NEW YORK (Jan. 31)
Dr. Mirism K. Freund, national president of Hadassah, today said she was “pained” that President Eisenhower should imply that there is a “Jewish vote” in the United States and that it is being used to influence the Administration’s attitude toward Israel.
In a report to the National Board of Hadasaah at the opening session of its three-day Mie Winter Conference at the Belmont Plaza Hotel, Dr. Freund–who heads 318, 000 American women of Hadassah–referred to President Eisenhower’s press conference statement of last week in which he revealed parts of his conversation with Abba Eban, former Israel ambassador to the United States, which took place before the Suez episode of 1956.
In that conversation, the President mentioned “possible Jewish sympathy” in the United States toward the “mobilization of Israel at that time, ” and said that “I hoped he (Mr. Eban) would not allow this to away his judgment as to what this Administration would do. . . to prevent any outbreak of hostilities. . . ” Then, the President reported: “And I told him (Mr. Eban) that if he thought that this would have any part, iota of influence on me, he should disabuse his mind about it.”
Dr. Freund said she hoped that the President of the United States did not intend to create the impression that American Jews are motivated primarily by the American Government’s attitude toward Israel when they go to the polls. “American friendship for Israel has never been a partisan issue in an election in this country, ” the Hadassah leader declared. “The American people have been and are Israel’s friends and this is not an issue to be raised in political campaigns in a partisan way.
“Everyone who knows the American scene knows that American Jews vote as individuals as they please and will never permit such issue to enter into their thinking” Dr. Freund continued. “The results of past actions show this to be a fact. The Jews of the United States go to the polls and exercise their franchise on the basis of what they believe is good for the United States–what is good for their respective states or municipalities. There is no ‘Jewish vote’ in the United States. There is no ‘Irish vote ‘or’ Italian vote’ in the United States. We vote as Americans for whom and for what we consider to be in the best interests of our country.”
DR. FREUND DISCUSSES OUTBREAKS OF ANTI-SEMITISM IN U.S. AND ABROAD
More than 200 leaders of Hadassah from all parts of the United States are participating in the Mid-Winter conference, which will continue through Tuesday. Mrs. Her man Shulman, former national president of Hadassah, told the conference that Hadassah will carry out a special four-week pilgrimage to Israel in 1960. Mrs. Shulman headed the first Pilgrimage to Israel in 1958. At that time, more than 400 Hadassah members participated.
Dr. Freund, in addressing the conference, also discussed the outbreaks of anti-Semitism in Europe and in the United States. Reviewing anti-Semitism in West Germany, Dr. Freund said that the action of the Rhineland-Palatinate in banning the neo Nazi Reichs party was “gratifying.” However, she pointed out.” neo-Nazi groups should be eradicated throughout the Federal Republic of Germany.”
She said that while she believed that the anti-Semitic outbreaks in West Germany are “inspired” by neo-Nazi elements there, such vandalism in the United States is unorganized. Nevertheless, she asserted, “American hooligans and gutter fuehrers are being influenced by what is happening in West Germany. ” She added that “what is needed in the United States is an educational. environment in which our children can be taught the meaning of a pluralistic society and our responsibilities to it. This kind of approach to the problem must embrace not only the school, but also the church, the parents, the recreation leaders, ” she emphasized.
At the dinner session, Hadassah leaders honored Consul-General Simcha Pratt and Mrs. Pratt, who are returning to Israel in the spring. The dinner commemorated the 100th anniversary of the birth of Theodor Herzl, founder of modern Zionism.