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Sternstein, Klutznick Say Conference of Presidents No Longer Effective; Urge Its Replacement by a Ne

October 7, 1975
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations was sharply criticized by Dr. Joseph P. Sternstein and Philip M. Klutznick during the final business session of the Zionist Organization of Americas 78th annual national convention here last night. Rabbi Sternstein, the ZOA president re-elected to a second term, concurred with Klutznick’s charge that the Presidents Conference, which Klutznick helped found, was no longer effective.

Klutznick, chairman of the governing board of the World Jewish Congress, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and one of the first chairmen of the Presidents Conference, said it should be replaced by a new group that was “more reflective of the mood and sense of American Jews.” He told the 1500 convention delegates that what was needed was “an independent American Jewish voice not constrained by the Israel government, as is the case now with the Presidents Conference.”

Sternstein charged later in the session that the Presidents Conference had failed recently to rally American Jews against U.S. moves that forced Israel to accept what he termed “the one-sided and discriminatory” interim agreements with Egypt in Sinai. He pledged that the ZOA would not be “guided by counsels of timidity or the silence of other organizations in coping with the emergencies or crises affecting the economic viability or political and military security of the State of Israel.”


(Reacting to Sternstein’s and Klutznick’s statements Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told the JTA in New York today that “the real issue at stake is the question of who determines the foreign policy of the sovereign State of Israel and the security of her people. I believe that responsibility for the crucial decisions on territories, borders, and relations with the surrounding Arab states rightfully belongs to the democratically elected representatives of the citizens of Israel, who live in the land and send their sons and daughters to defend it. Mr. Klutznick and Rabbi Sternstein are, of course, entitled to think otherwise, but I do not believe their opinion is reflected in the mood and sense of American Jewry today,”)


The ZOA convention adopted a series of strong resolutions, some of them aimed at the U.S. government, Claiming that the Sinai accord was “imposed” on Israel by the U.S. to Israel’s detriment, the convention demanded assurances that American military assistance would “be forthcoming without delay” if Egypt violated the accord; that there are “no private or secret arrangements” in the accord that would “in any way be harmful to Israel’s future”; and that Israel’s requirements for immediate economic and military assistance “no longer be delayed.”

The delegates denounced the idea of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, claiming that such a state has “no valid claim in fact or history” and that those territories “are integral parts of the land and State of Israel.”

The delegates called for a Zionist voice along side the Israel government’s “in international conclaves where the question of the future of the land of Israel will be debated, negotiated and decided.” The resolution noted in that connection that “the Arab states have made the question of Israel a matter for all the Arab nations and are seeking the representation of non-governmental Arab bodies in conferences focussing on the Arab-Israeli conflict.”


Other resolutions adopted urged Congress to strengthen measures to counter the Arab boycott of American firms doing business with Israel; called on the Administration and Congress to initiate programs to make the U.S. self-sufficient in energy sources; warned that the Soviet Union was violating the spirit of detente “by supporting Arab terrorist groups and totalitarian regimes in Arab countries” while continuing “to violate the humanitarian principles of freedom of expression and unhindered emigration in the USSR; and charged the UN with “legitimizing Arab terror against Israel” and the U.S. with “failure to proceed with determination against countries which support and give shelter to terrorists.”

In a final resolution, the ZOA delegates stated their support of Leon Dulzin for the chairmanship of the World Zionist Organization and Jewish Agency Executives.

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