New York (Oct. 31)
With the possible exception of the Black community, no group of people in this country is so persistently misunderstood and stereotyped as American Jewry, Family Judge Jacob T. Zuckerman told 500 delegates attending the biennial national convention of the Jewish Labor Committee. Judge Zuckerman of New York, who was elected today president of the JLC, stated that American Jews are confronted on all sides, “and even in our own community, by a barrage of myths, half-truths, truths ripped out of context and undigested data about the characteristics of American Jews.”
The newly elected president who had been vice-president of the JLC, told a symposium on Jewish life in America that the result of these myths and half-baked truths is that the image America has of its Jewish citizens – and the image Jews very often have of themselves – “is confused, self-contradictory and fragmentary.”
Judge Zuckerman, who succeeds Charles S. Zimmerman, vice-president of the international Ladies Garment Workers Union, AFL-CIO, is also president of the Jewish Daily Forward Association and radio station WEVD. He is the JLC delegate to the National Jewish Community Relations Council and past president of the National Conference of Jewish Communal Service Workers.
In his address, Judge Zuckerman refuted claims that American Jews have reached the zenith of affluence in this country or had moved into the higher realms of the middle class neglecting their historic ties to the labor movement and had abandoned social causes. “The great distortion in this overall image of Jewish affluence is that it has led to a gross neglect of the Jewish poor in America,” he said.
The effect of this distortion, he noted, has been “particularly insidious.” Because the Jewish poor exist in the context of what appears to be general affluence, “the tendency among major Jewish organizations has been to either ignore them altogether, or to deal with their problems as primarily personal or psychiatric in nature,” he declared. He deplored attempts to place Jewish poverty “in a neatly packaged psychiatric box which isolates them from the rest of the community and which treats their economic difficulties as incidental to their suffering,” Judge Zuckerman said.
In another statement, he called on the People’s Republic of China “to pledge to the United Nations that she will no longer supply arms and military advisors to the Arab countries,” and urged that the Peking regime “recall her military advisors to the El Fatah and other terrorist groups.”
Earlier, the delegates heard Emanuel Muravchik, executive director of the JLC, score the State Department “game plan” in the Middle East. Muravchik said that his organization was opposed to the Nixon policies of trading off “its support of Israel for Soviet concessions in eastern Asia or western Europe or for Arab oil or international support.” He underscored his organization’s support for Israel’s security.