NEW YORK (May. 10)
The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith has urged the State Department to close Palestine Liberation Organization offices in Washington and New York City because PLO representatives have illegally engaged in fund-raising activities.
Such activities, according to Arnold Forster, ADL’s general counsel, violate the terms of the visas held by PLO representatives and of the new Washington office’s own sworn submission of purpose. Under the terms of the Foreign Agent Registration Act, foreign agents must file with the Attorney General a “true and complete registration statement….” The registration statement of the Washington PLO office does not declare any intention to engage in fund-raising, Forster said.
EXAMPLES OF VIOLATIONS
In a letter to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, Forster cited three examples of PLO fundraising activities, one as recent as April 26. On that date, Hatim I. Husseini, acting director of the PLO office in Washington, made a fundraising speech at Oklahoma State University in behalf of the Palestinian cause. A box was passed around for contributions from the students in attendance.
Previously, Zehdi Labib Terzi, head of the PLO Observer Delegation to the UN, and Hasan Rahman, his deputy, engaged in fund-raising activities in New York. On one occasion, the two men raised funds for the PLO in the name of “Palestinian Red Crescent, “an official PLO organization, at a meeting held at the Armenian Orthodox Church in Manhattan.
Terzi and Rahman also participated in a PLO fund-raising function held in a meeting hall in Brooklyn, Forster reported. There, in addition to a $5 admission charge, the 200 attendees were also asked to contribute funds to the PLO. Terzi was one of the featured speakers at the meeting, along with Ambassador Abdal Raschal of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen; Charlene Mitchell, 1968 Vice Presidential candidate for the Communist Party; and Sheila Ryan of the Palestine Solidarity Committee. The meeting was called to celebrate the eighth anniversary of the Democratic Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a constituent group of the PLO.
PLO representatives are present in the United States on the basis of the UN General Assembly’s 1974 invitation to send observers to UN sessions in New York, Forster noted. Members of the PLO Observer Delegation are here under visas restricting their movement to the UN headquarters district and its immediate vicinity, a 25-mile radius from Columbus Circle. Individual members of the PLO delegation have on occasion received permission from the State Department to travel beyond the 25-mile limit on personal business, provided that they engaged in no political activity.
WORKMEN’S CIRCLE CALLS FOR PROBE
In a related development, William Stern, executive director of the Workmen’s Circle, sent a telegram to Vance urging him to conduct an investigation of Terzi’s status in view of his “exhortation attacking U.S. aid to Israel.” Stern said Terzi made the attack Sunday while addressing a counter-rally to Israel’s 30th anniversary celebration in New York and that his attack was carried live an NBC-TV which covered the counter-rally. Stern said he was asking Vance to determine whether Terzi’s involvement in U.S. internal affairs disqualify him as head of the PLO Observer Delegation at the UN.