PARIS (Jul. 8)
The president of the World Jewish Congress, Edgar Bronfman, today dissociated himself and the WJC’s Executive from the statement issued here last week by Nahum Goldmann and Philip Klutznick, both past presidents of the WJC, and former French Premier Pierre Mendes-France calling upon Israel to lift its siege of Beirut and for mutual Israeli-Palestinian recognition.
Bronfman told the WJC Executive “I have no quarrel with their right to make such a statement but I personally would neither join them nor would I endorse their statement.” After a two-hour debate, described as “stormy”at times by some of the participants, the Executive dissociated it self as well from the joint statement, with no further comment.
Klutznick, who attended the Executive meeting, was attacked by Howard Squadron, a former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Greville Janner, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and Akiva Levinsky, treasurer of the Jewish Agency.
TERMS STATEMENT UNTIMELY
Bronfman noted that GoIdmann, Klutznick and Mendes-France “quite properly and clearly said they were speaking for themselves as private citizens and not for the World Jewish Congress.”
He said “my own view is that their statement was as untimely as it was newsworthy. With the Israeli army standing outside Beirut at the time and an intricate negotiation going on with the PLO, it seemed to me exactly to be the wrong time to propose recognition, thus possibly encouraging the PLO to toughen its bargaining position, and endangering even more lives.”
But, Bronfman added, “in long-range terms, this statement by our friends does represent a realistic recognition and underscoring of the fact that Israel and the Palestinians must ultimately not only recognize each other, but recognize their mutual state in peace and security.” This, he said, “can and should be done within the context of the Camp David accords, the only promising peace process.”