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Karasick Sees No Conspiracy in Crimes Against Jews in Slum Areas

A national Jewish leader declared here that verbal and physical assaults against Jews and Jewish property in slum areas constituted a problem of crime in the streets and “not an anti-Semitic conspiracy.” But he warned that a conflict was developing in Negro-Jewish relations which required serious consideration from the Jewish community. Joseph Karasick, national president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, voiced those views to some 2,000 delegates and guests at the 70th anniversary national biennial convention of that central representative organization for some 3,000 Orthodox congregations throughout the United States and Canada.

Mr. Karasick said Jews throughout the U.S. felt a special concern over one phase of the recent public school teachers strike in New York City — elements of anti-Semitism in the conflict between black parents and teachers in the experimental Ocean Hill-Brownsville school district in Brooklyn and the United Federation of Teachers. He added that Orthodox Jews “in poverty areas are the targets of rioting and synagogues on the borders between black and white communities are the targets of stonings and bombings.” Mr. Karasick said one source of Negro Jewish differences is that anti-poverty program, while far below needs are sufficiently effective so that “the American Negro is finally beginning, in increasing numbers, to move up the competitive ladder.” Like the Jew before him, Mr. Karasick added, the Negro is discovering that one good way to combat job bigotry is to go where his hard won job skills are “measured on their merits — the civil service.” He said the areas in which the ghetto Negro was most likely to meet the Jew was in public school teaching and social casework areas in which competitive examinations are the door to admission, in these areas the Negro, “scrambling at long last up the ladder,” sees the Jew in his way. He said the Jew already sees the aspiring Negro as a professional threat, particularly when proposals are made seriously that “blacks should get special consideration in easing of professional requirements for jobs.”

These negative aspects of black attitudes toward Jews, Mr. Karasick emphasized, must not be used as an excuse for Jews to “withdraw from the struggle for a more decent society” for all minorities.

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