So. African Jewish Board of Deputies Clarifies Its Attitude on World Jewish Congress

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies has decided that, although it is not a member of the World Jewish Congress, South African Jewry should make a financial contribution to the work of the Congress, and the Board itself should use its good offices abroad to secure unification of Jewish representation in the international sphere.

As a result of this decision, J.M. Rich, secretary of the Board, left for Paris today to participate as an observer in the executive meeting of the World Jewish Congress, which opens this Thursday. The decision was taken by an inter-provincial conference between the executive council of the Board and its provincial committees, which took place in Johannesburg. It followed the recent visit to South Africa of A.L. Easterman, political secretary of the World Jewish Congress, who asked the Board to affiliate with the World Jewish Congress and to contribute to its finances.

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies is a member of the Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations for consultation with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. The Coordinating board consists of the South African Board, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the B’nai B’rith. The Coordinating Board is one of the four Jewish bodies that has been granted consultative status with the U.N. body. The others are the World Jewish Congress, the Consultative Council of Jewish Organizations, and the Agudath Israel World Organization.

During the last few months the executive council of the South African Board of Deputies devoted several meetings to Mr. Easterman’s exposition of the work of the World Jewish Congress and submitted the whole matter to the inter-provincial conference. While there is still a considerable divergence of opinion among its members on many aspects of the question, opinion is unanimous on the one aspect that the present multiplicity of international representative Jewish organizations is “embarrassing and unhelpful”. Anxious to remedy this situation, the Board decided to send a delegation overseas in the near future to investigate the obstacles preventing the achievement of unification and get the various bodies concerned to convene a conference to discuss this matter.

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