ZOA Told That Resurgence of Anti-semitism Brings Jewish Youth Back
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ZOA Told That Resurgence of Anti-semitism Brings Jewish Youth Back

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Jacques Torczyner, president of the Zionist Organization of America, asserted today that the “resurgence of anti-Semitism in many parts of the world, including the United States will impel a reappraisal by Jewish leadership of their program to combat assimilation among Jewish communities.” “With massive anti-Semitism again rearing its ugly head amidst political and social upheavals in various countries, ” he said, “the danger of assimilation and cultural disintegration which still looms large on the Jewish horizon, is gradually taking a secondary place in the fight against bigotry.”

Mr. Torczyner spoke before several hundred Zionist leaders from all parts of the country at the opening of a two day session of the ZOA national executive committee, the ruling body of the organization between conventions. Herman L. Weisman, chairman of the national executive committee, presided over the sessions, which were also addressed by Brig. Gen. Yosef Geva, military attache of the Israel Embassy in Washington; Joseph W. Greenleaf, chairman of the convention committee; and Paul Safro, acting chairman of the national finance committee.

Mr. Torczyner said that “social upheavals in a number of Latin American countries and racial conflicts in the United States have escalated anti-Jewish prejudices and have intensified anti-Semitism even among wide circles of Negroes here.” He further asserted that the “so-called white backlash in the South, in the Midwest, and currently in Chicago, mostly led and instigated by extreme rightist forces, have opened the doors to such anti-Semitic elements as the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party, whose leaders have addressed rallies in Chicago and elsewhere attended by thousands of white residents.” He also cited the recent outbreaks of swastika daubings of synagogues in New Jersey, Long Island, Florida, California and many other states.


The Zionist leader voiced confidence that the “alliance of blatant anti-Semitic elements with the anti-Negro forces will open the eyes of those Negroes who themselves harbor anti-Semitic prejudices. ” He further said that the current re-emergence of the anti-Semitic elements is “also awakening Jewish youth to the realization of their close affinity with the Jewish people.” “Our youth,” Mr. Torczyner asserted, “is beginning to learn the lesson of history that, rather than trying to escape from Jewish identity, they can best carry on the battle against bigotry and prejudice by standing up as Jews, imbued with a consciousness of their Jewish heritage.”

“The decline of organized anti-Semitism in the years since the end of World War II, with the partial acceptance of Jews in certain social and economic spheres, ” he continued, “has hastened the voluntary process of assimilation, particularly among Jewish youth. This was particularly the case in Latin America and West European communities, and in the United States. On the other hand, in Soviet Russia the Jewish community is subjected to forced assimilation through cultural discrimination.”

Addressing himself further to the problem of Jewish youth today which, he said, “Zionism must solve” the speaker urged that “every young Jew must be made conscious of the reality of the Jewish world today even if it means changes in the concepts of the older Zionist generation.”

Aryeh Even, executive director of the Young Zionists department of the ZOA reported to the session on the seven-week stay of the largest American teen-age group in the summer camp at Kfar Silver, the agricultural high school in Israel maintained by the ZOA. The group, which recently returned to this country, was comprised of 100 Jewish high school students from all parts of the United States and Canada. A highlight of the summer camp program, he reported, was the participation of the American teen-agers in a dialogue between American and Israeli youth held at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv and aimed at bringing about closer ties between the Jewish youth of both countries.

Mr. Greenleaf, as chairman of the convention committee, reported more than 1, 200 delegates representing 600 chapters throughout the country will attend the four day sessions of the 69th annual convention of the ZOA to be held October 20 through October 23, at the Hotel Statler-Hilton in New York.

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