NEW YORK (Jan. 14)
“The greatest single source of community conflict” among Jews and other Americans arises from differing interpretations of the doctrine of the separation of Church and State, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith was told here today.
Reporting on the activities of the League’s 26 regional offices throughout the country, Abe Goldstein, of Atlanta, chairman of the League’s community service division, said that problems arising from the observance has produced “intergroup friction from Connecticut to California.”
The past holiday season, he said, “highlighted the recent trend.” Many of these, issues, he declared, “erupted and became sources of community dissension because of lack of discussion among educators and religious leaders of different faiths.”
Benjamin R. Epstein, national director of the League, told the meeting that there are now more than 130 right-wing groups functioning in the United States. “The trend,” he said, “is alarming. But virtually all the new groups deny any motivation of anti-Semitism and some of them have gone out of their way to say that they are opposed to anti-Semitism.”
Mr. Epstein said that it appears that “to some extent, overt expressions of anti-Semitism have become a political kiss of death in the United States today. The anti-Semitic bigot and rabble-rouser has little chance of gaining significant public support–a fact that the leaders of some of the new extremist groups apparently recognize. They are practicing a degree of sophistication in their public statements although, often enough, anti-Semitic innuendos abound in their private meetings.”
“Most Americans have come to regard overt shows of prejudice as wrong and immoral. But this is not to suggest that religious prejudice is dead,” he said. “Really important, damaging anti-Semitism is today expressed in patterns of discrimination built into many of the basic institutions of our society. These patterns are designed to limit, to exclude, to bar Jews from full participation in the rights, privileges, and opportunities of American life to which every American is entitled.”