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Head of U.n.a. Says His Group Favors the U.S. Upholding Its Rejection of Copenhagen Program

The head of the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA) said that a meeting of his organization’s chapter in New York on Oct. 28 recommended that the United States uphold its rejection of the “Program of Action” adopted at the world conference of the United Nations Decade for Women in Copenhagen this summer.

Robert Ratner, president of the UNA, made this known in a letter to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency following a JTA report on Oct. 25 that a campaign was being mounted through regional meetings where the Copenhagen vote is being discussed by local UNA chapters and by various women’s groups to have the U.S. reverse its rejection at an upcoming session of the UN General Assembly. The Program, presently in a UN committee, is not valid until it is adopted by the Assembly.

Despite the many positive aspects of the Program, the U.S. along with Canada, Australia and Israel voted against it in Copenhagen for its equation of Zionism with racism and its legitimization of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Program calls for the eradication of the “evils” of Zionism, racism, imperialism and neo-colonialism, and for economic assistance to Palestinian women inside and outside territories occupied by Israel in cooperation and consultation with the PLO.

According to Ratner, participants in the meeting in New York declared that “the U.S. government should stick to its ‘no’ vote on the Copenhagen Program of Action when it comes before the General Assembly.” He also noted that a subsequent meeting in New Haven by the local UNA chapter “did not pressure for a reversal on the U.S. position. The event was a series of seminars on women’s issues, and none of them dealt, either directly or indirectly with Middle East issues.”

Ratner added that at a meeting on the West Coast, which he said was sponsored by the Global Community Network at which UNA representatives from local chapters were present, the participants “did not in any way suggest that the U.S. reverse its position on the PLO. They recommended that the U.S. vote in the General Assembly for the Program of Action but with a formal disapproval of the clauses concerned with Palestinian rights.”

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