Presidents Conference Calls for U.S. Withdrawal from W.h.o. if It Moves to Expel Israel

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations has called on President Carter to withdraw the United States from the World Health Organization if the WHO, which opened its meetings May 7 in Geneva, adopts an Iraqi proposal to suspend Israel.

Withdrawal by the United States from a world organ “whose non-political character has been fundamentally abridged is indispensible to maintain the integrity of the United Nations’ specialized agencies and to safeguard the peace process itself,” said Theodore R. Mann, chairman of the Presidents Conference, and Jack J. Spitzer, chairman of its UN task force. “We are convinced that you will pursue this objective,” the letter to the White House stated.

Charging that the Iraqi proposal jeopardized “the very integrity of a United Nations specialized agency upon whose non-political character rests the health conditions of millions throughout the world,” the Presidents Conference stated: “Beyond the question of the WHO Itself is the Integrity of the entire UN system. If the initiative of transforming a segment of the world organization into a Middle East battleground succeeds then no part of the system will be immune.”

The Presidents Conference letter to Carter accused “the intransigent state of the (Arab) rejectionist front” of seeking to suspend Israel’s membership in the WHO as part of “a massive effort to subvert the peace process…. The rejectionist states also hope to set in motion powerful currents of resistance to the Egyptian-Israel peace agreement and thereby to challenge your great personal achievement.”

The letter added that “we are certain that the United States will vigorously and determinately resist the politicizing drive within the WHO. In this connection, we welcome the warning extended by Ambassador William van den Heuvel at the Assembly of the WHO on May 9 on the dangerous implications of the anti-Israel suspension initiative.”

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