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U.S. Jewry’s “big Four” Move to Create United Front; Referendum out

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An agreement reached here by representatives of the four major Jewish organizations in the United States, looking toward coordination in defense of Jewish rights and involving abandonment of the proposed American Jewish Congress referendum, gave Jewish leaders the hope of long-sought unity today.

The agreement was reached last night by representatives of the American Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith and the Jewish Labor Committee at a meeting held at the initiative of Pittsburgh Jewish leaders with the endorsement of 28 Jewish communities throughout the country.

The agreement, which is subject to ratification by the respective organizations by June 20, provides:

1– No referendum to be held by any of four organizations pending a reasonable opportunity to effect the creation of a single body;

2– Equal representation in this body for the organizations;

3 — Autonomy for the individual bodies to be retained;

4– Consideration of questions involving racial, national or religious philosophies to be excluded.

Those who participated in the meeting as representatives of the national Jewish organizations are: American Jewish Congress: Louis Lipsky, Professor Jerome Michael, Sigmund David, David Wertheim, Leon Gellman and Louis Segal. American Jewish Committee: Lewis Strauss, James N. Rosenberg, Morris Waldman, Sidney Wallach and Leon Falk. B’nai B’rith: Henry Monsky, Louis Fabricant, Maurice Bisgyer, Benjamin Samuels, Sigmund Livingston and Richard Gutstadt. Jewish Labor Committee: A.I. Minkoff, I. Goldberg and Joseph Baskin.

Although the agreement commits the Congress to abandon its referendum, scheduled for June 25,26 and 27, on the question of creating a unified agency to combat anti-Semitism, the Congress election of delegates to the extraordinary session next September will be held on those dates as scheduled.

The meeting, which climaxed a controversy raging in American Jewish life since the Congress announced the referendum on May 2, was held at the initiative of Pittsburgh Jewish leaders headed by Edgar J. Kaufmann, prominent merchant and philanthropist.

TEXT OF AGREEMENT

The text of the resolution adopted at the meeting follows:

“We, representatives of the American Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee, the B’nai B’rith and the Jewish Labor Committee, gathered together in Pittsburgh this thirteenth day of June, 1938, upon the invitation of Pittsburgh Jewry, endorsed by the Jewry of many other American cities, proposed to these organizations the immediate coordination of those activities of the American Jewish congress, the American Jewish Committee, the B’nai B’rith and the Jewish Labor Committee which relate specifically to safeguarding the equal rights of Jews through the creation of a single body in which each of these respective organizations shall have equal representation, but without affecting the autonomy of any of these organizations and excluding the consideration of questions involving racial, national or religious philosophies.

“We further propose that, after its organization, the proposed body shall enlarge its membership by the addition of representatives of other American Jewish groups which should properly be included in such body, upon vote of five-sixths (or such other vote as these four organizations may hereafter determine) of the representatives of the aforementioned four organizations.

“We recommend that the decision of any issue within the scope of these proposals by a two-thirds vote of the entire body shall be binding upon all constituent groups of the proposed body.

“We further recommend that, pending a reasonable opportunity to effect the creation of such body, no referendum be held by any of the four organizations involved. these proposals are subject to adoption by all of the four organizations above named on or before June 20, 1938.

“Nothing herein contained shall be taken to mean that either the B’nai B’rith, the American Jewish Committee or the Jewish Labor Committee approve of, or participate in, the impending election of delegates to attend the forthcoming regular session of the American Jewish Congress in September next.”

The Pittsburgh group consisted of Jerome Edlis, Louis Yale Borkon, Samuel L. Fuss, Walter Burke, Irwin D. Wolf, William B. Klee, Jr., Leon Falk, Jr., Charles Dreifus, Harry Applestein, Edgar J. Kaufmann, Frank R.S. Kaplan, M. Leon Tolochko, A.L. Wolk, Samuel Krimsley, Louis Caplan, Leo Lehman, Henry Ellenbogen, and Morris Neaman. Mr. Wolf presided at the meeting.

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