WASHINGTON (May. 10)
President Roosevelt told B’nai B’rith’s fifteenth general convention in a message last nigh that this nation deplores ill treatment of human beings anywhere, but “we become definitely concerned” when alien influences “seek to undermine the foundations of our own institutions.”
The message was read to a convention testimonial dinner for retiring President Alfred M. Cohen by James Roosevelt, the President’s son, who said that “if possible, the President would have loved too well to bring it in person.” He said he knew “the sincerity and heartfelt feeling” behind the message.
The message follows:
“It gives me great pleasure to extend greetings to the members of B’nai B’rith on the occasion of the triennial convention of the organization.
“For almost a century B’nai B’rith has effectively served the well-being of American Jewry and the nation. Its philanthropic achievements are permanently enshrined within the walls of hospitals, orphanages and homes for the aged which bless humanity in every section of our land.
“Its endeavors in the realm of education exhibit a far-sighted understanding of the problems of the younger generation. No less important is B’nai B’rith’s program of Americanism, which fortifies the effort to keep America safe for democracy, while its program of goodwill strives toward harmony among the component elements comprising our American society.
“In the conflict of policies and political principles which the world witnesses today, the nation remains unshaken in its devotion to the ideals and the institutions of democracy. Except in so far as we deplore ill treatment of human beings anywhere, the domestic policies of other nations are of no concern to the United States. When, however, alien influences seek to undermine the foundations of our own institutions we become definitely concerned.
“This country, for its own guidance and for the guidance of other nations if they will follow it, has ever held aloft the torch of freedom. Our conception of freedom embraces complete liberty of conscience and of thought, freedom of education, freedom of the press, the right of free speech and of assembly. On that conception of liberty all of our happiness as a nation has been built.”
Nazi charges that Communism was Jewish were given the lie yesterday by Sigmund Livingston, chairman of B’nai B’rith’s Anti-Defamation League, in a report to the order’s fifteenth general convention. He said that “Jews are not Communists and do not promote Communism.”
“The charge that Jews have an international conspiracy for any purpose is so fantastic that one is amazed that any person of sane mind can give it credence,” He said. “In problems of work, Jews are just as divided in interests and outlook as Christians. There is no unity among the Jews. The Jew is so disunited that he has no governing body of his church. He has no supreme organization, even for his religious and communal purposes. Each organization is autonomous and absolutely independent, as is every temple of worship.”
He added that anti-Semitism was a threat to democracy and a denial of the fundamental principles of American democracy.