NEW YORK (Feb. 5)
Bitter criticism of the Soviet anti-Jewish policy was voiced here tonight by Israel Ambassador Abba Eban and Dr. Abba Hillel Silver at a dinner tendered Dr. Silver by the Zionist Organization of America on the occasion of his 60th birthday. More than 1,000 persons, including foreign diplomats, attended the dinner. President Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles sent messages of greeting.
Dr. Silver pointed out that “it is not too late for some authoritative statement or act on the part of the highest Soviet leadership to clarify the situation, set the record straight, relieve the minds of men of fear and suspicion and avert an appalling catastrophe.” He suggested that “representative Jewish bodies should not overlook the diplomatic approach along with the public protests.”
Predicting that “there may be even more serious overtones” to the anti-Zionist and anti-Israel campaign launched by the Communist states, and that the campaign may carry over into an all-out drive against the 2,500,000 Jews in Soviet Union and the satellite countries, Dr. Silver said:
“I should prefer not to be forced to conclude that the Soviet Union has definitely gone anti-Semitic, or that it has adopted anti-Semitism as an instrument of Communist policy. Some of my friends whose judgment I value greatly are convinced that this is actually the case. If so, then another appalling tragedy of fearful and staggering proportions is in store for our people.”
SILVER TERMS ESPIONAGE CHARGES “UNTHINKABLE, MONSTROUS”
Dr. Silver termed the Soviet espionage charges against Jews and the Zionist movement “unthinkable” and “monstrous.” “It is inconceivable,” he said, “that the Soviet Union would have instructed its representatives at the United Nations less than five years ago to champion the cause of a sovereign Jewish State and to vote for its admission to the United Nations if the Zionist movement were of the character which it is now represented to be – up to 1947, a paid agent of the British intelligence, and since then, of the United States intelligence.”
Dr. Silver also touched on increased activities against Israel. Declaring that the Arabs “are waiting for the economic collapse of Israel and are preparing for a second round,” he called for increased American Jewish aid to the Jewish State.
“Israel needs urgent economic undergirding and strengthening,” he said. “We will have to do more by way of economic assistance and not less, to help it ride out the storm. It needs the red blood of fresh capital and private investments. Fortunately, the new coalition government, which has been long overdue, in which the non-socialist General Zionists are now an important partner, is creating a favorable climate for such investments. We must stimulate in every way the participation of American Jews in the industrial development of the country.”
Ambassador Eban, attacking the Soviet anti-Jewish policy, said that Jewish leadership in Israel and in the United States faces the challenge of grave and perilous events. “Totalitarian dictatorship in the vast Communist empire assaults the dignity of the Jewish people by the most grotesque and malicious libels which anti-Semitic mania has ever devised,” the Israel diplomat stated. “The half-forgotten voices of Goebbels and Streicher have secured a sounding board in the odious indictment formulated at Prague and Moscow. Meanwhile, other totalitarian dictatorships which command the Arab world launched aggressive diatribes against Israel.” Mr. Eban invited American Jewry to adopt the following program for action:
1. Mobilize world opinion against the reviving plague of anti-Semitism. “The United Nations,” he said, “will reverberate with the tones of an indignant liberal conscience. It is easy but wrong to underestimate the practical efficacy of such moral power. The fact is that all movements which have rebelled against the world conscience have had a short triumph ending in certain defeat.”
2. “Prepare Israel to give shelter and freedom to masses of Jewish refugees while reinforcing the pressure for the freedom of Jews to secure a home in our midst. The most effective pressure is to make the home ready,” he stated. “It is easy to be skeptical of success. The fact is that the attraction between insecure Jews and their newly available homeland has usually triumphed against all restraints and hindrances and gates have been unexpectedly opened.”
3. Strengthen the position of Jews in those parts of the world which are not controlled by anti-Semitic totalitarians or by the unstable military juntas of Cairo and Damascus. “I mean principally that we must fortify our links with our sister democracies,” he explained. “In particular, I am confident that the hour has struck for a new and dynamic reinforcement of the American-Israel friendship.”
4. “We must look to our defenses. Egypt and Jordan have practically ceased to take any notice of the armistice agreements,” he said. “There has clearly been a concerted Arab decision on the governmental level to increase the tensions and disorders on our frontiers.”
5. “We must demonstrate the ancient virtues of our eternal people by an aroused and united movement for Israelis consolidation. The Israel bond campaign and the United Jewish Appeal have become powerful trumpets through which every Jew can magnify the echo of his Jewish ardor and zeal,” he emphasized.
Dr. Emanuel Neumann, member of the Jewish Agency executive, reviewed Dr. Silver’s efforts in behalf of the Zionist cause. He emphasized that Dr. Silver and David Ben Gurion had “reinforced each other’s efforts” in the fight for the establishment of Israel. “Their combined firmness, boldness and resolution prevailed,” he said. “The Jewish State was proclaimed, was promptly recognized by the President of the United States and the governments of other nations.” ZOA president Rabbi Irving Miller presided at the dinner.
President Eisenhower, in his message, stated: “It is an honor and a privilege to pay tribute to Dr. Abba Hillel Silver on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday. I not only extend to him my most sincere and heartfelt congratulations but also wish to express deep appreciation of the cultural, spiritual and humanitarian leadership which he has contributed to our country and the entire world.” Other messages were received from Israel President Ben Zvi, Premier David Ben Gurion, Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett, Jewish Agency chairman Dr. Nahum Goldmann and a number of Senators and Congressmen.