State Dept. Rebuffs Council for Judaism, Refuses Request for Meeting
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State Dept. Rebuffs Council for Judaism, Refuses Request for Meeting

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The Department of State did not endorse any of the claims and charges made by its American Council for Judaism, alleging dual loyalty Implications In Zionism, and the Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East, Phillips Talbot, refused to meet with heads of the Council on this subject.

These facts emerged here today from the full text of the letter sent by Mr, Talbot to Council vice-president Elmer Berger on April 20. The Council released only parts of the letter at Its annual meeting here this weekend. The full text of the letter reads:

“We have carefully studied your letter of March 14, 1964, drawing the Department of State’s attention to the ‘sui generis character of the Jewish people concept’ and urging clarification of the Department’s views with respect to the ‘Jewish people claim.” You state: ‘The central point is that the Zionist-Israel sovereignty uses the Jewish people concept as the basic juridical claim directed against the Jews in slates other than Israel who insist upon maintaining their single nationality status.’ ‘Its principal function,’ you state. its to change the legal status of Jews from that of individual nationals of Jewish religious faith to members of a juridically recognized transnational nationality group with additional ‘rights’ and obligations to the Zionist Israel sovereignty. The core of the Jewish people concept is its nationality characteristic…’

“The Department of State recognizes the State of Israel as a sovereign state and citizenship of the State of Israel. It recognizes no other sovereignty or citizenship in connection therewith. It does not recognize a legal-political relationship based upon the religious identification of American citizens. It does not in any way discriminate among American citizens on the basis of their religion. Accordingly, it should be clear that the Department of State does not regard the ‘Jewish people’ concept as a concept of International law.

“I remain doubtful that a formal meeting of the type you describe would lead to useful results; As in the past, however, appropriate officers of the Department will be willing to discuss any problem that may arise, and the Department will always be happy to continue the dialogue whenever occasion warrants.”


Clarence L. Coleman, Jr., president of the American Council for Judaism, in making public only parts of Assistant Secretary Talbot’s letter, said that for 21 years the Council has petitioned the U.S. Government to clarify its stand on the “Jewish people” concept. “Tonight, ” he added, “I am able to release for the first time the text of the first unambiguous and responsive reply received from the U. S. Government, ” He termed this as “an historic moment in the long, troubled history of anti-Zionism,”

Commenting on Mr. Coleman’s partial disclosure of the State Department’s statement, Rabbi Max Nussbaum, president of the Zionist Organization of America, declared that the State Department has said “something that the Jewish community has accepted for a long time. ” The American Zionist Council, the coordinating body of all Zionist organizations in the United States, commented that “the leadership of the Council for Judaism is fully aware of the fact that the concept of Jewish peoplehood is purely a spiritual and cultural one, completely devoid of any legal or political meaning. “

Dr. Robert M. Maclver, president of the New School for Social Research, addressing the American Council for Judaism conference, said that American Jews were to some extent responsible for what he called their “continuing alienation” from the rest of the American society. In part, he said, the problem arose from “the distinctiveness of the Jewish culture and on the conditions this imposes on certain forms of social intercourse. ” He cited the Saturday Sabbath, food taboos and a reluctance to intermarry; But he also cited specific activities as responsible for the “alienation,”

He said Jews trained their children in Jewish schools and homes for “minority-living.” He asserted that while this was “properly cultivating group values,” it also might have a tendency to create “counter-prejudice because of the impression that Jewish culture is both separate from and incompatible with the prevailing culture. ” He also argued there was “no need” for many of the “separate organizations” created by Jews “for the pursuit of interests that are shared within the inclusive society, ” such as separate organizations or “Jewish chiropractors, or chemists, or engineers or dentals or social workers, “

Another of the speakers before the Council for Judaism was Dr. John H. Davis, until last January the head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. He said that the most troublesome issue in the Middle East was not the problem of the Arab refugees but the “existence of Israel as a Zionist state in the Middle East; ” He held that the efforts to resolve Middle East tensions have failed because the Western Powers, especially the United States, have been insensitive to the “deep feelings of the peoples indigenous to the region” and accepted “as true the rationalization of Israel as to her policy.”

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