Rza Denies Bid to Agnew Meant Political ‘switch’

The Religious Zionists of America denied today that its invitation to Vice President Spiro Agnew to address its annual dinner here June 15 was politically motivated or symbolized “any switch of political loyalties on the part of the Jewish community.” The denial, by RZA president Rabbi Bernard A. Poupko, was issued in response to a June 21 column by the syndicated columnists Robert Evans and William Novak who claimed that the RZA’s choice of guest speaker indicated that Jewish groups were spurning the Democrats, a party which in the past has enjoyed wide Jewish support.

Rabbi Poupko said the allegation “conveyed both an erroneous and a damaging impression that our movement was politically motivated in our choice of guest speaker.” He said the RZA had no alliances, publicized or unpublicized with political parties. Rabbi Poupko explained that the choice of the Vice President as guest speaker was made at the request of the guest of honor at the annual dinner, Samuel P. Mandell, vice president of the Food Fair chain, who is a long-time friend of Agnew.

Anti-Semitic vandals overturned 20 tombstones in the Bnai Moshe Cemetery in Royal Oak, a suburb of Detroit, over the weekend and left a mass of anti-Semitic literature on the site, Rabbi Moses Lehrman of Bnai Moshe reported. He likened the vandalism to acts of the Hitler era.

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