ST. LOUIS (Jan. 5)
Every American who believes in the American way of life and who is loyal to American institutions is aligned in the fight against anti-Semitism, it was emphasized today by Jewish and non-Jewish civic and political leaders at the first national conference of the Joint Defense Appeal here. The three-day convontion was called by the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, participating organizations in the J.D.A., to focus attention on their coordinated program against bigotry.
Speaking to the more than 1,000 leaders of Jewish welfare funds, Judge Joseph M. Proskauer, president of the American Jewish Committee, today appealed for eternal vigilance against bigotry, declaring that ” Hitler is dead, but Hitlerism still lives.” Hatred and bigotry cannot “flourish in sunlight, and our exposures have met with a response uttered by the voice of America in the area of religion, labor and by leaders of every race and creed who support the necessity for an International Bill of Human Rights,” he stated, calling for support of the JDA.
Henry Monsky, president of B’nai B’ rith, urged the suppression of prejudice wherever it appears by exposing it to “pitiless publicity.” Pointing out that recent history has proved the costliness of setting “group against group, religion against religion and race against race,” he warned that it is “the responsibility of every liberty-loving American who cherishes the precious ideals which inspired the founding of this nation” to do his part in dissolving group antagonisms. This is not just a task for the Jews alone, he added.
Pointing out that “high American authorities including the President, leaders of organized labor, veterans’ associations and church groups warn us of the dangers of anti-Semitism,” Richard E. Gutstadt, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said that the programs of the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee require increased effectiveness to meet the resurgent forces of hate. He added: ” We have long passed the point where protection of Jewish interests only holds our interest. We serve also the whole American people in exposing those who would exploit anti-Semitism to destroy the dignity of man.”
SOUTHERN EDITOR SAYS IGNORANCE, POVERTY BREAD ANTI-SEMITISM
Speaking at the opening session last night which was attended by 3,000 persons, Ralph E. McGill, editor of the Atlanta Constitution and one of the leading liberals in the South, declared that ignorance, fear, poverty, inadequate housing and poor educational facilities are the chief factors in the breeding of prejudice and hate. He advocated ” a constant stimulation of the public mind to eradicate the venom of the hate propagandists.”
McGill praised the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League for their activities in the area of education. “Their pationt, powerful program of enlightenment is a great weapon for the preservation of democracy and for the strengthening of our American idea, ” he said, concluding “their vigilant alertness to expose our enemies within is a great service to our country.”
Justice Meier Steinbrink, national chairman of the A.D.L., pointed out that the point in American history has been reached when bigotry and intelerance “are recognized as of profound national concern.” He stated that a “bitter and bloody les son” has taught the American people that “the voicinge of intolerance, the disease of religious and racial hatreds” can no longer be regarded “as matters of private, individual concern.”
STEINBRINK WARNS STRUGGLE AGAINST BIGOTRY NOT EASILY WON
Declaring that the conference was called as another “milestone in that eternal struggle” against hatred and bigotry, Justice Steinbrink said: “We are under no illusion as to the difficulties of that struggle. We know that the ideals for which we are striving are not to be purchased for a song or acquired indifferently and casually. We know that if ever a human purpose called for a full measure of devotion, if ever a goal deserved a pledge of our Lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor, this is such a cause, and we can be comforted that ultimately our way will triumph – the way of decency and democracy and brotherhood.”
It. Gov. Walter N. Davis of Missouri stated that the fight against anti-Semitism was not just a Jewish fight but one of the entire American people. “Every loyal American will fight anti-Semitism because it is not only an attack on the Jews, but it is an attack on the freedom of every American,” he emphasized. “It is an attack against every basic idea, basic principle, basic tradition in our American democratic way of life.”