NEW YORK (Dec. 27)
The 30th World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem which ended last week did not vote to condemn the settlement policies of Premier Menachem Begin’s government, contrary to “false and misleading press reports” to that effect, Ivan Novick, president of the Zionist Organization of America and a delegate to the Congress declared here.
Novick, chairman of the Congress’ Committee on Political Affairs, Information and External Relations, said the Congress ended with a “heartening display of Jewish unity” and the adoption of a series of resolutions affirming the “inalienable right of the Jewish people to Eretz Israel.” It also resolved that “no Arab state will be established west of the River Jordan.”
The dispute over Begin’s settlement policies arose when the Congress plenum approved a Labor Alignment resolution opposing continued settlement in the heavily Arab populated areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Congress Presidium refused to accept the vote and a “good will” committee, consisting of representatives at all political factions, was appointed to try to achieve a consensus. The resulting resolution conceded however that “The Zionist Congress could not reach a consensus on the settlement issue.”
SETTLEMENT FREEZE REJECTED
Novick acknowledged that “There was wall-to-wall agreement on every major political question except the issue of settlements.” But “Even on that issue, the Congress re-affirmed that ‘settlement constitutes a central expression of the Zionist idea,” he pointed out. He said the Congress subcommittee on political resolutions refused to consider a freeze or moratorium on settlements, “but this was ignored by the media.”
Novick said he returned from Jerusalem “encouraged and uplifted” by the consensus that emerged from the Congress and by “the commitment to achieve agreement that Zionist groups from extreme left to extreme right made manifest.” He noted that the nine resolutions presented to the Plenum were unanimously adopted by the 651 delegates.
“The World Zionist Congress demonstrated once again that diversity in the Zionist movement is not to be equated with disunity,” the ZOA president said. “Every delegate supported the resolution reading: ‘The Zionist movement and Jewish people support the State of Israel in its goal of achieving security and peace. The Jewish people will continue to identify with the Jewish State, which fulfills the yearnings of generations and the vision of national redemption.’”