NEW YORK (May. 19)
The National Observer, an influential weekly newspaper widely read by American businessmen carried an article today accusing Zionists of using tax exempt Jewish organizations like B’nai B’rith as “fronts” for political activities in violation of the foreign agents registration act and Israeli treaty obligations. The writer, Lawrence Mosher, charged that Zionist activities in this country contravened a 1954 U.S.-Israel treaty which denies Israel the right to engage in political activity in this country. In support of his charges, he cited testimony by Saul Jofte, a former executive of B’nai B’rith, in a long standing court case. Jofte, until 1967 the secretary general of B’nai B’rith’s International Council, was fired after 22 years’ service. He is currently suing the organization’s executive vice president, Rabbi Jay Kaufman, for libel.
It was Jofte who contended that Zionists were using B’nai B’rith as a “front” in violation of Federal law and of the organization’s own constitution. The National Observer article referred to documents filed with the Federal District Court in Washington in the Jofte case which reveal that Mrs. Avis Shul-man, described as the wife of a prominent rabbi, used B’nai B’rith to gather information for Israel about the Soviet Union and Soviet Jews. Another document claims that B’nai B’rith was used as a conduit for funds to set up an India-Israel Friendship League. Mr. Mosher expressed hope that the Jofte case would shed light on the Zionist role in the U.S. which, he said, “worries” American policy-makers. The problem is not Israel’s survival but the conditions under which Israel chooses to exist, Mr. Mosher wrote.