A group of 39 prominent American Jews who had joined last month in advocating territorial compromise and in criticizing extremists in Israel released a statement today to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency denouncing last week’s United Nations Security Council resolution on Jerusalem and voicing “regret” that the United States did not cast a veto.
The statement was drafted and circulated by Leonard Fein of Boston, editor of the independent Jewish monthly, Moment, and signed by more than two-thirds of the 56 Jewish leaders whose public declaration on July 1 caused widespread controversy in the American Jewish community.
Signers of the statement included Theodore Mann and Rabbi Alexander Schindler, both former chairmen of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; Stephen Shalom, past president of the New York United Jewish Appeal-federation of Jewish Philanthropies drive; Theodore Bikel, senior vice president of the American Jewish Congress; Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg and Sam Norich, vice presidents of the World Jewish Congress; and Arden Shenker and Fanny Schaenen, philanthropic leaders.
The statement said, in part;
“We believe that the United Nations has no moral authority to speak to the Jerusalem question. In a complex and anguished world, the UN and its member agencies have repeatedly behaved as if the Middle East were the only area of international crisis warranting their attention. This distortion has prevented the UN and its agencies from responding appropriately to a variety of other and not less vexing matters. Further, the UN’s obsession with the Middle East has demonstrably failed to advance the course of peace even in that troubled region. Citizens of the United States, and of the world, are forced to conclude that the United Nations has been taken hostage by the PLO, to no good purpose.
“We regret that the United States did not, in its vote, have the courage of the convictions it expressed in the course of the debate.
“We find it ironic that those who have insisted upon Israel’s liquidation — upon the liquidation of a member state of the United Nations — and who have adopted international terrorism as their preferred method of behavior, should be treated with deference, while a member state which is governed by the rule of law is repeatedly vilified. Finally, we wish to make it absolutely clear that we regard Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish State. Its integrity as a united city is beyond debate. Questions of boundaries, access and the status of the holy places may be the subject of negotiation. The status of Jerusalem as a united city, and as Israel’s capital, is not.”
Among the others who signed the statement were: Rabbi Joshua Hoberman, Sylvia Hassenfeld, Lean Jick, Rabbi Wolfe Kelman, Ben Leuchter, Arthur Levine, Jacqueline Levine, Jacob Neusner, Rabbi David Polish and Albert Vorspan.
Fein, who had played a major role in preparing the earlier statement, said that many of the original 56 signers were on vacation and could not be reached. He said he circulated the new statement only among those who had associated themselves with the earlier declaration.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.