JOHANNESBURG (Sep. 27)
The Board of Deputies of South African Jews appealed to South African Jewry today to ignore new appeals to them to vote as a community in the forthcoming referendum on establishment of a Republic of South Africa.
The latest such bid was made in a statement issued on Rosh Hashanah by a group calling itself the “Jewish Democratic Association,” a tiny extreme leftist group which has defended Stalin and the Soviet Union and which has attacked members of the board and of the South African Zionist Federation. The statement of this group, which was unsigned, appealed to Jews to vote against the Government in the October 5 referendum, calling the Government Nazi and anti-Semitic.
The appeal was denounced yesterday by Mendal Levin, a prominent Jewish member of the National party. Mr. Levin, in an interview with the Transvaler, declared that the group “represents no one outside a possible dozen members.” He reaffirmed the Government’s friendship to the Jewish community and offered the opinion that most South African Jews would vote for a Republic, although some members of the Opposition believe most Jews will vote against the Government’s proposals.
The Board in its statement said: “The Board of Deputies, as the representative body of the South African Jewish community regrets to note that appeals are being made to the Jewish community as such to vote in the coming referendum on a sectional basis. The attitude of the Board of Deputies on political issues has been frequently stated in the past and once more reiterated at the last biennial Congress as recently as the beginning of this month, namely, that Jews–no less than other citizens–participate in the political life of the country in the exercise of their rights and duties of citizenship in accordance with their personal convictions and beliefs.
“The Board of Deputies trusts that this attitude will be respected by all political groups,” the statement emphasizes. The statement was issued to halt “sectional” appeals and to remove the “misleading impression” that there was a Jewish vote.