JOHANNESBURG (Jul. 8)
Ever since the National Party came into power it has honored the pledge given by the late Dr. D.F. Malan (Prime Minister of its first Cabinet in 1948) to remove the “Jewish Issue” from the political life of the country, says a report of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies issued here today.
“Nonetheless,” the report adds, “in the period since the last Congress–nearly three years ago–there were a number of occasions when Jews became ‘news’; when public discussion and controversy relating to the Jewish community suddenly flared up, revealing dormant or suppressed tensions that came into the open.
“This is not altogether surprising. South Africa has been exposed to unprecedented pressures, both from without and within. This has been a period of heightened political partisanship and often of sharp controversy within the Republic. Several important issues came to the fore, involving the Jewish community either directly or indirectly. There has also been evidence of deliberate anti-Jewish incitement through overseas and locally inspired propaganda.
“Indeed, taking all these adverse factors into account, we have reason for some satisfaction that, on the whole, anti-Semitism has not been a serious problem and that the normally good relationship between the Jewish community and all other sections has remained relatively undisturbed.” the report stressed.
The report referred to Israel’s vote against South Africa in the United Nations, and the reactions evoked in South Africa, as well as the statements of local Jewish leaders, clarifying the position as far as South African Jewry was concerned. It also draws attention to “the mischievous anti-Semitic propaganda, originating overseas, under the guise of combating Communism.” Such propaganda material seem to be on the increase, the report noted.
The report recorded a number of occasions when the Board of Deputies took steps to correct false reports overseas which alleged that there was a serious anti-Semitic menace in South Africa. It noted that extreme right-wing groups in the Republic turn for inspiration to similar groups abroad, especially in the United States, which often flirt with anti-Semitism.
The report recorded the manifold work which the South African Jewish Board of Deputies does in various directions toward strengthening Jewish life, running cultural programs, conducting work for Jewish university students and non-student youth, helping to organize chaplaincy services for Jewish recruits in training in the army, etc. A section was devoted to the United Communal Fund, the central financial organ which the Board sponsors to augment the budgets of South African Jewry’s main national institutions.