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Background Report Israel Wants U.S. Jews to Support Its Policies in Latin America, Africa

February 29, 1984
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Israeli government wants the American Jewish community to understand and support its policies in Africa and Latin America.

This was made clear during the recent four-day visit to Jerusalem by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. While much of the information was given in private background briefings, some of its was allowed to emerge publicly.

President Chaim Herzog, in welcoming the more than 70 men and women who participated in the visit to the President’s mansion, gave a tour de horizon of Israel’s problems. But when he tailed about his recent visit to Zaire and Liberia he became exuberant.


Herzog described the thousands of people who lined the road from the airport in Zaire, waving Israeli flags and singing Hebrew songs. He talked about the warm meetings he had with the officials of the two countries. He said the leaders of the two countries “went out of their way” to express their admiration not only for Israel ‘that the entire Jewish people.”

Herzog said he was especially moved in Zaire by his meeting with the 80 members of the Jewish community in Lumumbashi, formerly Elizabethtown, in Katanga. A special ceremony was held for him in the town’s synagogue.

Herzog told the visiting American Jews that the American Jewish community should “find ways of expressing its appreciation of the way the President of Israel was received” in the two countries. He did nor explain what form this appreciation should take.

But it is an open secret in Washington that Israel has urged U.S. aid for Zaire and Liberia. Opposition has been particularly strong in the House Foreign Affair’s Subcommittee on Africa, headed by Rep. Howard Wolpe p. Mich.)a Jew. A Jewish representative here noted that Congress has been reluctant to provide aid to the two regimes which many consider corrupt and authoritarian.


Moshe Gilboa, director of the Foreign Ministry’s World Jewish Affairs Division, who discussed the briefings with visiting Jewish reporters, said the Herzog trip to Africa had a good effect on other Black African countries. Israel hopes that other African countries will restore diplomatic relations with Israel as did Zaire and Liberia.

Gilboa noted that reports on Herzog’s visit were carried throughout Africa. He said Herzog made it clear that Israel opposes South Africa’s practice of apartheid. He said that while Israel exports goods to South Africa its trade is less than that of the United States, West European countries and even many Afrian countries.


Latin America is another place where Jewish Congressmen, and many non-Jewish Congressmen and Senators who are staunch supporters of Israel, have been among the chief critics of the Reagan Administration’s policies.

Gilboa noted that many Latin American countries have been traditional supporters of Israel. While not expressing any opinion about the Reagan Administration’s policies, he pointed out that the countries that are “hostile” to the U.S. — Cuba, Nicaragua and Guyana ~ are also anti-Israel and support the Palestine Liberation Organization. As for arms, Gilboa stressed that Israel arms exports are far less than are sent to Latin America by the U.S. and West European countries. “Israel does not send arms to a Latin American country where there is a civil war,” Gilboa maintained. “But Israel does send arms where all Western countries do. “

Morton Silberman, president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), died here last night of a heart attack. He was 60.

Silberman served as vice president of AIPAC from 1979-81 and was elected president in May, 1982. He was long involved in Jewish communal affairs,, serving . from 1970-76 as vice president of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, general chairman of the Combined Jewish Appeal-Israel Emergency Fund Campaign in 1974 and from 1976-78 as president of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation.

He was founding chairman of the Federation’s Community Relations Committee and also served as chairman of its planning and budget committee. He was founding president of the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach, a member of the Board of Directors of the Council of Jewish Federations (CJF) and regional chairman of the United Jewish Appeal. He was a recipient of the American Jewish Committee’s Human Relations Award.

Silberman was born in Brooklyn, attended the University of Pennsylvania and served for three years in the U.S. Army. A businessman, he was president of the East Coast Supply Corp.

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