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Fidler: Cancellation of Goldmann’s Address to Congress is a ‘tragedy’ Praises JTA Report on Goldmann

January 17, 1972
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The president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews expressed deep regret today over the cancellation by the World Zionist Organization Executive in Jerusalem of its invitation to Dr. Nahum Goldmann to address a special festive session of the World Zionist Congress opening there this week. Michael Fidler said it was “a tragedy” that the British press originally misquoted remarks by Dr. Goldmann on Soviet Jewry which he made before a public meeting of the Board of Deputies last Dec. 19 and which were picked up by the Israeli press.

This, he said, “had the most unfortunate result” in the revised decision of the Zionist Executive as to Dr. Goldmann’s participation in the forthcoming Zionist Congress.” He added, “We may not always agree with Dr. Goldmann, but on this issue we feel injustice has been done to him.” Fidler said that Dr. Goldmann’s statement about Soviet Jewry was actually a restate- ment of what “the voice of world Jewry” said at the Brussels conference last Feb.

Fidler said, “I pay tribute to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency which did report Dr. Goldmann correctly and did advise the Israeli press correctly.”

Fidler spoke at the monthly meeting of the Board of Deputies at which he announced that he would attend the 28th World Zionist Congress opening in Jerusalem Tuesday night as a guest. He disclosed a letter addressed to him by Joseph Godber, Minister of State at the Foreign Office, in reply to his own letter protesting Britain’s vote in favor of an Egyptian-inspired resolution in the United Nations General Assembly last month.

The resolution called on Israel to make an affirmative reply to the Feb. 8 memo of UN mediator Gunnar V. Jarring asking for an Israeli commitment to return to its old international boundaries with Egypt. Godber wrote that Britain had voted for the resolution “on the clear understanding that it in no way altered the balance of the Security Council Resolution 242 (of Nov. 22, 1967) which in our view remains the only basis for peace in the Middle East.” Godber wrote, “You will see from the text of the General Assembly resolution that there is in fact no mention of ‘the’ territories occupied. The language mirrors that of the Security Council resolution.”

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