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Hertzberg Warns Jews of U.s., Israel Against Security Hopes in Either Left or Right Regimes

Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, the president of the American Jewish Congress, warned here tonight that the security of the Jews in America and in Israel could not be achieved by any permanent alliance with either the left or the right. Speaking at the opening session of the tenth annual American-Israel Dialogue at the Van Leer Jerusalem Foundation, the Englewood, N.J. rabbi declared that “Jews are safest in the non-doctrinaire, non-ideological regimes.”

He added that when revolutions of both right and left try to remake men to fit their image they “always find the Jew to be obdurate and peculiar.” Rabbi Hertzberg, who is also a Columbia University history professor, assailed the “thesis of left-wing opinion that revolutionary change towards a new social order will inevitably make an end of anti-Semitism.” The AJ Congress-sponsored dialogue annually brings together some 40 leading American Jewish and Israeli scholars. The theme this year is “Jews and Revolutionary Forces.”

Rabbi Hertzberg added that modern revolutionary dogma has maintained that the Jew was “irretrievably alien and even dangerous and that the new world of the future had to safeguard itself by excluding him.” He said “it not at all surprising that the State of Israel has not succeeded in convincing the third world that it is the forerunner of contemporary post-colonial national development.”

But he also criticized Jews in Israel and in the United States who “overreacted” and moved radically to the right. He said that “right-wing regimes are no friendlier to Israel than the new dictatorships of the left.” He added that “in the United States, there is some reason to suspect that reactionary forces are quite consciously willing to offer much of the Jewish position in American society to other ethnics–not only Blacks–so that those who really control the American economy will be left relatively untouched.”

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