WASHINGTON (Feb. 21)
Delegates to the annual plenum of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council here narrowly defeated Tuesday an amendment expressing “deep concern” to Israel about the continuation of the status quo on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The amendment to NJCRAC’s statement on the Middle East peace process was offered by Theodore Mann, former president of the American Jewish Congress, who represented the organization at the four-day meeting.
The proposal was defeated by a 157-151 vote of the umbrella group, whose members include 11 national Jewish organizations and more than 100 local community relations councils.
Mann’s amendment would have had NJCRAC “express to the Israeli leadership and to the Israeli people our unalterable commitment to their security, as well as our continuing deep concern over the profound consequences of a continuation of the status quo in the territories.”
Mann, a former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said he was given assurances the amendment would be considered by NJCRAC’s Israel Task Force later this year.
However, the proposition as adopted by NJCRAC pledges the organization to interpret to the general community Israel’s complex challenges to restore order in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
NJCRAC will also continue to monitor the impact of the extended violence in the territories on the Jewish community and U.S. public opinion, and will seek appropriate ways of communicating these findings to Israeli leaders.
The administration is urged to push for more constructive Soviet policies in the Middle East, including the restoration of full diplomatic relations with Israel.
NJCRAC will monitor and publicize the actions and statements of the Palestine Liberation Organization that bear upon the PLO’s professed renunciation of terrorism and recognition of Israel’s right to exist.
The administration is urged to continually examine the efficacy of the dialogue the United States has begun with the PLO.
The statement calls on the administration to urge the PLO to abrogate sections of the Palestine National Covenant calling for Israel’s destruction and to contribute to the ending of the uprising in the territories.