JOHANNESBURG (Jul. 1)
The South African Jewish Board of Deputies reiterated today its call upon Parliament, all political parties, and the press to keep the “unjustifiable introduction of the Jewish angle” out of South Africa’s political affairs.
At today’s monthly meeting of the Board, Gustav Saron, general secretary, reviewed the situation created in Parliament a month ago, when members of the dominant Nationalist Party attacked some of the Jewish members of Parliament for protesting against the use of impressed labor. Earlier it had been revealed that arrested natives had been impressed into farm work, and some of the farmers concerned were Jews. All but one of the Jewish farmers, however, had released their impressed laborers.
The Board’s first statement on the issue had been issued after the attacks in Parliament, where some political leaders said that Jewish members should be “the last” to discuss the issue of impressed labor. Later, Nationalist members of Parliament explained they did not mean to voice anti-Semitic attacks.
The Board did not wish to exaggerate the incident unduly, Mr. Saron stated at today’s meeting. But he said, he felt a reiteration of the earlier statement was necessary because the press has given prominence to the incident in Parliament, when remarks were made affecting the Jews.
“We are not entering the political field,” he said, “or criticizing a particular party. We are only objecting to the unjustifiable introduction of the Jewish angle into a Parliamentary debate, and appealing to all parties to keep ‘the Jew’ out of politics. That appeal is addressed equally to Jews, of whatever party affiliation, who tried to drag the Jewish community into the political arena.”
N. Philips the Board’s chairman, stressed at today’s meeting the principle that Jewish members of Parliament represent constituencies “and not the Jewish community.” These members, he declared, “have full right to express their views without being inhibited by the fact that they are Jews.” He pointed out that South African Jews participate in politics “as citizens, in accordance with their personal convictions, and not as Jews.” The Board’s executive fully concurred with his views and endorsed his action.