Ncc Board Assails Nazi Activities; Raps Israel for Using Cluster Bombs

A resolution denouncing Nazi activities in the United States was approved without dissent by the governing board of the National Council of Churches (NCC) meeting here last week. The action followed prolonged debate about whether to broaden the resolution so that it would condemn all forms of racism. The initiative to broaden the resolution came from Black and Orthodox delegates.

The governing board also adopted a resolution sharply critical of Israel’s “illegal use” of American-made cluster bombs during its invasion of south Lebanon last March. The resolution asserted that the U.S. “shares in the moral responsibility” for the “illegal” use of such weapons. It asked Israel to adhere to the provisions of the U.S.-Israel arms agreement “which specifies” that the cluster bomb must not be used “except in the event of full-scale war against well entrenched emplacements.”

The resolution dealing with Nazi activities expressed “concern about the recurring signs of Nazism evidenced in the recent demonstrations by the National Socialist White People’s Party in St. Louis and the Nazi planned march in Skokie.”

It added that “we repudiate and oppose any anti-Semitic teaching or action and, in particular, those Nazi activities in the U.S.A. which give support to prejudice, contempt or hatred directed against the Jews and which have their precedent in the tragic event of the Holocaust.” Churches were asked to “be altert to the implicit and explicit advocacy of Nazi ideology by various groups and persons in the U.S.A. and to resist that advocacy….”

RAPS RESOLUTION AS ONE-SIDED

Regarding the resolution criticizing Israel, Rabbi A. James Rudin, the assistant national director of the interreligious affairs department of the American Jewish Committee, who was an official observer at the board meeting, issued a statement terming the resolution unfair, imbalanced and anti-Israel.

Rudin said that by singling out Israel alone for condemnation, the governing board has engaged in an unconscionable act of selective moral outreach. He said the resolution totally omitted any reference to the March II Palestine Liberation Organization massacre of 35 civilians in Israel.

ISRAEL PLEDGES NOT TO USE CLUSTER BOMB

Meanwhile, the State Department confirmed that Israel has signed a secret agreement with the U.S. renewing a pledge that Israel will not use cluster bombs except under special wartime conditions. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance said last April that Israel “may have” violated a 1976 arms pact with the U.S. when it used the cluster bombs. He added that he would not recommend “any further action” against Israel to President Carter because of the Mideast diplomatic situation and Israel’s assurance that it intended to withdraw from south Lebanon.

It was reported that the latest agreement, in the form of an exchange of memoranda dated Apr. 10 and 11, has been sent to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House International Relations Committee but was reportedly classified and would not be publicized. The existence of the new agreement was made public by Rep. Paul McCloskey Jr. (R. Calif.), a longtime critic of the cluster bomb who had raised questions about its use in Lebanon by Israel.

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