New York (May. 3)
The grave political and economic problems confronting the Jews in Europe, and also the standing of the Jewish citizens in this country were the subjects of addresses delivered at the sixteenth anniversary dinner of the American Jewish Congress, held at the Hotel Rocsevelt in the presence of four hundred Jewish men and women actively associated with Jewish communal affairs.
United States Attorney George Z. Medalie was the guest of honour, and the chief speakers were Rabbi Dr. Stephen S. Wise, Honorary President of the American Jewish Congress; Judge Julian W. mack and Mr. Louis Lipsky. Mr. Pernard S.Deutsch, the President, was in the chair.
President Hoover sent a message of cordial greetings to the American Jewish Congress, expressing his appreciation “of the many valuable contributions made to our national life by our citizens of the Jewish race”. Other messages were received from Vice-President Curtis and from the two Jewish Governors, Mr. Arthur Seligman of New Mexico, and Mr. Julius Meier of Oregon.
In contrasting the status of the American Jew and the problems confronting the European Jew, Mr. Medalie said, “while over eight million of our blood-relations live under conditions in Eastern and Central Europe which none with a sense of human obligations can ignore, three million or more Jews in America enjoy political equality with their fellow-citizens and practically unrestricted economic opportunity.
“Their lives, ” he said,” are full and complete, though hampered occasionally by rare expressions of prejudice, which sometimes retard but never stifle them in the fair opportunity to live their own lives and preserve their own conditions. Antisemitism in its occasional expressions is personal, and though it presents in that form occasional problems, it rarely constitutes a fundamental menace. Enlightened Christian sentiment has allied itself with intelligent Jewish effort, to combat its manifestations. Though in a measure, a problem exists in our own midst, it does not in the remotest degree begin to represent the menace to humanity and to human life which exists elsewhere”.
We Jews are no without opportunities in this country, Rabbi Wise said. But our communal difficulties both within and without, are subtle and pervasive. The American Jewish Congress is resolved to bring these problems into the open though this be as delicate and difficult a matter of discrimination in the field of employment and university life, alike with reference to the groups which teach and are taught. In a democracy, there ought to be as little tolerance of educational restriction and employment discrimination, as of political inequality.
We face problems of economic, industrial and political status in and out of Europe, which were undreamed of some decades ago, save by a prescient minority, which problems were wholly unforeseen by the unreasoning and blatant optimists of Jewish life. A generation ago our problems, however acute, lay in Eastern Europe. To-day the future of European Jewry is our problem.
Rabbi Wise announced that the American Jewish Congress is making plans for another World conference on Jewish Rights similar to that held in 1927 in Zurich, to meet probably in Basle, this time, shortly after the Zionist Congress which is meeting in Basle in July. The programme of the Conference will include all phases of the present Jewish problems in Europe, and a special item on the agenda will provide for the consideration of the possibility of convening a Jewish World Congress in the near future.