COPENHAGEN (Jul. 16)
The United States today appealed to the world conference of the United Nations Decade for Women to show a spirit of moderation and compromise when discussing resolutions, amendments and political proposals.
The co-chairperson of the American delegation, Sarah Weddington, made no mention of the issues to which she referred but it was clear that she was appealing for moderation in what has become the conference’s main political issue, the proposal by the non-aligned nations to brand Zionism as one of the major evils of the world. The American delegate, who was speaking in the plenary session, made no direct reference to the Palestinian issue but spoke about the plight of refugees in many parts of the world.
The United States delegation is still actively trying to moderate the tone of the resolution submitted yesterday by India on behalf of the 77 non-aligned and which is due to come before the steering committee tomorrow. The amendment, which calls for providing international aid to be channeled through the Palestine Liberation Organization, was due to come up in one of the two sub-commissions but Western delegations have appealed for time in the hope of obtaining the watering down of the resolutions and amendments.
ATMOSPHERE HEAVILY ANTI-ISRAEL
The politicization of the conference, and the parallel meeting of the open forum held at Copenhagen University, is daily increasing. At the forum, which is attended by semi-private organizations and individuals, the atmosphere is heavily anti-Israel. At a session organized by a Danish medical branch of Amnesty International, two alleged victims of Israeli repression were brought to testify about Israeli brutality and torture.
When the Israeli delegates present tried to intervene and to question the witnesses they were shouted down. This sort of process repeats itself several times a day and many of the representatives of the American Jewish women’s organizations are permanently attending the sessions at the forum to try and set the record right.
The general sentiment of the American Jewish women present in Copenhagen is one of deep regret. As B’nai B’rith International representative Betty Shapiro told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “We came here to try and work in closer coordination with other women’s organizations throughout the world. The conference’s politicization and the passions being fanned will make this increasingly difficult.”