South African Reaction to Israel’s Anti-apartheid Stand at U. N. Distresses Jews
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South African Reaction to Israel’s Anti-apartheid Stand at U. N. Distresses Jews

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South African Jewry is deeply distressed by what it considers to be a serious rift developing between the South African Government and Israel over an attack on apartheid voiced by the Israeli delegate in the United Nations Special Political Committee recently.

This was indicated in statements by South African Jewish leaders here who cited the record of sympathy and friendship extended by South Africa to Israel, particularly during the crisis that preceded last June’s Six-Day War and its aftermath. They also expressed growing concern with the angry reaction of South Africans to Israel’s anti-apartheid stand as reflected in recent comment in the press and on radio here.

The immediate cause for concern was a speech by Israeli delegate, Dr. Joel Barromi, widely reported here, which denounced apartheid and called on U. N. members to act against it. Maurice Porter, chairman of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, felt compelled to issue a statement pointing out that while “the Jewish community has no collective viewpoint–as distinct from each individual’s personal opinions–on South Africa’s race policies, the Jewish community is far from happy that this incident took place.”

Mr. Porter said it was appreciated that Dr. Barromi “did not take the initiative in the matter, but was replying to a bitter attack upon Israel by the Algerian representative. Without defending his choice of words, I believe it is arguable that he did not intend his contribution in any aggressive spirit.” Mr. Porter expressed “disappointment at the tone of some of the reactions to Dr. Barromi’s speech in sections of the press and comment on the radio.

He referred specifically to an editorial in the newspaper Die Transvaler which seemed to be aimed particularly at South African Jewry. The editorial said in part: “A citizen of the Republic who, after what has taken place in New York (the U. N.) still fosters sympathy for Israel, reveals that he possesses no national self respect and does not deserve to enjoy the privileges which go with citizenship.”

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