Council for Judaism Calls Zionism ‘surrender’; Statements Made in Reply

Two leaders of the anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism this weekend criticized American “non-Zionist” Jewish groups for favoring the Zionist ideology and supporting the programs of the movement. Addressing the three-day annual conference of the Council, Clarence L. Coleman, Jr., president of the organization, said that non-Zionist groups in this country had followed a course “leading to eventual surrender to the Zionist machine.” Rabbi Elmer Berger, executive vice-president, called on non-Zionists to oppose what he termed an infringement of their “basic American rights and political status” by the Zionist movement.

In a statement issued in reply to Rabbi Berger’s attack on the Zionist movement, the American Zionist Council, the representative body of all Zionist organizations in this country, declared that the Zionist ideal “expresses the noblest aspirations of Jewish life and recognizes the age-old yearnings of the Jewish people as expressed in the Bible.” Terming the assertion that American Zionists have a double nationality” pure nonsense,” the Zionist Council said that Rabbi Berger had demonstrated his “abysmal ignorance both of Judaism and the traditional cultural pluralism inherent in the American way of life.”

Milton J. Silberman, chairman of the Illinois Conference of Jewish Organizations, representing 95 percent of the local Jewish community, said that the American Council for Judaism “does not speak for American Jews and it would perform a service to America as well as to Jews everywhere if it were to give up its lost struggle in a discredited cause and disappear from the American scene.”

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