NEW YORK (Jun. 4)
United Nations Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar met separately with the leadership of two major Jewish organizations over the weekend to hear expressions of grave concern over the rising incidence of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel attacks during the deliberations of the world organization.
A delegation of the American Jewish Committee, headed by its president, Howard Friedman of Los Angeles, was received by de Cuellar at his office Friday. The Secretary General also had a private luncheon with Edgar Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress and other senior WJC officials.
Both meetings took place on the eve of de Cuellar’s departure Sunday on his first visit to the Middle East since taking office. He will visit Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Israel.
According to a WJC participant, their three hour discussion dealt with general international problems, especially the Middle East and East-West relations and specific concerns relating to the WJC’s role at the UN where it holds consultative status as a non-governmental organization.
BRONFMAN EXPRESSES OUTRAGE AND CONCERN
Bronfman expressed a deep sense of outrage and concern felt by the WJC at the use of unambiguous anti-Semitic language on the part of certain representatives during UN debates. The Secretary General said that his office categorically dissociates itself from such developments and promised that he would personally and publicly make clear his determination to act against the use of any form of racist or anti-Semitic language within the UN, the WJC participant reported.
Bronfman stressed that the Jewish people had been and remain the firmest supporters of the principles and purposes of the UN Charter and are deeply troubled by recent developments which undermine the Charter, such as efforts to isolate and exclude Israel from UN bodies. The Secretary General affirmed his support of the principle of universality of membership in the UN and pledged to fight for its continuance.
ANTI-JEWISH INCITEMENT OUTLINED
The AJCommittee leaders presented the Secretary General with two memoranda dealing with Jewish attitudes toward the UN and its international agencies. One of them, prepared by Sidney Liskofsky, an expert on the UN and human rights, detailed the long history of the AJCommittee’s involvement in the promotion of human rights, dating from the 1912 London Peace Conference and the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, through the formulation of an international bill of rights that was included in the UN Charter adopted at the founding conference of the UN in San Francisco in 1945.
The second document, by Allan Kagedan, an AJCommittee research analyst in international relations, outlined “Anti-Jewish Incitement at the UN” which has led to “disillusionment… widely shared not only among Jews but by the American people at large” and by “the people of the democraic nations generally.”
Kagedan cited specifically outbursts at the 1983 General Assembly by the representatives of Libya, Iraq, Syria and Belorussia against Jews that were reminiscent of “the themes and rhetoric of the Nazi era.” The AJCommittee leaders told the Secretary General that “As troubling as the incitement itself is the failure of virtually the entire membership — all but Israel and the U.S. — to speak out in condemnation of the Hitlerian obscenities uttered in the hallowed chambers of the world organization.”