The Jewish community’s most comprehensive umbrella group has staked out its position on affirmative action — and found that despite changes in government and public opinion on the topic, the mainstream Jewish community’s views on affirmative action have not changed in the past two decades
The National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council convened a consultation April 25 to assess whether the positions of its 13 national agency members and 117 local community relations groups had changed on the issue.
After hearing from think-tank commentators and representatives of its own member groups, those present affirmed the policy that NJCRAC first adopted in 1973, which was amended in 1975 and 1981.
That policy supports affirmative action remedies to racial imbalance in both the government and the private sector. But it opposes the use of quotas "as inconsistent with the principle of non-discrimination and the goal of equal opportunity."
The NJCRAC policy encourages compensatory training and education; intensive recruitment of qualified and qualifiable individuals; and an on-going review of established job and admissions requirements.
"The NJCRAC consultation concluded that affirmative action is necessary to provide equality of opportunity for minorities and women, and that efforts to erode programs or to eliminate them altogether should be opposed," Lynn Lyss, the organization’s chair, said after the consultation.
"Today’s action by NJCRAC should leave no doubt that the organized Jewish community remains strongly committed to ensuring equal opportunity," she said.
Representatives of a dozen local community relations councils and seven national agencies took part in the consultation, including: the American Jewish Congress; Anti-Defamation League; Jewish Labor Committee; National Council of Jewish Women; ORT; Orthodox Union; and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
Presenters included Bill Taylor, a vice president of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and Clint Bolick, who represented the Washington-based conservative think tank Institute for Justice.