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Ncrac Says Some Protestant Church Groups Help Spread Notion That Israel is ‘obdurate’

The National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council charged yesterday that some major Protestant church groups, whose overseas missionary activities play a dominant role in shaping church policy, were among the “major vendors” of the notions that Israel is “inflexible and obdurate” about a Middle East peace settlement. The charge was made in an assessment of international issues at the closing session of the NCRAC’s 25th annual conference.

The 250 delegates representing the group’s nine national and 82 local Jewish organizations also found “widespread emotionalism” among the American public over such issues as the plight of Arab refugees and the administration of Jerusalem “but little general knowledge of the basic political, territorial and security issues between Israel and the Arabs.”

The group said for example that Soviet-Arab propaganda has systematically distorted the intent of the Security Council’s Nov. 22, 1967 Mideast resolution so that many Americans were not aware that the document was not self-implementing but called for negotiations by the conflicting parties toward a comprehensive settlement. The NCRAC attributed the “explicit and sometimes strident” pro-Arab, anti-Israel sentiments of some Protestant groups to their upper-echelon administrative executives.

On the situation of Jews in Soviet Russia, the NCRAC said there were indications that the Kremlin was not insensitive to the pressure of world opinion. It noted Soviet toleration of open demonstrations of interest in Judaism on the part of young Russian Jews, the availability of matzoh for the Passover holidays and last year’s visit of Moscow rabbi Yehuda Leib Levin to the U.S. with official consent. The NCRAC urged the Jewish community to keep up its public agitation, particularly for the fulfillment of Premier Alexei Kosygin’s 1966 promise to permit Soviet Jews to emigrate in order to be reunited with their families.

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