Aj Committee Chief Says U.S. Jews See Leadership Subordinating Jewish Interests

The executive vice president of the American Jewish Committee warned here today of signs that many American Jews “are beginning to feel that their national leadership is more concerned with bettering intergroup relations than with protecting the interests of the Jewish community.” Bertram H. Gold made his remarks in an address to the AJ Committee’s national executive board in which he cited growing fears by Jews of Negro militancy and the increasing “polarization” of U.S. society as being among the matters of greatest current concern to the American Jewish community.

Many Jews. Mr. Gold said, feel that they are the particular targets” of the tensions and conflicts of the urban-racial conflicts. “The social disorganization of the black slums and changing neighborhoods has directly affected the merchants, social workers, small businessmen, civil service employes, teachers, cab drivers, doctors and others who provide services in those areas,” Mr. Gold said. “Though we must reject demands for withdrawal from the civil rights struggle, the AJ Committee’s leadership would not be fulfilling its function if we were to ignore the legitimate fears and apprehensions of Jews who are victimized by violence and affected by the demands for greater power by the Negro community at the expense of hard won gains made by many individual Jews.” Mr. Gold said.

At another session of the executive board meeting. Richard Maass, head of an AJ Committee mission that just returned from South America, reported that the Catholic Church there generally has failed to put into effect the so-called Jewish declaration adopted by the Vatican Council in 1965. The declaration denied the validity of the age-old charge of decide against Jews. Mr. Maass, who spent two weeks in Argentina and Brazil, said “the wall of conservatism has not been breached in many places” in the Catholic Church and “progress in the area of interfaith relations has been agonizingly slow.” He said that was so “possibly because the Church has more pressing problems on its hands today and possibly because of a lack of interest among Church leaders.”

Mr. Maass said that latent anti-Semitism exists everywhere in South America even though each country has differences in governmental structure, social and economic development and degree of Jewish integration into the general community. He said it stemmed from ignorance about Jews and Judaism in an overwhelmingly Catholic culture, lack of progress in solving internal problems and the identification of Israel with “imperialism” in some circles, and of Jews with Israel.

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