Black-jewish Alliance in Jeopardy
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Black-jewish Alliance in Jeopardy

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Opposing points of view on preferential treatment and quotas in education and hiring were expressed by speakers at a luncheon session of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League’s four day annual meeting here today. The topic was “Black-Jewish Relations” and the speakers agreed that the fate of Blacks and Jews were intertwined but that their alliance, born of a common experience of racial discrimination, was being jeopardized by opposite views on quotas and preferential treatment.

Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint, associate professor of psychiatry at the Harvard University Medical School, who is Black acknowledged that “there is still a correlation between being anti-Black and anti-Semitic,” and observed, “We can and should help each other, not fight each other.” But he defended “the modification of job and college admissions criteria” as “partly an attempt to be fair and objective” and “not necessarily preferential treatment.”

Dore Schary, honorary chairman of the ADL, said the need was for extra preparation in primary schools, high schools and colleges so that more Blacks can find room at the top; loosening the hardening resistance of certain labor organizations to Black aspirations; and the building of more schools and fewer bombs by the government.


Schary maintained that Jews and Blacks must rid themselves of stereotypic notions of one another. “Blacks must realize that Jews have been their strongest and most understanding companions against the waves of hatred,” he said. He listed a long series of ADL activities in the fight against racism dating back over many years to which he said “the Black press has paid inadequate attention.”

Among these Schary mentioned organization of the first national conference of educators on desegregation after the 1954 Supreme Court decision; development of the first supplementary text material for use in schools to educate Blacks about Black history; organization of the first national conferences on industry and the racial crisis and race and the news media; and leadership in the passage of the first fair employment law and the first fair housing law in the nation.

The ADL’s position on preferential treatment and quotas was explained by Maxwell Greenberg, a Los Angeles attorney who is vice-chairman of the ADL’s national executive committee. He said the agency “advocates and supports” the elimination of non-job related tests and seeks affirmative action in the form of compensatory education, in service training, retraining and special counseling. He added, however, “In all our years in the fight against racial and religious discrimination, we have insisted that individual ability must be the criterion.”

Dr. Poussaint stated that past alliances between Blacks and Jews were “important to our mutual advancement in America.” He said that when principles held by one minority conflict with those of another, “the difference must not be allowed to jeopardize long-standing agreements about other things…we must not destroy the potential for greater coalitions, needed now more than ever in this time of moral decay.”

Dr. Poussaint, however, took issue with the ADL’s approach and declared that “more than the removal of legal barriers is needed” to assure the entry of Blacks into the mainstream of society

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