Jewish Leader Warns That Reagan Budget Cuts Could Ignite Manifestations of Anti-semitism

– Budget cuts being proffered by the Reagan Administration may ignite anti-Semitic manifestations, especially by youth looking for scapegoats, the president of the world’s largest Jewish labor fraternal order declared here.

Dr. Israel Kugler, president of the Workmen’s Circle, told a public affairs leadership conference yesterday that “just as red-necks in the South looked for scapegoats and found them in the black community, so, economically depressed young people will, as they have done historically, look for a target of violence. Tragically the Jew becomes a prime target.”

“The brush fires of anti-Semitic violence that have been witnessed throughout the United States and abroad,” he said, “may have a common match. They are fueled by hate propaganda manufactured in the Soviet Union and fed to and through the Middle East, especially through the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Polish government cannot hide its role in instigating the infamous March 8th anti-Semitic demonstration. Thanks to the leadership of Solidarity, the Polish people rejected their government’s sordid attempts to revive the dark days of anti-Semitism.”

PROVIDING GRIST FOR THE MILLS OF DISCONTENT

But the Reagan Administration, “by cutback on social programs, by introducing substandard minimum wages for youth, by reducing funds for jobs and cultural programs is just providing grist for the mills of discontent that inevitably stir up those who are looking for scapegoats,” Kugler said.

He declared: “We must take issue with those, even in the Jewish community, who tend to minimize this manifestation of anti-Semitism as isolated acts of a few ‘kooks’. It is difficult to tell the Jews of Argentina that it doesn’t exist, or the Polish Jews that what they heard wasn’t official and that the growing number of incidents of arson and vandalism both here and abroad of Jewish institutions are just ‘accidental.’”

Kugler told the delegates attending the all-day conference, held in conjunction with the Jewish Labor Committee, that “some international consortium of hate may be paying for the distribution of neo-Nazi propaganda in this country, in West Germany, and throughout the world.

“It is high time that some Congressional body started to investigate and lift the financial veil from those who are responsible for acts of terrorism and vandalism at home. Para-military bands of neo-Nazis and KKK groups openly parading and training in uniformed violence cannot be protected by the perverse reference to Constitutional guarantees. We need responsible, effective governmental action now on federal, state, and local levels.”

NEXT STORY