American Jewish Congress Bids Jews Intensify Role in Meeting Urban Crisis

The American Jewish Congress voted Sunday to launch a nationwide drive aimed at “a re-ordering of national priorities to end the intolerable burdens of poverty and urban ghetto life.” In a resolution adopted at the final session of a weekend meeting marking its 50th anniversary, the organization called upon the Jews of America “to make the greatest contribution possible toward meeting the challenge of the Negro community in its demand for full justice and equality.”

The statement acknowledged that the “urgent demands of Negroes today pose a particular challenge for American Jews who for the most part live and work in cities. For Jews, the challenge is not one of abstract justice but one that has immediate bearing on the schools to which our children go, the neighborhoods in which we live, our places of work, our employment, and our professional careers. The inherent difficulties created by this challenge have been intensified by the injection of Negro anti-Semitism by some Negro militants as a means of arousing hatred,” the resolution noted. “In turn, this self-defeating hate tactic has been exploited by some whites to arouse fear and resistance to change among Jews, for whom the living memory of Hitlerism is still tragically alive. Neither Jew nor Negro can be helped to achieve freedom by the use and exploitation of anti-Semitism or anti-Negroism which only serve to strengthen those who oppose freedom and equality for all America.”

The delegates adopted a four-point program to involve the membership more closely in anti-poverty and community action projects. It will be headed by Prof. Leonard Fein of Boston, associate director of the Harvard-MIT joint center for urban studies, who has just been appointed chairman of the Congress committee on community inter-relations.

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