LOS ANGELES (Jun. 29)
The annual plenary of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council strongly endorsed today government-administered “affirmative action” guidelines to equalize employment and educational opportunities for racial and ethnic minorities. But it also, following a floor debate of almost four hours, condemned the use of “preferential quotas” in anti-discrimination programs.
The NJCRAC policy declaration also endorsed the setting of “specific target goals and timetables, not determined by population percentages” as acceptable forms of “affirmative action” so long as the goal and timetables are used “to evaluate good-faith efforts and not as rigid requirements.”
The action reflected, in large measure, an effort by the Jewish groups to balance their traditional advocacy of anti-discrimination policies against what many of the 300 delegates here regard as serious threats of “reverse discrimination” affecting Jews. The NJCRAC declaration supported such government-financed action as compensatory education, training and re-training, apprenticeship job counseling and placement, welfare assistance and other forms of help to the disadvantaged. “The sole criterion of eligibility for such special services must be individual need; the services must not be limited or offered preferentially” on a racial, religious or ethnic basis.
The NJCRAC, which represents nine national Jewish organizations and 92 community relations councils, took no position on the issue of busing per se. But the delegates chided the anti-busing forces for engaging in “exaggerated political rhetoric” that “tended to distort the facts, inflame passions and impede rational analysis.”
They noted that the “exaggerations” included the claim that busing for desegregation would result in “massive” transportation costs whereas only one percent of the $200 million spent on busing during the past school year went for desegregation. The delegates indicated that they backed busing “when it is the most effective peaceable way to attain desirable educational ends, including desegregation.” But the plenary sympathized with the “reluctance” of some Jewish parents “to see their children transferred to schools that are substandard” under desegregation plans. “It is not enough,” the plenary concluded, “to say that children should not be transferred to bad schools. Children who are in bad schools now should not be left there either.”
President Salvador Allende received two Chilean Jewish community leaders in Santiago Wednesday and heard their plea for his intervention on behalf of persecuted Syrian Jews. The leaders. Gil Sinay, president of the Jewish Central Committee of Chile and Leon Tichimino, president of the Chilean Zionist Federation, described the meeting afterwards as “very cordial.” There will be no bulletin July 4.