Senate Urges U.S. to Prevent Women’s Conference in Copenhagen from Becoming Anti-israeli Forum

The Senate has called on the Carter Administration to press hard to obtain support from other governments to join in the United States effort to prevent the United Nations Conference on Women in Copenhagen July 14-30 from becoming a forum for anti-Israel sentiment.

Reflecting widespread feeling among American women who discussed the subject at the State Department in mid-June, the Senate Thursday night accepted a resolution denouncing the scheduling of debate on Palestinian women as an “unfortunate intrusion of political issue into a conference devoted directly to questions of health, education and employment for women throughout the world.”

“The U.S. delegation to the conference should be instructed to oppose any resolutions or amendments introduced at the Copenhagen Conference on issues which do not relate directly to the goals of the conference, such as the separate issue of Palestinian women, and should actively work with other delegations to ensure that they voice similar opposition,” the Senate declared.

The Senate resolution was authored by Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R. NY), ranking minority member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and cosponsored by 17 other Democratic and Republican Senators. On June 10, Javits and Foreign Relations Committee chairman Frank Church (D. Idaho) warned Secretary of State Edmund Muskie of a “blatant attempt to politicize the conference” and urged Muskie “to instruct the U.S. delegation to the conference to firmly oppose and contain any initiative relating to this issue.”

At the recent Washington conference for women at the State Department, in preparation for Copenhagen, virtually all speakers among the 350 attending spoke out sharply against what was generally described as a Soviet-Arab effort to use Palestinian women as a means to extend their propaganda campaign against Israel’s national character and Zionism.

MEXICO CONFERENCE ATTACKED ZIONISM

At the first conference for woman in Mexico City five years ago, the Soviet-Arab bloc and its allies succeeded in adoption of a resolution linking Zionism with racism and apartheid. For the Copenhagen Conference, the same forces have placed on the agenda as a major item “effects of Israeli occupation on Palestinian women inside and outside the occupied territories.”

The 66-page UN document was developed by the Economic Commission for Western Asia, a section of the UN Economic and Social Council, which includes the PLO, and from which Israel has been excluded. The document, which is replete with attacks on Zionism and Israel, refers to Israel as “the Zionist entity.”

An official U.S. statement circulated at the Washington meeting said the ECWA document was slipped into a provisional list of items at the UN preparatory meeting in New York last April. “Many delegations were unaware of its existence,” the statement said. “The Western Europeans and others objected to its inclusion” in the agenda, “but the PLO, bloc countries, Egypt, Pakistan, Cuba and Senegal, were successful in getting the chair” to rule in their favor despite doubt expressed over its legal status. The statement was signed by Koryne E. Herbal, chairman of the U.S. delegation in New York, and Barbara J. Good, alternate representative.

Scoring the “arbitrary” action at the UN and the “narrow” character of the UN resolution, Richard McCall Jr., Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, said at the Washington meeting he would “hate to see the Copenhagen Conference break down on this issue.” He assured that the U.S. would oppose the UN item at Copenhagen.

BULLETIN: The body of eight-year-old Oron Yarden, who was kidnapped on June 8, was found in Netanya late Monday night.

NEXT STORY