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O’connor and Jewish Leaders to Meet

Seven or eight leaders of national and local Jewish organizations are scheduled to meet privately with John Cardinal O’Connor at his home Monday to discuss his Middle East trip and future relations between Catholics and Jews.

A spokesperson from the Cardinal’s office at the Archdiocese of New York, Joe Zwilling, said O’Connor decided to postpone a press briefing that had been scheduled for Friday morning at the request of Jewish leaders to meet with him privately before such a briefing.

Morris Abram, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, who will be one of the leaders meeting with O’Connor Monday, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency Thursday that he does not think any irreparable damage has been done to Catholic-Jewish relations and specifically to the New York Jewish community’s relations with the Cardinal as a result of a statement issued by 53 Jewish organizations last Saturday. The statement was highly critical of some statements made by O’Connor during his Mideast trip. Abram was one of the signatories.

INTEREST IN CONTINUING THE DIALOGUE

Jewish leaders are interested in continuing the dialogue with O’Connor and O’Connor seems to have similar interests, Abram said.

O’Connor was angered by last Saturday’s statement which expressed disquiet and distress over his statements that were seen as supportive of the Palestinians and a comment he made about the Holocaust during his visit to Israel.

After learning of the statement, which was issued hours before he returned to New York, O’Connor asked publicly for an apology and indicated that the criticism could affect his support for Jewish causes in the future.

Abram told the JTA that it was still not possible to say if the Jewish leaders had been mistaken in issuing so strong a statement. “We’ll have to await the course of events to have a post mortem,” he said.

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