NEW YORK (Jan. 27)
“At the present time, there is no evidence that violence which is taking place in various parts of North Africa is directed against Jews or any other religious group, as such,” Irving M. Engel, president of the American Jewish Committee, reported today in connection with the opening here tomorrow of the AJC’s three-day annual meeting.
“However,” Mr. Engel cautioned, “Jews are worried about becoming scapegoats in the future. Anti-Semitic cartoons and hate-mongering stories about ‘Jewish Zionists’ in league with ‘French oppressors’ have been coming from Cairo and European centers to newspapers in North African cities. It is felt that this propaganda, fanning the religious fanaticism of Moslem masses, may provoke physical assault on Jews.”
Mr. Engel emphasized in his report that no substantial element of the population in North Africa, French or Moslem, wishes Jews to leave these lands where they have dwell for almost two thousand years, and where they are making major contributions to economic and cultural life. “Should the Jews of Morocco and Tunisia feel compelled to emigrate,” he said, “it would indicate not merely one group’s frustration in striving for freedom in its homeland. Their departure would also signalize democracy’s defeat on a major front in the world-wide struggle for human rights.
“The American Jewish Committee hopes that the good will of all those directly concerned with the future of Tunisia and Morocco will achieve security for the Jews of those lands, and a status of dignity and full equality, enabling them to contribute their utmost to the peace and prosperity of North Africa,” Mr. Engel concluded. Joining in the report with him were Jacob Blaustein, AJC honorary president, and Dr. John Slawson, AJC executive vice-president. The three AJC leaders comprised the survey team which examined firsthand the civil and religious status and economic condition of North Africa’s Jews.