American Jewish Committee Reports Growing Interfaith Friendship

The American Jewish Committee today concluded here its four-day executive board meeting with a resolution stressing that “special efforts must be made to assure equal educational opportunity to all children in all public schools.”

Louis Caplan of Pittsburgh, president of the American Jewish Committee, told the meeting that recent developments in Christianity in this country and abroad revealed “a marked trend toward growing interfaith cooperation and amity.” He particularly stressed recent actions by Protestant and Catholic Church leaders in eliminating “negative stereotypes of Jews from Christian teachings!” as part of this trend toward “a significant and productive era in Christian-Jewish relations.” He cited the following concrete developments here and abroad which he said pointed to interfaith amity and cooperation:

1. Establishment in Madrid of a committee of leading Catholics and Jews to promote interfaith cooperation in that country.

2. A resolution adopted by the Protestant Tenth Evangelical Church Assembly held late last year in Berlin which asserted the indissoluble link between Christians and Jews.

3. A statement adopted by the Catholic National Conference for Interracial Justice calling on Catholics “to work for the complete removal of anti-Semitic prejudice where it exists in ourselves and our nation.”

4. The Vatican’s recent action eliminating anti-Jewish material in descriptions of paintings hanging in the Catholic Church at Deggendorf, Germany.

5. The participation of leading Protestant and Catholic theologians in the publication of a study by the French historian Jules Isaac, entitled “Has Anti-Semitism Roots in Christianity?” The study states that although the essence of Christianity contains no anti-Semitism, Christian teaching has been a source of this form of bigotry.

It was announced at the meeting that the American Jewish Committee and the Catholic-sponsored Pro Deo University in Rome have created jointly the first Chair of Intergroup Relations ever established at a European institution of higher learning. Instruction in the courses will begin at the Pro Deo University next month. The intergroup curriculum, developed by the AJC, will deal with understanding among racial and religious groups and with the roots of discrimination and persecution.

At the closing session today it was also announced that a committee on national growth has been established, the functions of which will be to analyze the American Jewish Committee’s areas of concern and to relate the needs of the times to AJC policy at home and abroad. The new body is in line with the call issued yesterday, to all voluntary and civic organizations by Dr. John Slawson, executive vice-president of the AJC, to develop extensive programs for the achievement of peace and to extend their objectives “to a war against war itself.”

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