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So. African Jewish Leaders Appeal Against Involving Community in Politics

An appeal to all political parties to avoid dragging the Jewish community into the campaign for South Africa’s next general election, due early next year, was issued here today by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies. The appeal was decided upon by deputies attending the Board’s monthly meeting in Johannesburg, following upon comment in some newspapers on the Jew in the political scene.

The Board of Deputies statement deplored that there are again tendencies to drag “the Jews” into the political arena and revive suspicions “which we had hoped had long since been laid to rest.” It reaffirmed that “the Jewish community — as has been emphasized time without number — has never constituted a political entity. Jews have functioned in the political field as individual citizens and not as members of a religious group.” The diversity of their political viewpoints is reflected in the fact that Jews are to be found in all the political parties and their loyalty to South Africa had been repeatedly proven. The statement pointed out: “As they have answered the country’s call in times of need in the past, they will answer it in the future.”

“It will be a sad day for South Africa,” the statement said, “if any citizen, whatever his language or religious or cultural affiliation, will be required to prove his loyalty to the republic by having to support a particular political viewpoint or racial ideology. It is a dangerous fallacy to suggest — as is apparently being implied in some quarters — that failure to agree with the political party in power is equivalent to disloyalty to the country.”

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