President Urged to Declare National Emergency to Deal with Urban Crisis

President Johnson was asked today by the American Jewish Congress to declare a “national domestic emergency” to deal with the Nation’s urban crisis. Presidential action was urged in the face of what was termed “ominous evidence that racial tension, crime and violence will continue until proper housing, schools, training and jobs are available to all.”

The American Jewish Congress also hailed the appointment of John W. Gardner, retiring Secretary of Health Education and Welfare as head of the Urban Coalition and pledged its “full support” of efforts by the Urban Coalition “to help fight poverty and urban decay through the private sector and voluntary agencies.” The actions came at a meeting of the organization’s national governing council, its top policy-making body, in Stephen Wise Congress House.

The group heard Arthur D. Horse, author of “While Six Million Died” criticize U.S. failure to ratify the United Nations convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide. The treaty has been bottled up in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since President Truman urged its ratification in 1950.

Rabbi Arthur D. Hertzberg, of Englewood, N.J. told the afternoon session that Jewish philanthropy and the fight against anti-Semitism no longer served as a valid basis for Jewish group identity. He urged the Jewish agencies to launch programs “consciously and clearly calculated to increase Jewish knowledge and commitment.”

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