NEW YORK (Aug. 21)
Philip M. Klutznick, chairman of the Governing Board of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), said the denial of permission to attend the United Nations-sponsored World Conference for Action Against Apartheid being held Aug. 22-26 in Lagos, Nigeria, will in no way diminish the WJC’s fight against racism. In a statement issued here, Klutznick declared:
“We very much regret that our efforts as an international Non-Governmental Organization in consultative status with the UN since 1947 to be helpful at a UN-sponsored conference in whose purposes we have a very real concern, have been rejected. Many observers will conclude that there has taken place an act of discrimination unworthy of a conference held under the auspices of the UN. The refusal to permit our participation created a situation that led Israel to feel compelled to withdraw from the Lagos conference.
“The efforts of the World Jewish Congress to strengthen human rights and advance human freedom date back to its establishment in 1936. We contributed actively to the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Our disappointment at the action of the conference organizers will in no way diminish our efforts to promote and encourage respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, regardless of race, color, religion or ethnic origin, nor will it affect our commitment to the struggle against apartheid and all forms of racism and racial discrimination.”
The meeting in Lagos is being sponsored by the UN, the Organization of African Unity and other organizations. About 50 countries, most of them Third World or Communist, are due to attend. Israel, which can attend as a member of the UN, announced last week that it would not do so in protest against the exclusion of the WJC, while the Palestine Liberation Organization and pro-PLO UN committee were invited.