N. C. R.a.c. Outlines Program of Action for Jewish Communities

A program of action for Jewish community relations agencies during the coming year is proposed in a joint program plan issued today by the National Community Relations Advisory Council, the policy-forming and joint planning body for community relations work of six major national Jewish organizations and 43 Jewish community councils.

The NCRAC joint program plan for Jewish community relations, 1958-59 represents the consensus of these organizations and communities. It sets forth the major concerns and responsibilities of the Jewish community relations agencies in the light of recent developments and recommends a number of specific undertakings for all to join in to advance the chief objectives of the field during the year.

Overall constant objectives of Jewish community relations work, the plan says, are “the protection and enhancement of equal rights and opportunities and the fostering of conditions conducing toward the vitality of Jewish living.” To advance these objectives, Jewish community relations agencies work for 1. Amicable relationships among religious, ethnic and racial groups; 2. Freedom of religion, with complete separation of church and state; 3. Equality of opportunity, without regard to race, color, religion, ancestry or origin.

In the light of these “purposes and commitments,” the program “reviews events of the past year and evaluates their implications” for Jewish community relations in a “statement of major concerns and responsibilities.” The review ranges broadly over civil rights and civil liberties in the United States, community relations implications of events in the Middle East, Arab boycott and propaganda activities, relationships between Jews and Christians, church-state relationships, American immigration policies, discrimination in housing, employment and education, and other matters of concern to Jewish communities.

FINDS ANTI-SEMITISM EBBING; STRESSES SITUATION IN THE SOUTH

The statement establishes that “overt anti-Semitism continued at an ebb during the past year.” At the same time, the statement blames “official defiance of law” for many of the lawless acts of extremist elements in that section during the past year. It urges federal legislation to empower the United States Attorney General and the FBI to take jurisdiction in cases such as those in which Jewish centers and places of worship were bombed.

Referring to circumstances in some parts of the South, it adds: “We are mindful of the problems faced by citizens in certain of our Southern states and we do not underestimate them. But we are convinced that they less problems than those created when citizen inaction and apathy produce a vacuum into which the extreme segregationists inevitably move.”

Calling for “effective mobilization of al religious, civic and other groups, through continuous systematic inter consultation and cooperation to maintain an atmosphere of respect for law and order,” the statement pledges the Jewish agencies to work for such consultation and cooperation among groups committed to orderly compliance with law.

Intervention of state authority to prevent local school districts from desegregating is assailed in the statement. The civil liberties of all Americans are threatened, the statement declares, by the efforts in some Southern states to outlaw the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “The free association of individuals for common purposes is indispensable to democracy,” the statement asserts.

The statement stresses the injustices and dangers in housing and discrimination. “There is a manifestly great and urgent need,” the statement says in this regard, “to bring the attitudes of the Jewish community as a whole more closely into conformity with the principles of equality to which it is committed through its agencies and even greater need of voluntary action by religious, civic, racial, ethnic and other groups to develop effective programs for moving toward acceptance of racially integrated neighborhoods.”

Basic reforms in United States immigration policy have still not been realized, the statement notes, despite pledges by both major political parties and by the Administration. Characterizing the national origins quota system as harsh, racist and exclusionist, the statement pledges the Jewish organizations to work for its replacement by “a decent, humane and equitable basis for the selection of immigrants consistent with our national needs and interests.”

DENOUNCES LACK OF U.S. RESISTANCE TO ARAB ACTION AGAINST JEWS

Lack of effective United States resistance to discrimination against Americans who are Jews, on account of their religion, is denounced in the statement as “unthinkable.” As a result of the Arab discrimination. “American Jews are no longer protected in their rights of citizenship,” the statement says.

The Arab boycott of American business firms owned by Jews, employing Jews or doing business in or with Israel also is denounced in the statement. Noting that other nations have repulsed and repudiated Arab efforts to involve their nationals in boycott, the statement observes that “our own government, however, has taken no public stand against the boycott.” It pledges continued exposure and denunciation of the boycott and continued demands for effective action by the United States Government against its encroachments.

Discussing peace and freedom in the Middle East, the statement notes that: “The great outpouring of good wishes to the State of Israel during her decennial year by Americans of all faiths throughout our country supplied reassuring evidence that American public opinion perceives and evaluates correctly the conflicting forces of freedom and of tyranny in the Middle East.”

“Arab economic warfare against Israel, which has been extended to a worldwide boycott, is a major impediment to peace in the Middle East,” the statement emphasizes. “As the leaders of the free world, we in the United States must play a major role in leading all the nations of the Middle East to recognize that they do indeed share in a common interest for the resolution of conflicts and the establishment of a lasting and equitable peace.”

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