TORONTO (Sep. 8)
About 17.5 million Americans hold “fairly strong anti-Semitic beliefs” according to a paper distributed to 200 delegates from six countries attending an international conference of Christians and Jews here. The paper, prepared by Harry Leishman, race relations coordinator of the American Jewish Committee, was based on a study sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.
The conference, organized by the National Conference of Christians and Jews and its affiliate, the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, also took up problems of poverty, urban unrest and student rebellion at its five-day session which ended last night. The delegates heard a suggestion by Rabbi Gunther Plaut of Toronto that synagogues and churches give up their tax-free status so that they could become politically active. There is no reason why a religious leader should not be able to proclaim from his pulpit his support or opposition to a politician’s candidacy, Dr. Plaut declared.
Dr. Zwi Werblowsky, dean of the humanities faculty of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, criticized American campus rebels whom he contrasted with Israeli students. He suggested that the American students were in revolt against their educational system because they were “pampered products” of an affluent society and had no other outlets for their energies. Israeli students, he said, have a greater cause than “student power”–the survival of their nation. “This emergency leaves little time for other pastimes.” Dr. Werblowsky said.
The conference itself was the target of criticism by one of the delegates because of the absence of representatives of the poor, the young and the racially oppressed from deliberations addressed to their problems. Norman J. Johnson, director of Community Action, of Pittsburgh, said, “what right do we have to talk about them? They are not here, because among all our Ph.D.’s and D.D.’s and rabbis, we think we are too great to have them.”