B’nai B’rith Conclave Told That Jews Should Take Initiative on Anti-semitism when It Appears Locally
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B’nai B’rith Conclave Told That Jews Should Take Initiative on Anti-semitism when It Appears Locally

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The more than 1,000 persons attending the biennial conference of B’nai B’rith International here were told today that they should take the initiative in combatting anti-Semitism when it appears in their area. “There is no greater impact in fighting this poison than on the local level,” Abraham Foxman, associate national director of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith said. He said if they waited for action from a national or international Jewish organization it could be too late.

Foxman urged Jews to respond to editorials or articles that they considered incorrect or defamatory during a discussion on “Is anti-Semitism a growing threat in the world.” Also participating were Alfredo Newberger, executive vice president of B’nai B’rith District 20 in South America, and David Lack, the B’nai B’rith and World Jewish Congress representative in Geneva.

The convention, which started last night, ends Thursday with addresses from both President Reagan and his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Walter Mondale.

Both Foxman and Newberger also stressed that by working with non-Jewish groups in their localities Jews can help in “sensitizing ” them for the time when a crisis does occur.


But Foxman decried the fact that it is not until Jews speak out that others protest against incidents of anti-Semitism. As an example, he noted that it was Jews who first denounced the anti-Semitic remarks of the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan before they were condemned by others.

Lack stressed that Jewish organizations have to do more to pressure European countries to oppose the anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist attacks in the U.S. He said it should be pressed in every city where west European countries have embassies or consulates.


In South America, Newberger said the growth of democracy in such countries as Argentina and Brazil have made it necessary for the Jewish community there to find more “subtle” means of combatting anti-Semitism on the right and the anti-Zionism of left wing groups. He said Jews in South America have had experience in dealing with a totalitarian country and now must meet the new threats that have emerged in democratic countries.

Newberger also noted that there is a growing presence of the Palestine Liberation Organization in South America which is causing concern to the Jewish communities there. He pointed to the recently held Federation of Palestinian Entities of Latin America in Brazil.

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