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Label Katz Challenges Critics of Jewish Community Relations Agencies

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Critics of Jewish community relations agencies were challenged here by B’nai B’rith president Label Katz at the three-day meeting here of the national executive committee of the Anti-Defamation League, which concluded last night. He said these critics are "trapped in misconceptions" about the nature of anti-Semitism in present-day society.

Mr. Katz strongly defended civic defense activities as fundamental to the development of a flourishing Jewish Community in the United States. He disputed a recently-voiced analysis "by a critic who found a vast difference between a Jew being thrown into a concentration camp in Nazi Germany and one thrown off a tennis court in the United States." The equation, intending to dismiss the fight against anti-Semitism today as "trivia," Mr. Katz said, was a false one. "You cannot use the historical facts of one set of circumstances and glibly relate them to another," he said. "You must judge each act of prejudice as it stands, relate it to its own history and setting and then seek to combat it."

He characterized the work of such agencies as the ADL as helping to fulfill the injunction in the Passover Haggadah that "each generation must act as if it itself has been brought forth from bondage." Freedom must be re-won by each generation, Mr. Katz declared, "and the Jewish community does not consider the endless struggle for freedom as an abstract idea. Freedom has no functions in a vacuum. American Jews must use their freedom as a unique and marvelous opportunity to develop, by their own wisdom and will, a creative, dynamic Jewish life indigenous to the American scene."

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