Sees Parallel Problems Njcrac Chairman Urges Stronger Partnership Between Israelis American Jews
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Sees Parallel Problems Njcrac Chairman Urges Stronger Partnership Between Israelis American Jews

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The need for a stronger partnership between the Jewish communities of Israel and America is pointed up by the parallels between the social problems of the two communities, the annual plenary of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council was told here today.

Albert E. Arent of Washington, D.C. NJCRAC chairman, cited Israel’s urban crisis, integration problems and church-state disputes as “familiar echoes” of Jewish community relations issues in the United States. Elected to a third one-year term as chairman at the plenary closing session, he told the 300 delegates that both communities had much to gain from “a partnership to share experiences and insights from our respective histories as dynamic Jewish communities.” He expressed criticism of Israeli Jews who still “regard diaspora communities as merely sources of aliya and of aid and support.” He added he was “appalled” by the “depth of ignorance among so many Israelis about the American Jewish community-its structure, diversity, dynamism, achievements and failures.”

The implication, he added, is that Israelis educators believe that Jewish communities outside of Israel do not “merit inclusion” in Israeli education planning. He said “this troubles me deeply because the Jewish future is not only in Israel but in all the vital centers of Jewish life that will survive.”

In proposing a partnership which would “freely and openly exchange opinions, criticisms and suggestions,” he stressed that “neither” would be “a silent partner.” He said that the American Jewish community could gain from study of how Israel “is trying to speed upward economic and social mobility of her depressed Jews” and that perhaps Israel could “learn something from us about the integration of minorities.” Similarly, he said, “the Jewishness of the State does not insulate it against clashes with religion,” and Israel “might also learn from the development of the pluralistic American Jewish community in which the several wings of Judaism” have “accommodated to their differences.”

It was announced here that the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago was unanimously elected to membership in the NJCRAC, the 93rd community to join with its nine national Jewish organizations in the activities of the coordinating agency.


A policy statement approved at an earlier session denounced as “irresponsible and reprehensible” any “alarmist assertions” that a massive wave of anti-Semitism was likely to confront the American Jewish community. While the statement did not refer by name to the Jewish Defense League, It was understood to represent a sharp repudiation of publicized statements by the JDL and its leader, Rabbi Meir Kahane, of an impending “American holocaust.”

The Jewish leaders declared that “in no place and at no time in modern history have Jews as a group been more secure than in the United States in the present generation.”


The delegates were told yesterday that the genocide convention, shelved by the US Senate for more than 23 years, will be up for a floor vote this fall with ratification likely. David M. Blumberg, president of B’nai B’rith, told the session that the B’nai B’rith had been advised that Senate majority leader Mike Mansfield was “favorably disposed” toward bringing up the long-stalled measure during the current Congressional session.

Blumberg told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he had written Mansfield to commend him for his initiative and leadership in support of the convention as a significant contribution toward setting “a higher standard of international morality and law.” Many of the NJCRAC’s constituent national organizations and local community relations councils have been seeking ratification of the convention for more than two decades.

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