MEXICO CITY (Mar. 11)
The effect of social revolution and the danger of assimilation today pose the most serious threats to Jewish survival, Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress, told Jewish leaders gathered here for the WJC’s first Mexico-Central American-Caribbean regional conference. He called for the fullest possible cooperation of the region’s communities through the World Jewish Congress in order that Jewry might “cope with its grave problems and secure its survival.” The conference, which opened last night will end tomorrow.
Dr. Goldmann addressed a public session of the conference in the Jewish Sports Club attended by representatives of ten communities, as well as by about 1,000 members of the Mexican Jewish community. Among the communities represented were Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, E1 Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Surinam and Venezuela. The conference also heard a demand, voiced by Yehuda Ebstein, of New York, executive director of the North American executive, that Interpol, the International Police Organization, place Nazi criminals still at large high on its wanted list.
In his address, Dr. Goldmann said that there had been radical changes in the Jewish position as compared with the last century, or even until the middle of the 20th century. Then the three main issues, all of which had lost their significance or had changed in character, had been: 1. The fight against anti-Semitism and the denial of equal rights. 2. Alleviating the miserable conditions in which millions of Jews had existed; 3. The struggle for the establishment of the Jewish homeland.
Jewish emancipation, Dr. Goldmann said, had been achieved in nearly all countries of the world and although anti-Semitism continued in many areas, it had lost much of its sharpness and violence and, at present, did not seriously endanger the Jewish position. Poverty was no more characteristic for the majority of the Jewish people whose economic position in most countries was satisfactory and, as for the fight for a Jewish homeland, the creation of the State of Israel had put an end to that.
SAYS NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN WORLD SITUATION ENDANGER JEWISH LIFE
In place of anti-Semitism, two new developments, characteristic of the present world situation, endangered Jewish life in most parts of the globe. One was the social upheavals taking place, or which may take place, in many parts of the world which are socially unbalanced and susceptible to such revolutions. These revolutions, although not anti-Jewish in any way, may, because of their social and economic consequences, ruin flowering Jewish communities as had been the case in Cuba.
In other countries, Dr. Goldmann said, a new violent nationalism was rampant which did not deny equality of rights to Jewish citizens, but did not grant them the right and facilities to live their distinct Jewish life. The most significant example of this trend was the 3,000,000 Soviet Jews whose position as equal citizens was not threatened by any kind of an official anti-Semitism but who were, de facto, denied the possibility to maintain their Jewish character and distinct life.
Jewish poverty was no more central in Jewish life, but another, much graver, danger had developed: assimilation as a result of the disappearance of anti-Semitic persecution, increased political integration, and the economic progress of most Jewish communities. The process of growing indifference among the young generation represented the most latent danger–Dr. Goldmann stated–to Jewish survival in the Diaspora and made the question of Jewish education, of securing the Jewishness of the young generation the number one problem in Jewish Diaspora life.
To deal with all these problems, the WJC leader said that Jewish unity and the full cooperation of all sectors of the Jewish people “as expressed in the World Jewish Congress” was more essential today than at any time before. Latin American Jewry, which Dr. Goldmann called one of the most conscious and Jewish-minded parts of the Jewish people, had to play a leading role in uniting Jewry in order that it might cope with its grave problems and secure its survival, he said.