JFNA rabbis talk Israel with U.N. envoys


WASHINGTON (JTA) — A cadre of 60 rabbis from the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federations of North America discussed Israel’s treatment at the United Nations with delegations from 12 countries.

The Cabinet’s annual meeting, which took place last week in New York, included talks with U.N. representatives from Canada, Poland, Bulgaria and Hungary, among others.

The meetings touched on topics pertaining to Israel, the peace process and Iran.

Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, the chairman of the Cabinet and the rabbi of Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Potomac. Md., told supporters in an email that the ambassadors with whom the delegation met “were extremely receptive and interested in hearing from American rabbis” on those key issues.

“Our goal was to express our dissatisfaction with the poor and unjust treatment of Israel at the United Nations,” Weinblatt said in a statement. “We sought to highlight the unique way in which Israel is treated, resulting in the inexcusable ignoring of serious problems and egregious human rights violations elsewhere. No other nation is singled out in the way that Israel is.”

He said the nations selected for meetings included Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and the Vatican.

“We met with representatives of nations primarily in the Eastern European bloc because they have often voted neutral or abstained on resolutions pertaining to Israel, and they appear to be interested in improving their relations with Israel,” Weinblatt said. “If a significant number of countries who abstain on votes against Israel would change their votes, many of the resolutions singling out Israel would not pass.”

Richard Schifter, who in the Reagan administration was the U.S. envoy to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, advised the JFNA Rabbinical Cabinet, which was also briefed by officials of the American Jewish Committee and B’nai B’rith International.

In addition, the group was addressed by Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, and Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

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