from their original position, as expressed in their statement, and will in due course finally express it in their vote.”

In a statement before the voting Monday night the head of the Mexican delegation, Ms. Aida Gonzalez Martinez, said that if Zionism means the realization of the national aspirations of the Jewish people, her delegation’s vote on the resolution should not be interpreted as an acceptance of the resolution’s clause condemning Zionism along with racism, colonialism and apartheid as movements to be eliminated.

VOTE TERMED DISAPPOINTING, ASTOUNDING

Israel Minister of Tourism Moshe Kol, who just completed a tour in the United States on behalf of the State of Israel Bonds and in support of tourism to Israel, said Mexico’s vote was “very disappointing,” especially following the visit of Mexico’s Foreign Minister, Emilio Rabasa, to Israel and the visit of 15 American and Canadian Jewish leaders to Mexico City last Friday where they met with Mexican President Luis Echeveria.

Kol said it was “very hard to understand” why Mexico did not at least abstain in the vote. “There is a lesson to be learned in this, both in Israel and elsewhere,” he stated.

David M. Blumberg, president of B’nai B’rith sent a letter to Echeveria informing him that because of his nation’s “astounding vote” it could not reinstate its tours there now, Blumberg recalled in his letter that only last week while he was in Israel, he had been assured by Rabasa and Mexican Ambassador Benite Berlin that Mexico “in no way regarded Zionism as a form of racism” and was committed “to the survival of Israel as a Jewish State and a genuine example of national liberation.”

The B’nai B’rith leader also told Echeveria that he “continues to hope that your government will take the next opportunity to express in convincing form its commitment to the survival of Israel and its rejection of the canard that Zionism is racism.” Herman Rosenbaum, president of the national council of Young Israel, said his organization was maintaining its suspension of tours to Mexico and stated that the explanation of the Mexican delegate to the UN regarding its vote was contradictory and unacceptable.

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