UNITED NATIONS (Dec. 12)
The United States, Israel and dozens of co-sponsors introduced a motion in the General Assembly on Thursday to overturn its notorious Resolution 3379, which branded Zionism a form of racism.
A vote on the measure is expected Monday.
Jewish groups say that over 95 countries have agreed to vote for the resolution and that at least 65 of those will sign on as co-sponsors by the time of the vote.
Resolution 3379 was adopted Nov. 10, 1975, by a vote of 72-35, with 32 abstentions. Several of the nations that voted for the resolution are numbered among the co-sponsors of the repeal resolution.
“The removal of this stain is of moral importance,” said Yoram Aridor, Israel’s U.N. ambassador.
He expressed confidence that the repeal measure would go through, adding that work continues “around the clock” to enlarge the majority.
An Egyptian-led procedural move to thwart a vote remains possible but is not arousing much concern.
Likewise, the Jewish activists are playing down the danger of a possible Arab counterresolution that would brand Israel, rather than Zionism, as racist.
A campaign mounted by some 50 national Jewish organizations to secure support for the repeal has produced a last-minute rush of commitments, according to Shoshana Cardin, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which coordinated the lobbying drive.
Aridor praised the Jewish efforts, as well as those of the United States and other friendly countries.
“They really mobilized the world, over five continents, to support the repeal,” he said.
A MATTER OF TIMING
In Washington, Mohamed Kamel Amr, political affairs minister at the Egyptian Embassy, soft-pedaled his country’s opposition to the repeal during an address Thursday to the American Jewish Committee.
Amr said the argument was not over the justice of repealing the 1975 resolution but over the timing.
He said that the Islamic Conference, meeting this week in Senegal, tried to adopt a “very harsh resolution opposing the attempts of the United States to withdraw this resolution from the General Assembly. And Egypt was there working very hard” to “tone down any kind of resolution in this regard.”
“We believe that this resolution should be removed from the General Assembly,” but now is a bad time to do so, Amr said.
He equated Egypt’s timing problem with that of the Bush administration in delaying action on an Israeli request for U.S. guarantees covering $10 billion in loans it needs to help absorb immigrants. The administration feared a debate on the request would jeopardize the peace process while it was still in its infant stages.
“We understand that there is a difference between Zionism as a philosophy and ideology and what we see sometimes as unacceptable practices by a certain government,” Amr said, obviously referring to Israel.
But he added, “Try to explain this difference to a man in the street in the occupied territories whose house in East Jerusalem, in which he has lived for tens and tens of years, has been taken from him and has been given to Jewish settlers.
“Try to explain this to the masses of the people of the Arab world” who “see Palestinians being deported” while Soviet Jewish immigrants are moving in there, he said.
(JTA correspondent Howard Rosenberg in Washington contributed to this report.)