JOHANNESBURG (Apr. 8)
Ten Jews are candidates for Parliament in the national elections to be held in the Union of South Africa on April 16. Seven are members of the United Party, one is on the Labor ticket, another has been nominated by the Liberals, and one is running on the list of the South African Bond Party, a new, moderate conservative group.
Still another Jew, Abe Blumberg, former Member of Parliament from Capetown, was among the candidates for four new seats representing the colored population of the Cape, for which elections were held last week. The count of the ballots in that election has not yet been completed, due to the Easter holiday.
Two Jewish members of the National Party, Charles Zeff and Mendel Levin, have circulated appeals to Jewish voters to vote for their party, on the grounds that the government headed by Prime Minister Strijdom has “treated Jews with consistent fairness. “
It is generally pointed out throughout the country, however, that there is no general Jewish communal attitude toward the elections, since there are no issues involved affecting Jews as such. On other issues, such as the matter of Apartheid (segregation of the colored people), there are many differences of opinion among Jews as there are among the country’s population in general.
JEWISH STAND ON RACIAL ISSUE IN SO. AFRICA LINKED TO PARTIES
Advice reaching here from abroad to the effect that Jews should “take a stand against Apartheid” are viewed as reflective of ignorance regarding basic conditions and attitudes in this country. There are 110, 000 Jews in the Union. They are part of the white population and, by and large, have always subscribed to basic social, political and economic differentiation between the Union’s 3, 000, 000 whites and 12, 000, 000 non-whites.
Some Jews support Prime Minister Strijdom’s formulation regarding separation of the races, while others support the principle of Apartheid, but desire a less rigid approach to the problem. Some Jews feel that the formulation should be more closely akin to that evolved by the late Marshall Jan Smuts whose United Party is now the principal opposition grouping in the country.
There are Jews who adopt a non-party attitude toward Apartheid, going along with Adolph Shauder, former Mayor of Port Elizabeth whose work in developing housing projects for non-whites has drawn wide praise, including the applause of the Strijdjom government.
Jews are also found in the Labor Party which has a Socialistic outlook in general but shares the government’s “white leadership” approach. A few Jews belong also to the Liberal Party and to similar groups which urge equal political rights for whites and colored people.
Many South African Jews support the opposition United Party, preferring that group to the Strijdom Conservatives.That line-up, however, is due not so much to differences on the issue of Apartheid than to personal loyalty to the memory of the war-time leadership by the late Marshall Smuts. It is believed that, in recent years, more Jews have been veering from the Liberal Party to the conservative camp.