B’nai B’rith Calls on U.S. to Ratify U.N. Convention Against Genocide
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B’nai B’rith Calls on U.S. to Ratify U.N. Convention Against Genocide

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Resolutions calling on the Administration to press for ratification by the United States Senate of the International Genocide Convention, and asking the West German Government to “make full compensation” to B’nai B’rith for the “full amount of 4,000,000 Deutschemarks ($1,250,000) still due and owing.” were adopted here today by the triennial convention of B’nai B’rith.

Pointing out that “over 60 countries of the world have already ratified and subscribed to the Genocide Convention,” the resolution on that subject said that U.S. failure to do so “adversely affects America’s moral leadership in the democratic world.”

In its request for German restitution payments, the resolution approved by the 1,200 delegates pointed out that half of the amount originally agreed upon, totaling 10,000,000 Deutschemarks, has been paid, but that the balance–due to be paid by March 31, 1962–is not past due. The resolution said that, if necessary, the German Government should “amend the Federal Restitution Law to require payment in full to all non-profit organizations like B’nai B’rith serving charitable purposes.”

In other resolutions: The United Nations Commission on Human Rights was commended for adopting at its 1962 session a resolution calling upon all Governments to form national advisory committees on human rights to assist in combating “various forms of bigotry and discrimination based upon such grounds as religion, race, or national origin.”

The United States was called upon to demonstrate “its moral leadership in the struggle against discrimination in general, by acceding to the UNIESCO convention which bans any form of religious, racial or ethnic discrimination.”

All governments were urged “to recognize the principle that stateless persons should be granted the nationality of the country of their residence and prescribe standards for reduction of future statelessness.”


On another matter, convention delegates endorsed the call often made by Label A. Katz, national president, for “unity in the Jewish community.” They voted to continue the organization’s participation in various “consultative and coordinating assemblies created within the Jewish community.” Also ratified was Mr. Katz’ appeal “to explore further means toward collaborative activity of this character.” B’nai B’rith is a constituent of the World Conference of Jewish Organizations, and of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

The delegates and guests attending the convention, now in its third day, also heard Henry Edward Schultz of New York, chairman of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League, report that exposure of discriminatory practices in certain resort hotels has resulted “in more and more trade and professional associations taking a stand against meeting at such hotels.” He said that a similar exposure of real estate owners and agents who engage in discriminatory practices has led to numerous corrections of these abuses.

Benjamin R. Epstein, national director of the ADL, reported that studies during the last decade “have made clear that discrimination against Jews has become institutionalized and virtually a built-in part of modern American living.” He said this was true of many areas of social life, as well as in the fields of education, employment and housing. He urged new research and investigations in all these areas, in addition to “new civil rights legislation and substantial educational programs to arouse community action.”


A call for “accelerated efforts” in the area of adult Jewish education, with de-emphasis on “growing parochialism” within the American Jewish community, was sounded here in a report by the organization’s Department of Adult Jewish Education. The department pledged to conduct its programs in a manner designed “to expose the Jewish adult to the many options for living as a Jew in a dynamic society.”

“Our goal” the report stated, “is not to ‘hard sell’ any particular brand of Judaism, or to claim primacy for any interpretation of institution of Jodaism, but rather to develop a thoughtful, literate community.” The department said its approach is “guided by the fact that Jewish history has been shaped by scholars and leaders ranging from ultra-Orthodox to secularists.”

Describing “a new breed” of American Jew, which it characterized as “native-born, often a third or fourth generation American, college-educated, and at ease in his American environment,” the report said that the concept of Jewish education for this group “which is in search of answers to the intellectual and spiritual problems of our day,” makes “outmoded” the traditional concept of Jewish education “as an automatic transmission of the total Jewish heritage.” But despite these changes, the report held the department rejects “the cliche that apathy and indifference towards Judaism and Jewish issues characterize the vast majority of American Jews.”

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