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Jewish Women’s Groups in Effort to Prevent UN Women’s Confab in Nairobi from Becoming Politicized

Leaders of 12 major Jewish women’s organizations have launched an effort to see to it that the United Nations End Decade Conference on Women, slated to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1985 is not taken over by disruptive elements who would make it a forum for airing Middle East disputes.

Beverly Minkoff, president of the Leadership Conference of National Jewish Women’s Organizations under whose umbrella a preliminary planning meeting was held here several days ago, reported that the group met with officials from the White House, the State Department and Congress to discuss the role of the United States in de-politicizing the upcoming UN conference and keeping it geared to improving the situation of women throughout the world.

Nancy Reynolds, special assistant to President Reagan, told the Jewish women leaders that at a recent UN meeting in Vienna the U.S. delegation succeeded in retaining equality, development and peace as themes for the End Decade conference and freeing the agenda from politicized items.

WARNS OF CONTINUING ATTEMPTS

She acknowledged, however, that attempts will continue to be made by the Russians, Palestinians and others to reintroduce political items into the agenda. At two previous gatherings — the first UN conference on women in Mexico City in 1975 and the mid-decade conference on women in Copenhagen in 1980 — repeated resolutions were introduced equating Zionism with racism. Those resolutions were based on the one that was approved by the UN General Assembly in 1975.

Rep. Barbara Mikulski (D. Md.), a member of the Congressional Women’s Caucus, told the Jewish women’s delegation on their visit to Capitol Hill that the problem in dealing with the UN Conference on Women is that it is a microcosm of the battles that are going on in the UN. She suggested that it is important to see to it that the delegates who are selected “are not naive.”

Dorothy Binstock, president of B’nai B’rith Women, which hosted the planning meeting, expressed gratification at the united effort, pointing out that “when we act together representing more than 1,240,000 Jewish women we evoke genuine interest in our concerns.”

The organizations that took part were Women’s American ORT, B’nai B’rith Women, American Jewish Congress, American Mizrachi Women, Emunah, Hadassah, National Council of Jewish Women, National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, National Ladies Auxiliary of Jewish War Veterans, Pioneer Women/Na-amat, and Women’s League for Conservative Judaism.

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