WASHINGTON (Jul. 23)
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations today endorsed a one-year extension of most-favored-nation (MFN) trade status for Rumania, although one Jewish leader noted that Jewish emigration so far this year has been disappointing.
The Presidents Conference has had assurances from Rumanian officials that the number of Jews emigrating for Israel this year will exceed last year’s total. But during the first six months of 1985, only 543 Jews left, according to Jack Spitzer, honorary president of B’nai B’rith International.
Spitzer, testifying before the Senate International Trade Subcommittee, called this a disappointment. Nevertheless, “we strongly believe that Rumania’s MFN status is important to preserve,” he said. He explained that MFN “provides a significant framework for discussing emigration and for dealing with specific cases.”
The Rumanian government, Spitzer added, has been “especially responsive” to specific cases and MFN “is leverage that we would not have” if it were terminated.
Spitzer also praised Rumania’s independent foreign policy. It is the only Soviet bloc country to have formal diplomatic and commercial ties with Israel.