Convention of American Jewish Congress Voices Demands to Washington
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Convention of American Jewish Congress Voices Demands to Washington

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The American Jewish Congress ended its national biennial convention here today by electing a new president, Dr. Joachim Prinz of Newark, N. J. , and calling for stronger action by the Washington Administration in civil rights and support of Israel. Dr. Prinz succeeds Dr. Israel Goldstein.

In a series of resolutions, the convention:

1. Urged the Federal Bureau of Investigation to probe recent bombings and violence in the South, and recommended support of a bill that would remove all doubt of Federal jurisdiction in such cases;

2. Asked President Eisenhower to abandon his “neutral attitude” toward the 1954 segregation decision of the Supreme Court and to take vigorous steps to protect the right to vote and to attend schools regardless of race, color or creed;

3. Called upon the United States to take the lead in solving the Arab refugee problem by pressing for “resettlement of the bulk of the refugees in the sparsely populated lands of their Arab kinsmen.”

4. Suggested that the U.S. make a public declaration guaranteeing the territorial integrity of Israel and the Arab states in the Middle East against aggression and should press for direct peace talks between Israel and the Arab states;

5. Asked for U.S. help in appealing to Iron Curtain countries to allow Jewish cultural life in those lands and to permit emigration of Jews to Israel for other lands if they wish to leave;

6. Hailed the tenth anniversary of the State of Israel and urged that American Jews redouble their material and moral support of the Jewish State;

7. Affirmed its “uncompromising adherence” to the principle of strict separation of church and state. “We oppose religious education in the public schools no matter what form or guise it may assume,” the resolution stated;

8. Opposed financial aid by Federal, state or municipal governments to religious groups, “either directly or indirectly” and expressed its opposition to compulsory Sunday laws;

9. Attacked government acquiescence in the Arab boycott which it said was aimed at making American Jews “second-class citizens.” The Congress resolution asked that all U.S. treaties and Executive Agreements forbid racial or religious discrimination against American citizens;

10. Pledged full support for anti-discrimination laws and programs as well as educational campaigns to wipe out de facto segregation of Negroes in public schools in the North.


In his acceptance speech, Dr. Prinz said that the most important and the most difficult problems facing world Jewry today concerns the 3,500,000 Jews living behind the Iron Curtain. He urged American Jews to play a “significant role” in growing efforts aimed at allowing Jews in Soviet Russia, Rumania and other Eastern European lands to “freely develop” their cultural life where they live and to emigrate to Israel if they want to.

The new AJC president noted that during the organization’s five-day convention, Egyptian dictator Nasser had completed his visit to Communist Russia. The Khrushchev-Nasser summary of that visit highlights the “failure of American policy in the Middle East,” Rabbi Prinz said.

Calling for wide and full participation by American Jews “toward the fulfillment of the American dream,” Dr. Prinz said: “The Jewish people do not live in a ghetto either of geography or mentality. We call for integration of the Jewish people-a deep understanding of himself as a Jew, full participation in the life of America and a sense of kinship with Jews all over the world and Israel.”

The convention was addressed last night by Burmese Ambassador U. Thant, who said that “no one can in the long run prevent the acceptance of Israel as an equal member in the Asian family of nations.” Other speakers included Israel Ambassador Abba S. Eban and Michigan’s Gov. G. Mennen Williams.

Judge Justine Wise Polier was re-elected chairman of the executive committee of the Congress. Dr. Goldstein was named honorary president.

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