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Controversial Issues Before Zionist Congress: Jdl, Black Panthers, Wujs

January 19, 1972
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Controversial issues which could lead to bitter conflicts at the 28th World Zionist Congress surfaced here as nearly 1,000 delegates, observers and guests from all over the world prepared for the conclave opening here this evening. One immediate problem was the possibility of attempts by dissident groups to disrupt the Congress proceedings unless they are granted speaking rights. Rabbi Meir Kahane chairman of the Jewish Defense League, said he intended to address the Congress with or without permission.

Louis Pincus, chairman of the World Zionist Organization Executive said yesterday at a press conference here that he would not permit Rabbi Kahane to ride roughshod over Congress rules. Pincus also said that the Congress was prepared to deal with any outbreak of disorder precipitated by the JDL or the Black Panthers. The latter group has demanded an appearance before the Congress and hinted that it would disrupt the proceedings if rejected.

Pincus said the JDL in America had been given ample opportunity to adhere to the correct procedure by joining the American Zionist Federation, electing delegates and attending the Congress. He said that he had suggested to the Black Panthers, who claim to represent Israel’s poor and slum-dwellers, that they submit written statements to the Congress’ committee on social problems. He said the Panthers have not yet replied.


Rabbi Kahane, it was feared, might try to force his presence on the Congress as he did at the World Conference on Soviet Jewry in Brussels last Feb. Zionist leaders are anxious to avoid a similar episode at the Congress.

Another issue which will probably be fought behind the scenes but could explode on the Congress floor is the move by the World Zionist Organization to cut in half its annual subsidy of $55,000 to the World Union of Jewish Students. The WUJS incurred the wrath of the WZO when it refused to sign the Jerusalem Program which states the four main tenets of the Zionist movement. Instead, it adopted its own program at a meeting at Arad in 1970 which laid greater stress on aliya and called for recognition of the right of the Palestinian people as a tenet of Zionism. It was the last point that raised a furor at the time which the Zionist leadership has apparently not yet forgiven.

Although only signers of the Jerusalem Program were entitled to vote for Congress delegates, five WUJS leaders will participate in the Congress. Four of them were elected members of the Zionist General Council (Actions Committee) at the last Congress in 1968 and thus have the right to participated. WUJS chairman Eddie Rauch was invited as an observer. These five will be pressing behind the scenes to prevent a reduction in their subsidy, The cuts would force the WUJS to curtail its work on college campuses. In addition to WZO funds. WUJS receives about $120,000 annually from other sources but this is earmarked for specific projects according to Rauch.

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