NEW YORK (Sep. 7)
A call for a national conference on “Jewish survival” to focus community-wide attention on a “creeping process of assimilation and disintegration that endangers the future existence of the Jewish people, ” was voiced here today by Dr. Joachim Prinz, president of the American Jewish Congress.
In a statement issued after a day-long session of the national executive committee of the Congress, Dr. Prinz stressed that anti-Semitism as a force aimed at the extinction of the Jewish people no longer presented a major problem in the free world. But he warned that Jewish survival is threatened “from within”–by a growing indifference toward Jewish identification and by increasing ignorance of Jewish values. This “deepening crisis in Jewish life” is one result of the unprecedented freedoms Jews enjoy under democracy, he said.
Dr. Prinz said that anti-Semitism and the suppression of Jewish communal life behind the Iron Curtain remains a “deeply felt problem” of world Jewry. “These Jews, too, face extinction as a religious and cultural entity, ” Dr. Prinz asserted. “But their problem is caused not by indifference from within but by suppression from without, by the active efforts of the Communist regime to discourage Jewish identification. It is a vital task of Jews in the free world to continue their efforts aimed at securing for Jews in Soviet-dominated lands the right to continue their Jewish traditions and to insure their continuity as part of the Jewish people.”
Reporting on the recent meeting of the World Jewish Congress in Geneva, the AJC president said the American delegation to the meeting was struck by the fact that free Jewish communities around the world faced the same problem of assimilation and eventual disintegration of Jewish life, jeopardizing their future existence. “Reports from countries as far apart as India and Argentina made it clear that the Jewish people have entered a completely new era in history,” Dr. Prinz declared. “Jewish communities in the free world no longer fear that they night be physically wiped out by a militant anti-Semitism or that their governments would condone anti-Jewish persecution.”
“Today Jews in democratic lands enjoy the same equality and freedom guaranteed to all citizens,” the Congress leader pointed out. “But it is precisely this enjoyment of liberty and the successful integration of Jewish communities that pose today’s central problem of the Jewish people–the problem of survival under freedom.”