A report on Israel-diaspora relations and related economic and social matters, submitted to the World Jewish Congress sixth plenary assembly here last month, was sharply criticized by the World Zionist Organization Executive which accused the authors of flippancy toward Zionism.
The 119-poge report was issued by the WJC’s 33-member international Economic and Social Commission chaired by Baron Guy de Rothschild of Paris. The committee comprises prominent financiers, industrialists and civic leaders representing both Israel and major Jewish communities abroad. “The Zionist Executive is confident that the World Jewish Congress will not endorse this paper and the Executive will object to any proposals to do so,” the WZO statement released here said.
The report contained several points that aroused controversy here. It endorsed the right of diaspora Jews to criticize policies of any Israeli government; rejected the Zionist tenet that diaspora Jews live in exile; expressed the view that aliya from Western countries will not increase substantially in the future; and asserted that Jews who choose not to settle in Israel should not feel guilty or be made to feel guilty.
“We point out that some of the conclusions in the report of this committee do not represent the position of the Zionist Executive, nor, as stated by its (WJC) president Edgar Bronfman, does the report represent the position of the WJC and its conclusions are not binding,” the WZO statement said. It expressed “regret” that “the committee, and especially the several Israeli financiers and industrialists permitted them-selves to pass judgement on Zionism so flippantly.”
It observed that the report, “although interesting, carries no more weight than that of other Israelis and Jews at large. It is a pity that these opinions were presented in the form of a report whose importance was exaggerated by the fact that it was presented under the auspices of the WJC… It is regretable that the difficult times that Israel is experiencing at the moment lead Israelis to yearn for the mirage of galut, “the WZO executive said. “This rashly made attempt to negate classical Zionism in no way helps deal effectively with the recent problems of Jewish existence.”
The report was not formally presented to the WJC assembly nor endorsed by resolution. Bronfman stated, in his preface to the report: “Its independent conclusions and recommendations are naturally those of the Commission alone — the World Jewish Congress is neither responsible for nor committed to accept or support any of them.”
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