NEW YORK (Dec. 21)
At a meeting at the headquarters of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, the Rev. Bailey Smith, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and his colleagues, and Maxwell Greenberg, ADL chairman, Nathan Perlmutter, ADL director, and the leadership of the ADL, held an open and friendly conversation last Thursday on the subject of Smith’s widely reported comments concerning Jews.
Smith expressed deep regret for any hurt to the Jewish community and said he stands with them for an American pluralistic society and against anti-Semitism. He also said that if he had it to do over, knowing how it would be misinterpreted, he would not have mode those statements. He said he has distinctive theological beliefs that he cannot compromise, but he stands with the Jewish community for total religious liberty.
The parties agreed that: they abhor, condemn and reject anti-Semitism; both groups reaffirmed their commitment to their basic theological beliefs without rancor or rejection of each other; and both groups have been the victims of religious persecution and, even to this day, suffer persecution in the Soviet Union and other parts of the world.
For those reasons, the ADL reported, they agreed to establish a joint working relationship in which Baptists and Jews will explore and plan improved methods of communication. It is contemplated that various programs will be continued and initiated with conferences, seminars, academic interchanges, preparation of joint materials and other means for each community to learn more about the other.