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Protestant Leader Says Mideast Conflict Should Not Hurt Jewish-christian Relations

The president of a two million-member Protestant denomination warned here today that the Arab-Israel conflict in the Middle East must not be permitted to injure relations between Jews and Christians in the United States “no matter to which side our sympathies may be directed.” The Rev. Ben M. Herbster, of New York City, speaking at the ninth annual assembly of the United Church of Christ, said, “We must understand and sympathize with the earnest concern of men for their co-religionists whose welfare and lives are threatened by violence and the possibilities of renewed warfare.”

Dr. Herbster also expressed regret at the growing charges and counter-charges between Jews and Negroes. “I am troubled by irresponsible charges that Jews are limiting the freedom and opportunity of black men, and the angry retorts that the great majority of black men are anti-Semitic.” Dr. Herbster said. He noted that Jews have been “in the forefront of the fight for equality” and said he did not believe any large numbers of blacks “think of Jews other than as neighbors and friends.”