U.S. Jews Urged to Speak out on Issues That Concern Them

Jewish community leaders, attending the quarterly meeting of the Council of Jewish Federations (CJF) here, were urged to speak out strongly on issues that concern them. The strength of local Jewish activity is “one element the Arabs can never match,” Albert Chemin, executive vice chairman of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (NJCRAC) stressed. He said the Jewish community must state its position in such a way as to include others in American society “who may agree with our positions.” He said the function of the organized Jewish community “is to register the intensity of feeling on certain issues” of concern to the community.

Mark Talisman, director of the CJF’s Washington office, said that if Jewish groups are silent, they created a vacuum in Washington which other experienced groups are ready to fill. “You have nothing to fear from exercising this government,” he said. “Citizenship is a full time occupation. You get exactly the government you deserve.”

Jay Berman, a public relations consultant, said that the American public has to be sensitized to realize the closeness between American and Israeli interests as the 1980 Presidential election approaches. If President Carter puts forward a Middle East peace plan inimical to Israel, Jews should be in “the same position” as in 1975 when Congress voiced disapproval over the “reassessment” of American Mideast policy by President Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, he said.

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