NEW YORK (Jul. 15)
A California rabbi is engaged in a one-man campaign to explain to Christian clergymen and American politicians why American Jews are so insistent in their demands for all-out U.S. support of Israel’s position in the Middle East conflict.
Rabbi Joseph B. Glasser of San Mateo, director of the Northern California and Pacific North-west Regions of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (Reform), embarked on a speaking tour when it became apparent after the June, 1967 Six-Day War that many Christians were puzzled by the emotional reaction of American Jews to that event.
Most Christian groups neither wished for Israel’s demise nor endorsed the Arab position but were “perplexed over the passionate one-sidedness of American Jews” on an issue they considered political rather than religious. Rabbi Glasser said. Their seeming indifference to Israel’s fate created consternation in some Jewish circles which accused the Christian clergy of “silence” while the existence of Israel hung in the balance.
“The fabric of ecumenism became frayed,” Rabbi Glasser said. He noted too that many Congressmen were “beleaguered by mail from Jewish constituents concerned with Israel’s welfare” which was “often harsh and overly demanding.” Rabbi Glasser concluded that Jewish historical and religious attachment to Israel must be explained.
He enlisted the support of Congressman Paul McCloskey from his home district. Through his efforts, Rabbi Glasser was able to meet with Congressmen from Alaska, California, Idaho, Nevada and Washington. He also met with Senator Vance Hartke of Indiana who agreed to address a conference on peace in the Middle East in San Francisco Oct. 18.
Rabbi Glasser himself has spoken before the Northern California Baptist Ministers Association, the Northern California Council of Churches, the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco and the Episcopal Diocese of California. He said the responses from the Congressmen and the Christian clergy were “immediate” and “affirmative.”