LONDON (Jan. 22)
Israel’s existence is not in danger, there is no new holocaust around the corner and the bad conscience which had assailed the world after the holocaust is no longer a factor. These were some of the views stated by Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress, in an assessment of the “new era in Jewish life” given during his address to the Board of Deputies of British Jews in welcoming them into the WJC. The Board of Deputies decided last year to join the WJC.
“We are entering a new era in Jewish life,” he observed, “and I feel it is my duty to issue at this stage some warning about future possible developments. There is no new holocaust around the corner, as some people say, and there is not the slightest danger to the existence of Israel. She may be isolated, perhaps, she may have to make concessions in the near future, but her existence is not in danger.”
The outspoken WJC leader noted during his address Sunday that at the same time the Jewish people in Israel and in the diaspora “must be made aware that the good era for Jewry, which began after World War II, is coming to an end. The bad conscience which had assailed the world after the holocaust is no longer there. A new generation does not feel responsible for the holocaust, or even for the sin of omission in not saving those Jews who could have been saved.”
SYMPTOMS OF NEW SITUATION
The symptoms of the new situation are already visible, Dr. Goldmann stated. The reception given by the United Nations General Assembly to Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat and the behavior of UNESCO towards Israel are two of these symptoms, he observed. In addition, Western democracies are getting weaker and their standard of living is bound to decline. “They are also divided among themselves, arguing and bickering,” Dr. Goldmann said. “The so-called Third World is getting stronger.”
World Jewry must be alive to these changes and to the way they affect Israel and the diaspora, he warned. “In other words, we must evaluate our attitudes and methods of activity to see whether they are still valid. We will find that most of them are not,” he asserted. “We can meet the new situation and enter the new era with some confidence only if we are united as a people.”
Dr. Goldmann refrained from discussing the policy of the Israeli government, noting that “if I can, I will present a full discussion of the policy of Israel’s government at the Sixth Plenary session (of the WJC) next month. The decisions regarding borders, occupied territories and such matters are for the Israelis to take through their elected representatives in the Knesset and their government. And whatever decision they make, it is our duty to support them unreservedly.”
The WJC assembly will take place in Jerusalem, Feb. 3-10. Some 500 delegates from 65 countries will attend the meeting which will be the first world gathering of the WJC since 1966 and the first it has ever held in Israel.