Farband Calls on Communal Bodies to Seek Jewish Studies Programs in Major Universities

Farband, the Labor Zionist Order, said today that demands of Black and Spanish-speaking students for cultural recognition branded the melting pot theory as “false and bankrupt,” It called on central Jewish communal bodies to seek establishment of programs of Jewish studies in every major university in this country “dealing as much as possible with the totality of Jewish experience.”

The Farband position was spelled out in a position paper written by Levi Soshuk of New York and adopted today by Farband’s national board. The board is the organization’s policy-making body between its quadrennial conventions.

The organization voiced “full support” for equalization of educational facilities for Negroes and other disadvantaged groups and their recognition as distinct ethnical and cultural entities, but it scored methods employed by some militants and denounced “every attempt to establish quotas for the admission of students along national and ethnic lines, no matter how well-intended.”

The organization also objected to proposals to lower academic standards of colleges and universities to permit the intake of those who cannot qualify under present standards. It said that “ways must be found to elevate the education of all disadvantaged students through supportive and remedial programs while maintaining the level which has already been achieved.”

The Farband said it viewed “with alarm” what it described as “the openly avowed purpose to convert the Black studies program into a separatist device, open only to Blacks, controlled by Blacks and directed by Blacks.” It said no university should provide the Negro student with a Black environment “any more than it is feasible or desirable to create on the campus Jewish, Italian, Spanish, Irish or Catholic ghettos.”

Establishment of courses of ethnic studies should “enrich the university curriculum as a whole” the Farband declared, and “promote national harmony by advancing intergroup understanding.” The position paper noted that while there were courses in some universities on Jewish subjects, “in virtually no case do they either constitute a program of Jewish studies or deal with those aspects of Jewish experience so relevant to the present situation.” It proposed that Farband and like-minded organizations make a concerted effort “to give to the emerging Jewish generation the dignity and inner security which can only come with knowledge of the entire organic continuum of Jewish life.”

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