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South African Jewish Leader Calls Community ‘self-centered’

A Jewish community leader has warned here that South African Jewry is less vulnerable to anti-Semitism than to criticism that it is parochial and “self-centered.” Hymie Wolfe, outgoing chairman of the Cape Committee of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies said at its biennial general meeting that there was a need for the Jewish community to re-think its attitudes on South Africa’s racial problem.

“As part of the white population, we no longer face anti-Semitism to any extent,” he said. “The new threat that faces us is the criticism that Jews and Jewish organizations are self-centered, self-defensive and self-promoting–that we are only interested in Jewish problems and that we are not participating in the solution of the human and social problems of our time, that we remain aloof from all those movements which are trying to combat racism wherever it appears.”

Wolfe said that the country is undergoing a period of rapid political and socioeconomic changes and Jewish organizations should be more alive to them.

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