Jews in South Reported Strongly Affected by Segregation Controversy
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Jews in South Reported Strongly Affected by Segregation Controversy

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The predicament in which the Jews in the South, find themselves as a result of the desegregation controversy was widely discussed by Jewish leaders from many communities assembled here at the four-day conference of the National Community Relations Advisory Council, which concluded at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel today.

The Jewish leaders, representing the American Jewish Congress, Jewish Labor Committee, all national Jewish religious organizations, Jewish War Veterans and many Jewish community councils, were told that the Jews in the South find themselves in the middle of the fight between the “White Citizens Councils” and the Negroes with regard to implementation of the Supreme Court decision against segregation. Dr. Arnold Rose, Professor of Sociology at the University of Minnesota and an authority on minority and civil rights problems, told the conference:

“Jews are somewhat suspected in the south of being relatively liberal-minded in regard to civil rights, which they are on the average, although many individual Jews are vicious proponents and practicers of discrimination. In order to avert suspicion, and even worse things like boycott, some Southern Jewish merchants are joining the White Citizens’ Councils, although their relationship is nominal. Nevertheless, race prejudice has a slippery quality, and in some Southern communities the Citizens’ Councils are attacking Jews as well as Negroes.

“In the national Jewish organizations, most of the influence of Southern members is directed toward asking for “understanding” of the South and toward opposing public expressions of support for the Negro and the Supreme Court. Some of the national Jewish leaders have consequently become ardent proponents of the “moderation” philosophy and among the most active spreaders of tales about incipient violence in the South. These Jewish leaders are contributing to a most serious disservice to the Jewish group as well as to the whole nation, in my opinion.

“Southern Jewish leaders,” Prof. Rose declared, “can be expected to keep quiet about the Negro problem so as not to draw fire on themselves. But national Jewish leaders have the opportunity that other American leaders have of helping to rid the United States of its major Acchiles heel, which has particularly threatened the Jews. If they do not take a long-run and courageous view of the current crisis, they are playing the same role that collaborationist Jews played in Europe during the Nazi period. National Jewish leaders are not on the personal firing line, and they should be expected to give at least moral support to the battle for civil rights,” Prof. Rose said.

“In this situation,” he continued, “Southern Jews who are also national leaders have to make the hard choice, and in general will have to give up national leadership, much as Southern Democratic Party leaders know that they can never hope to run for the Presidency. In a minority strategy, some may have to play the collaborationists’ role, but they cannot also play the leaders’ role, and their national rewards must be surreptitious.”


In a resolution on the desegregation issues adopted at its concluding session today, the National Community Relations Advisory Council conference emphasized that “respect for law, orderly process, and the institution of government is a prerequisite to the preservation of our democratic system.” The resolution said that “it is the responsibility of all agencies of government at every level to demand and oblation compliance with the law.”

The resolution also asked Congress to enact legislation to safeguard rights to freedom of the franchise, freedom from personal molestation and the right to resort to the courts for enforcement of Constitutional guarantees. It also called on the two major political parties to incorporate in their platforms pledges to support the Supreme Court decision and to use the full powers of all branches of the Federal government to secure implementation of the Court’s order.

In another resolution, the N. C. R. A. C. pledged support of the “right of all organizations working for full equality to carry out their legitimate functions free from interference and arbitrary restraint.” The resolution specifically noted that the National Association for the advancement of Colored People has been banned in several states and faces similar action in others for exercising its constitutional right to “invoke judicial process in pursuit of legal objectives.”

The resolution called on the agencies of government–Federal, state and local to fulfill their responsibility to the Constitution by exercising their full authority to prevent interference with and abridgement of Constitutional liberties and urges upon all citizens, in recognition that freedom is indivisible, they protect their own freedom by protesting any denial of those freedoms to their fellow Americans.

The conference also called for the enactment of state fair educational practice laws prohibiting discrimination by higher educational institutions on grounds of race, color or religion. It urged “denial of accreditation to any college, university or professional school which discriminates in the admission or treatment of students on the basis of race, religion, color or national origin.”


The NCRAC conference, at which plans for coordinating activities to combat anti-Semitism in this country were mapped, also adopted a resolution strongly criticizing the action of the United States Government “which has acquiesced in and, for all practical purposes, condoned open and flagrant acts of discrimination by the Arab states against American citizens on the basis of their religious beliefs.” The resolution said this is “in utter violation of the most fundamental American resolutions.” It called upon the U.S. Government to:

1. “Notify all nations of the world that our government will not tolerate discrimination against American citizens because of their religion; 2. Instruct all agencies of the government to desist from screening qualified American citizens for military, diplomatic or other service in a foreign country solely because of objections by that country to American citizens on religious grounds; 3. Provide expressly in all treaties and executive agreements with foreign countries that American citizens shall not be denied rights of travel, employment, trade or any other rights under such treaty or agreements because of the religion of individual American citizens.

The resolution also called on the President’s Committee on Government Contracts and the President’s Committee on Employment Policy “to insure that there shall be no yielding to the religious prejudice of the Arab countries in the hiring or placement of American personnel.”

Another resolution urged “increased vigilance on the part of our government to the end that Arab consular and embassy officials will not be permitted to violate their diplomatic status by aiding and abetting” anti-Jewish practices and that such Arab official representatives desist from engaging in activities which are “beyond the legitimate scope of their diplomatic functions.”

The resolution scored the American Friends of the Middle East and the American Council for Judaism for accepting and using in their propaganda some of the “most extreme and dangerous falsehoods and distortions put forth by the Arab propaganda apparatus.”


In a resolution on the Jewish situation in the Soviet Union, the conference referred to the Khrushchev repudiation of Stalin and noted that there has been “no Soviet repudiation of the terror against Jews, the suppression of Jewish culture and Jewish institutions” or of the “cynical Soviet machinations through arms deals and other collaboration with the Arabs to destroy the delicately balanced peace of the Middle East.”

It also pledged to continue exposure and denunciation of every attempt by “Communists and Communist sympathizers who infiltrate and subvert legitimate organizations and movements working for the promotion of civil rights, civil liberties and other extensions of democratic freedom.”

The NCRAC conference expressed “regret” that “certain national Jewish community relations agencies are not participating in the cooperative process. We again invite these agencies to rejoin,” the resolution said. The conference re-elected the following officers: Bernard H. Trager of Bridgeport, Conn., chairman; three vice-chairmen Isaac Pacht of Los Angeles, David L. Ullman of Philadelphia, Lewis H. Weinstein of Boston; treasurer Louis, Feinmark of New Haven, and Secretary Julian A. Kaiser of Indianapolis.

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