NEW YORK (Sep. 25)
The fruits of glasnost and the failed August coup in Moscow were felt here and in Jerusalem as the Soviet Union, once a foremost foe of Israel at the United Nations, this week backed President Bush’s call to rescind the 1975 General Assembly resolution branding Zionism a form of racism.
In a speech Tuesday, Boris Pankin, the new Soviet foreign minister, called on the United Nations to “once and for all leave behind the legacy of the ice age, like the obnoxious resolution equating Zionism to racism.”
Jewish leaders here hailed the call, which was also made a day before by President Bush.
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations “welcomes the Soviet minister’s statement,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, the umbrella group’s executive director.
“As the initial author of the resolution, the Soviet Union’s repudiation should be a major spur to the effort for its rejection by the entire United Nations,” he said.
In welcoming Pankin’s statement, Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress, said the Soviet foreign minister “used the same kind of language that Ambassador (Yuli) Voronstov conveyed to us, that the resolution should be relegated to the dustbin of history.”
Steinberg said Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk had made a similar statement to WJC leaders and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel during their meeting earlier this month in Kiev. The Ukraine has its own seat in the General Assembly.