COPENHAGEN (Jul. 31)
The world conference of the United Nations Decade for Women ended here today with an overwhelming 94-4 vote for a 186 point “plan of action” which included a paragraph that listed Zionism as one of the world’s main evils, along with colonialism and apartheid. There were 22 abstentions, mostly by Western European countries.
The United States, Canada, Israel and Australia voted against the document because of the anti-Zionist statement. Sarah Weddington, head of the U.S. delegation, declared after the vote that “the conference was subverted from focussing on women’s real issues by the political polemics of the Middle East crisis.”
A DEFEAT FOR THE U.S.
The outcome represented a defeat for the U.S. which had tried from the outset of the three week conference to prevent its politicization by fighting against the injection of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The final document also contained the proviso that all UN funds for Palestinian women refugees be channeled through the Palestine Liberation Organization , a singular victory for the PLO.
The paragraph, which in effect declared Zionism to be racist and colonialist, was submitted by Cuba when the conference opened as an amendment to the “plan of action.” The anti-Israel mood of the gathering was further manifested by its extension of official recognition to the PLO delegation, headed by airline hijacker Leila Khaled. The PLO previously had only observer status.
The conference, attended by 1200 delegates representing 136 of the 152 member states of the UN, was heavily weighted in favor of the Arabs because of the preponderance of Moslem, Third World, non-aligned and Soviet-bloc nations. Each country had a single vote.
Nevertheless, the U.S. appealed to the conference to show a spirit of moderation and compromise when discussing resolutions, amendments and political proposals. Ms. Weddington made it clear that the U.S. had in mind the Cuban amendment.
U.S. CONGRESS URGED TO ACT
(In Washington, B’nai B’rith international today called on Congress to block U.S. appropriation to any UN agencies that fund operations of the PLO.
(In letters to Sen. Daniel Moynihan and Rep. Lester Wolff, both New York Democrats and authors of the amendment which bars the U.S. from providing funds to the UN for two PLO dominated operations, the special unit on Palestinians and the Committee for the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinians, Jack Spitzer, president of B’nai B’rith , said, “It is clear that the cancer of hate spread by radical Arabs and Communists has invaded every session” of the women’s conference. He praised the American delegation for opposing the resolution and said “the U.S. must continue the fight for women’s rights worldwide.”)