ATLANTIC CITY (Oct. 21)
The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, at the concluding session of its three-day conference here, today rejected the major recommendation of Prof. Robert M. MacIver of Columbia University with regard to the co-ordination of the activities of Jewish organizations engaged in fighting anti-Semitism in the United States.
The conference adopted a statement declaring that the MacIver recommendations, "if pursued to their logical conclusion," would place the work of the Jewish groups combatting bigotry "into a tight and neat central control" and would "violate the nature of Jewish communal organizations." Prof. MacIver made his recommendations as the result of a study sponsored by the National Community Relations Advisory Council, the co-ordinating body of all Jewish groups engaged in combatting anti-Jewish prejudice.
Pointing out that "the basis of Jewish communal organization is voluntary participation," the statement adopted by the Anti-Defamation League criticized Prof. MacIver’s suggestion that the National Community Relations Advisory Council should change from a co-ordinating body into an "overall governing body" with power to conduct operations, develop stretegy and apportion funds to its member agencies.
The A.D.L. believes in the values of N.C.R.A.C. as presently constituted," the statement says. It urges that it continue and be strengthened as a forum for policy formulation, "as it proposed to the plenum of the N.C.R.A.C. in 1949. But A.D.L. reiterates its opposition to having the N.C.R.A.C. become another functioning agency in the community relations field competitive with and duplicatory of the existing agencies.
"One cannot escape the conclusion that Dr. MacIver feels it desirable and attainable to mould the Jewish community of America into one single pattern," the statement continues. The A.D.L. cannot concede it to be desirable; and feels certain it is not attainable in the foreseeable future. American Jewish life has been in a state of flux for many years; it seems to be seeking a pattern but has not found it. Divisions in attitude as to religious practice, Jewish education, fund-raising, Israel, organizational affiliations and the whole myriad of manifestations of Jewish life are quite real. They cannot be brushed aside from on top by order or directive. Devotion and loyalty of Jews to organizations, philosophies or ideas are the strength of this community even though they occasionally give rise to waste and duplication."
DECLINE OF ORGANIZED ANTI-SEMITISM IN U.S. REPORTED
Addressing the delegates today on the decline of anti-Semitism in the United States, Arnold Foster, A.D.L. civil rights director, said that "the dwindling forces of organized bigotry are being made desperate by the unceasing rejection of their propaganda." At an earlier session Benjamin R. Epstein, national director of the A.D.L., reported that prejudiced attitudes against Jews and other national minorities in the United States have decreased by 40 percent in the last five years.
Jacob Grumet, New York City Fire Commissioner and chairman of the A.D.L. civil rights committee, told the conference that seven Arab states, working through the Arab League, have during the last year conducted a well financed campaign to drive a wedge between American Jews and the total American community. He named Abdel Rahman Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League, who came to the United States in September, 1950, as the man originally in charge of anti-Jewish propaganda. Mr. Azzam associated with people described by Mr. Grumet as leaders of anti-Semitic groups in the United States.
JUSTICE STEINBRINK RE-ELECTED; SKEPTICAL ABOUT GERMAN SINCERITY
Justice Meier Steinbrink, who was today re-elected to a sixth term as national chairman of the Anti-Defamation League, expressed "frank skepticism" of the West German Government’s offer of restitution to the Jews for the crimes committed against them by the Nazis. "The contradiction between the German resolution and past and present German behavior leave much room for skepticism," he insisted.
The A.D.L. named Henry Ford, 2nd, to receive its annual "America’s Democratic Legacy Award." Mr. Ford was cited for "his establishment of a Ford Foundation, whose resources for intensified research in human relations problems is giving greater impetus to the development of better intergroup relations than any other single act of the past decade."