Ncrac Urges Jewish Support for Poor, Backs Civil Disobedience As Force for Change

The National Community Relations Advisory Council concluded its four-day plenary session here yesterday with a statement on “equal opportunity” urging “full support by Jewish groups to urban coalitions and other anti-poverty efforts” and endorsing aid to the establishment of Negro-owned businesses in ghetto areas. At the same time, the Council recommended that the Jewish community assist Jewish merchants who have suffered from ghetto riots and want to relocate.

Other policy declarations adopted by the 250 specialists in intergroup relations supported the “propriety” of non-violent civil disobedience as a force for social change but condemned “violence in any form” as a threat to traditional American civil liberties. The delegates, representing nine national organizations and 81 local community relations councils, reaffirmed the NCRAC’s traditional opposition to the use of public funds to assist sectarian schools. Representatives of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations dissented, however.

The NCRAC also warned against “too much reliance” on a commercial-industrial approach to ghetto problems. While it recognized the contributions of jobs, housing and other resources that business and industry, subsidized by Government funds, could make to the urban crisis, it saw that approach as opening a danger of social change being dominated by commercial-industrial values “with emphasis on economic validity rather than social need.”

In its statements on violence and non-violence, the NCRAC said that non-violent action “to provoke change through judicial review or orderly political action,” even when unlawful, “may serve the profoundest interests of a democracy” by correcting injustices. But it foresaw “danger of a progressive impairment of orderly democratic procedures by groups using violence who not only undermine democratic processes themselves but also invite the political repression of civil liberties.”

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