NEW YORK- The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is appalled by Edgar Bronfmans statement implicitly justifying Palestinian Arab terrorism against Jewish residents of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, and is deeply disappointed by his subsequent vague and inadequate statement explaining his earlier comment.
Bronfman, the president of the World Jewish Congress, said: If the Palestinian suicide bombers only went to the settlements and told the whole world they were wrong, then the whole world would have had a case against Israel, and there would be a two-state solution by now. Instead, they sent them into Israel proper, which is ghastly. When asked if he meant that he considers terrorism against Jews in Judea-Samaria more acceptable than terrorism against Jews within Israels pre-1967 borders, Bronfman said: It would not have been more acceptable; it would have been smarter on their part. (Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Aug. 12, 2003)
In response, World Jewish Congress vice-president Isi Leibler said that Bronfmans remark was outrageous and obscene. Bronfman then issued a vague and inadequate statement that did not address the specific issue of whether he distinguishes between Jews being murdered in the territories and Jews being murdered within Israels pre-1967 borders.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein sent Bronfman a letter which states:
We are deeply disappointed by your vague explanation, in which you said you are sorry for any misunderstanding or pain that this affair may have caused, but did not clearly deny or retract your original statement.
In view of your stature in the international community and the gravity of your initial remarks, we urge you to issue a more explicit denial or retraction of your statement implying that while murdering Jews within the pre-1967 areas is ghastly, murdering Jews in Judea-Samaria-Gaza including the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalems Old City may not be quite as ghastly. The Jewish and non-Jewish public needs to hear from you that a Jewish life in Efrat is just as sacred and valued as a Jewish life in Tel Aviv or New York. The murder of a Jew in Hebron, Shechem, Beit El or Shilo is just as ghastly as the murder of a Jew in Tel Aviv.
Your initial remarks, if not clearly retracted, could well have the unintended effect of further encouraging the Palestinian Arabs to murder Jews in Judea, Samaria, and Gazaand since the Arabs regard all areas beyond the 1967 borders as settlements, they will include the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, the Hebrew University Mount Scopus campus, and the Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus as settlements that it would be smarter to attack.