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In expressing the ADL’s “overwhelming support” for the Forest Hills project, Peirez charged that its opponents “have been agitated out of all proportion into baseless fears that their neighborhoods will be destroyed,” and added “High crime and violence are problems for the police, not for housing developers.” He concluded: “Time will prove the wisdom of providing decent housing in decent neighborhoods for those who have been virtually disenfranchised in our country.”

Dr. Abraham Joshua Heschel, the theologian, told the ADL’s 58th annual meeting that the housing project “was mishandled by the city administration,” which “showed a complete lack of understanding and bungled the situation.” The educator added that while American Jewry must be active in the civil rights fight, it was not its responsibility to “take the lead.” Most of Forest Hills’ population is Jewish.

Also yesterday, 16 community organizations of Queens and Long Island, led by Rabbi I. Usher Kirshblum, past president of the Queens Rabbinical Assembly, endorsed the housing project as “a moral issue” that should not be “decided by a majority or minority vote.”

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