N.c.r.a.c. Lists Issues Calling for Major Jewish Community Emphasis

The National Community Relations Advisory Council released today its eighth annual joint program plan for Jewish community relations, representing the pooled judgments of its constituent agencies as to the community relations activities which should get major emphasis in the coming year.

Among the proposed activities are: Efforts to guard against recurrences of the swastika-smearing episode of last winter; counter-action against the Arab boycott and Arab propaganda campaigns; dealing with the problem of anti-Semitic agitators; and giving widest possible publicity during the election campaign to the position that “religion has no relevance to fitness for public office.”

Other general areas listed include: More intensive aid to schools and other agencies working with young people in anti-bias efforts; closer study of the position of Jewish communities about censorship; book-banning and similar “clean literature campaigns; similar examination of the threat of anti-Semitic agitators; and the advisability of seeking new legislation against some of their more virulent statements.

Further proposed areas were: Stimulation of more inter-religious discussion of church-state issues, and cooperative approaches to protecting good interfaith attitudes in children in church and synagogue sponsored schools; continued efforts to remove religious practices from public schools; greater efforts to build understanding among Negroes about the Jewish position on civil rights, promoting personal contacts between members of the two groups; and support of equal opportunity–including particularly equality of opportunity for housing–regardless of race, color or religion.

Lewis H. Weinstein of Boston, chairman of the NCRAC, said in explaining the purpose of the joint program, that, to get the most out of available resources in the Jewish community relations field, “avoid conflict among themselves, and give the Jewish community the largest return” for funds spent in the area, the member agencies of the NCRAC annually pool ideas, information and experience in seeking agreement on what the major problems are, what needs to be done, and which programs have priority.

He emphasized that the programs in the joint plan were recommendations to constituent agencies, each of which determines its own program. He said a major portion of the plan was devoted to a review and analysis of the preceding year. This review was summarized as follows:

REVIEW SHOWS FOUR AREAS OF MAJOR CONCERN IN PAST YEAR

1. A violent, possibly merely episodic “but also possibly deeply symptomatic” outbreak of anti-Semitic vandalism and desecration.

2. Evidence of Congressional impatience with the Washington Administrations “vacillation and seeming impotence” in implementing its declared policy that the Suez Canal should be open to the shipping of all nations, reflected in an amendment to the foreign aid bill adopted by substantial majorities over the opposition of the Administration, and by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Sen. J.W. Fulbright of Arkansas.

3. A “sharp rise” in public discussion of church-state issues, “sparked by the injection of the question of religion into the Presidential nominating campaigns, with consequent heightening of Catholic-Protestant tensions.”

4. The “dramatically-accelerated advance, despite setbacks in some places and in some respects, in the long-term trend toward racial equality.”

The constituent agencies of the NCRAC are the American Jewish Congress, the Jewish Labor Committee, the Jewish War Veterans, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations; the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America; the United Synagogue of America and 52 state, county and local Jewish community relations councils.

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