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Rabbi Prinz Critical of Look Magazine Article in Which He is Extensively Quoted

An article on “The Agonized American Jews” in the new issue of Look magazine has been scored as “superficial” and “terribly distorted” by Dr. Joachim Prinz, past president of the American Jewish Congress, who is extensively quoted in it. “They misquote me terribly,” Dr. Prinz told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today, adding that on the basis of previous experience with Look he assumed he would see the text of the article before publication. The three page piece, by senior editor Gerald Astor, appears in the magazine’s April 20 issue, out tomorrow. Dr. Prinz said Astor did not tape-record their three-hour interview. The rabbi advised the JTA that the printed version of his remarks about the Jewish Defense League was “milder than I meant.” He is quoted as saying: “The Jewish Defense League is something Freud would have described as psychopathology. It is sick, ludicrously ineffective, trying to imitate a philosophy of violence that is not only inimical to Jews but utterly alien. It grew out of a sick reaction to the black revolution. Auschwitz created the slogan of the JDL, ‘Never Again.’ It is based on the assumption that if the Jews had done something about Hitler, six million wouldn’t have died. The assumption is entirely false. What Jews did learn from Auschwitz is that the home of Beethoven and Bach could kill with impunity.”

Another passage said by Dr. Prinz to be improperly reported is Astor’s sentence that “Even Prime Minister Golda Meir, much to his (Dr. Prinz’s) distress, attempted to draw a parallel between Communist efforts in Indochina and in the Middle East.” The Look writer, Dr. Prinz charged, omitted the substance of his argument, which is that the two wars are “of a different quality,” one involving American intervention and the other involving Soviet intervention. Rabbi Prinz endorsed the section of the article quoting his condemnation of American Jewry, which he said was taken from the text of a recent speech. In the passage he declares: “In terms of Jewish culture, American Jewry is a disaster area. It has not attracted anybody of intellectual stature. The most mediocre people lead. The most illiterate Jewry in the world is in the U.S.A. Our kids know about Martin Luther King’s letter from a Birmingham jail but not about Jeremiah’s letter from jail in Jerusalem. I’m quite desperate about American Jewry.” Astor also reports that Rabbi Prinz in the interview warned that American Jews must not be forced to place their stamp of approval on every action by Israel. According to Astor, Rabbi Prinz told him that American Jewry “must acknowledge Israel as sovereign over itself, not governed by U.S. Jews. And Israel must acknowledge the independence and integrity of American Jewry.” Rabbi Prinz was also quoted as saying: “Because we are close to Israel, we must not be forced to accept every move of Israel as prudent or acceptable. Israel must not be come the manager of American Jewry, but only of its own affairs.” Dr. Prinz, who is nearly 69 and is recuperating from an operation, told the JTA by telephone from his New Jersey summer home that he would send a formal letter of complaint to Look.

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