NEW YORK (Dec. 19)
The American Jewish Committee today welcomed a statement by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, leader of the Unification Church, in which he condemned anti-Semitism and supported the State of Israel’s right to a secure existence. Rabbi Marc H. Tanenbaum, national director of the AJ Committee’s interreligious affairs department, said the statement, which appeared as a full-page advertisement in today’s New York Times, Is a “constructive response to the issues raised in our recent study of” Moon’s book the “Divine Principle.”
However, Tanenbaum added, “Nevertheless, we hope the Rev. Moon’s assertion that the Unification movement ‘categorically condemns anti-Semitism, form of hatred’ will lead to a conscientious effort to reform and revise the sources of anti-Semitism in the basic teachings of the Unification movement.”
The AJ Committee in a study released at its national executive council meeting in Dallas earlier this month, accused Moon of “unrelieved hostility to Jews and Judaism” and described his teachings as a “breeding ground for fostering anti-Semitism.” Tanenbaum’ said today that the AJ Committee has accepted an invitation from the Unification Theological Seminary to discuss these issues.
CRITICAL OF ‘DIVINE PRINCIPLE’
Moon, in his statement, attributed the murder of six million Jews in the Holocaust to “political short-sightedness and lack of moral responsibility on the part of Germany’s political and religious leaders, and statesmen from among other nations, in the period between the two world wars.”
Tanenbaum noted that “while these factors cannot be denied, the groundwork for the Holocaust was laid centuries before that, and the destruction of European Jewry cannot be viewed apart from the centuries-long traditions of anti-Semitism which dehumanized Jews, heaped contempt upon them and justified their persecution on ‘religious’ grounds. The reference to Jews and Judaism documented in the AJ Committee study of the ‘Divine Principle’ conformed to that tradition and bolstered it.”
Tanenbaum said “if Rev. Moon is sincere in extending his hand of friendship to the Jewish people and Israel, we urge him to re-examine the negative and hostile teachings in ‘Divine Principle’ and to temper his sweeping accusation of collective sin and guilt in the light of recent biblical scholarship and the precedents established by major church groups.”
Moon in his statement also said his Unification movement “recognizes and divine and natural right of the Jewish people to physical survival and preservation of its specific religious traditions” and supported the right of Soviet Jews to emigrate to Israel.
JDL HOPES TO ECLIPSE MOON
Meanwhile, the Jewish Defense League announced today that it will embark on a program of helping parents get back their children who have been lost to Moon’s movement. The JDL said it “will now make the destruction of Rev. Moon’s movement and the Unification Church a priority in as much as the organized Jewish community has failed to do so. Thousands of Jewish youths have been lost to Rev. Moon and the JDL will no longer sit by while this happens.”
The initial move by the JDL took place this afternoon as some 100 militants lead by Rabbi Meir Kahane staged a demonstration against Moon at the New Yorker Hotel in midtown Manhattan, the headquarters of the Unification Church. They carried placards stating: “Save Jewish Youth”; “Unification Church is hell, led by satan Moon”; “We will not stand idly by while our brothers’ souls are brainwashed”; and “Kill hate.”