Jews Live in Fear of Disaster As Urban Decay Continues to Spread

A national labor leader expressed the view yesterday that as urban America becomes more embattled, polluted and economically unsound, Jews in both central cities and suburbs will increasingly live in fear of disaster. Gus Tyler, assistant president of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, AFL-CIO, made that prediction in a paper presented to the American Jewish Committee executive council meeting. He also said that they can help avert that disaster by redoubling their efforts to help set the nation and cities on the right track.

Tyler said that the American Jew is “especially affected by agonies of urban America today.” He said Jews, like other minorities, “are likely to be most abused when dominant people need a scapegoat to blame for national humiliation or to divert attention from misrule; when things are in short supply and the Jews and other minorities are a burdensome excess; and when the Jews appear to stand in the way of economically aspiring frustrated non-Jews.”

LATENT ANTI-SEMITISM FESTERING

At another session, William Haber, economics professor in the University of Michigan, said that “continuous and growing campaigns of anti-Zionism, anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism, feeding on anti-Americanism will increasingly trouble Jews of western Europe in this decade unless there is a Middle East settlement.” He told the luncheon session that in many western European countries, “latent anti-Semitism remains widespread and will doubtless respond to active agents.” His comments were based on reports by Louis Henkin, professor of international law diplomacy at Columbia University. Haber is chairman of an AJCommittee task force on the world of the 1970s formed last year.

He said there would be no world war or major war during the 1970s but added that such dangers were involved in areas where interests and intentions of major powers are ambiguous, citing the Mideast as one such area. He said the People’s Republic of China might try to frustrate agreement in the Mideast “and try to maneuver the Soviet Union and the United States into war.” Haber stated that the American Jewish community should try to help keep the US “firm and Israel flexible” and to try to persuade Israel “it must take risks and the United States that it must make some commitments.”

Haber said he did not expect any substantial change in the situation of Jews in the USSR and that he felt security of Jews in western Europe would remain unimpaired. He said prospects for political stability in Latin American nations were dim and the fate of Latin American Jewry uncertain. He noted that their institutions were plagued by lack of leadership and manpower and by economic difficulties.

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