B’nai B’rith Declines Plebiscite Invitation; Suggests Parley of Organizations

The B’nai B’rith convention decided on May 11, it was disclosed today, to decline the invitation of the American Jewish Congress to participate in next month’s election and plebiscite, and renewed its proposal for a conference of representative democratic Jewish organizations.

A letter containing B’nai B’rith’s views was sent by Alfred M. Cohen, the outgoing president, to Dr. Stephen S. Wise, president of the congress. The convention action was taken, with congress observers present, just a day before the congress changed the form of its plebiscite. It is understood, however, that the decision applies also to the amended plebiscite.

Setting forth the reasons for the refusal to participate, the letter, which was authorized by the Supreme Lodge of B’nai B’rith, said that the election “is unfortunate in that no other organization was consulted, and such an election, instead of unifying Jewish organizations, is apt to create greater differences among them.”

Recalling that the congress had never accepted full and unqualified participation in proposals for a cooperative program of Jewish organizations, but had always made reservations calculated to preserve liberty of action and expression, B’nai B’rith renewed its suggestion for “a cooperative plan in which representative democratic Jewish organizations shall participate, so that all efforts in a defense program may be unified.” Referring to “the present emergency,” the letter concluded that such a conference was necessary to meet “a dire situation.”

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