Rabbis, Laymen Open Four-day Conference to Draw Up Basic Peace Principles

Leading rabbis and laymen from every section of the United States today participated in the opening session here of a four day round table which, under the title “American Institute on Judaism and a Just and Enduring Peace,” will formulate a statement dealing with the basic principle of a just and enduring peace in the light of the teachings of Judaism.

In opening the first session of the Institute today at the Hebrew Union College, Rabbi Ferdinand M. Isserman of St. Louis, chairman of the Commission on Justice and Peace of the Central Conference of the American Rabbis, emphasized that the Institute has been called in accordance with the decision of the last convention of the Central Conference to “invite our brethren of the Household of Israel to aid in the planning of a peace based on the principles of the Hebrew prophets.”

“I am not pleading for an Anglo-Saxon dominated peace, any more than I plead for a Russian or a Chinese-dominated peace,” Rabbi Isserman said. The peace must have no national tinge, unless the national aims coincide with the universal teachings of God as expressed through the prophets of Israel. It must be super-national and super-racial.” Pointing out that the forthcoming peace “must be a peace in which all men of all races, of all nations, of all faiths shall have an equal part,” and lauding the appointment of Herbert H. Lehman by the U.S. Government to feed and clothe the people of the liberated countries. Rabbi Isserman declared:

“We have gathered to interpret the message of Judaism for the aid of all mankind. Yet we cannot at this tragic hour of Jewish history be silent over the unutterable woes of decent Jewish men and women in conquered lands, innocent of wrong, whose martyred deaths reveal their moral courage and at the same time the moral disintegration of their murderers. Their plight is not unrelated to the world’s woe. It was its forerunner and its warning, which, alas, went unheeded. The law of history is that there can be no peace for mankind until there is peace for Israel, and there can be no peace for Israel until there is peace for all mankind. In seeking a solution to Israel’s post-war problems, we shall be truly tested to see if we shall apply prophetic teachings as rigorously to our own brethren and their plight as we shall demand their application to all human situations. In our final statement, we hope to include suggestions for the treatment of oppressed Jewish minorities, as we shall demand their application to all human situations.”

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