NEW YORK (Jun. 6)
Because the democratic nations with which Jewish survival has been traditionally bound are losing power and influence, Jews must take into account the growing importance of the Communist bloc and the Third World for their future, Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress, said here last night. Dr. Goldmann spoke at the opening session of a four-day semi-annual meeting of the WJC’s Governing Council, attended by delegates from 17 countries.
The Jewish leader said the democratic nations, primarily the US and Western Europe, are losing the dominant position they held up until the first World War. The Communist world, and especially the Soviet Union, has gained enormously in political and military power and the Third World is rising in importance owing to its numerical strength, recently enhanced by the emergence of the Peoples Republic of China into the arena of world affairs, Dr. Goldmann said.
Dr. Goldmann observed that the growing Soviet strength “is especially important for the Jewish people and Israel because of the position it has gained in the Middle East and the Mediterranean.” The WJC president said the two superpowers–US and USSR–may not be able or willing to impose a peace in the area but without some understanding and cooperation between them “it will be most difficult to reach peace between Israel and the Arab states.” Dr. Goldmann said that although no substantial numbers of Jews reside in the Third World countries, “it is important that these states be made familiar with Jewish problems both regarding Israel and Jewish life in the diaspora because of the general significance of their position on many international issues directly or indirectly reflecting Jewish problems.”
The Jewish leader also referred to a major internal transformation within the Jewish community in the democratic states–from a primarily non-conformist element in the forefront of progressive and revolutionary movements to a conformist community “participating in and benefitting from” the established social and political systems of the majority. Dr. Goldmann pointed out that “many of the potentially best of the younger generation are in opposition to the status quo in many countries and by this fact have become estranged from Jewish life and are indifferent to Jewish survival.”
Referring to the relationship between Israel and diaspora Jewry, Dr. Goldmann said it should be based on the mutual responsibility of one for the other; non-interference by diaspora Jews in the affairs of Israel; and recognition by Israel of the autonomy of Jewish communities in the diaspora with regard to the issues affecting Jewish life in the diaspora.