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ZOA Charges Hadassah with ‘smear’ Campaign in Zionist Congress Election

December 22, 1971
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Zionist Organization of America charged today that an attack upon it last week by Hadassah was “unworthy and utterly baseless” and “part of a smear campaign” against the ZOA. Herman L. Weisman, ZOA president, stated that “it is the unprincipled conduct of Hadassah, not its exposure, which impairs the Zionist cause.”

Mrs., Faye L. Schenk, Hadassah president, had accused the ZOA of distributing misleading campaign literature in the election race for American delegates to the 28th World Zionist Congress and declared that “the ZOA’s tactics are destructive to the Zionist movement.”

In his defense of the ZOA’s campaign activities, Weisman declared that “Hadassah’s last minute accusations, at a time when registered Zionists are receiving their ballots…betray a grave apprehension by Mrs. Schenk that intelligent members of Hadassah will not blindly cast their ballots in automatic obedience to her directives.”

The ZOA leader stated that the ZOA appealed to the Zionist Congress Tribunal “on moral grounds and on Zionist principles,” against the election method sponsored by Hadassah “because it was illegally adopted through a secret inter-party agreement of Hadassah, Labor Zionists and Mizrachi.” It is “a matter of record that the Congress Tribunal, in its judgment, threw out that inter-party agreement as void.” Following that ruling, the Tribunal asked that the various American Zionist parties refrain from making further public accusations which might harm the entire Zionist movement. Hadassah charges that the ZOA “has broken this injunction.”


Weisman stated that “Mrs. Schenk voices a ridiculous complaint against the ZOA for bringing the election issues before the public. She seemingly wants an election without an election campaign. To conduct an election without ‘telling it like it is’ to the electorate is a farce,” the ZOA leader said. He asserted that “Hadassah officials now seek political capital under the slogan ‘we are non-political.’ Indeed, the fact is that Hadassah officials are up to their necks in Zionist polities both here and abroad.”

He said that “When Hadassah officials boast that their grouping is ‘composed of diaspora Zionists only,’ they are admitting to a dangerous isolationism which, if unchecked, will drive a wedge between Israelis and world Jewry.” According to Weisman, “The claim of non-involvement by Hadassah officials is a disservice to their members, reflecting an innate fear that the sharing of Zionist endeavors with Israeli Zionists may affect the security of their status as Americans.”

This is a “familiar but outmoded concoction of non-Zionist apprehensions and anti-Zionist propaganda,” he said. Weisman added that his comments are directed to “Hadassah officials in New York–not to individual members of Hadassah who, by and large, on a year-round basis, function around the country in splendid harmony and cooperation with the ZOA.”

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