W.j.c. Assembly Closes with Appeal to Jews to Check Assimilation
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W.j.c. Assembly Closes with Appeal to Jews to Check Assimilation

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The 10-day plenary assembly of the World Jewish Congress closed its sessions here tonight with a number of resolutions on vital subjects faced by world Jewry, including relations between Christians and Jews, the problem of Soviet Jewry, Arab-Israel relations and relations between the Jewish people and Germany. The resolutions were supplemented by a “declaratory” statement entitled “An Appeal to the Jewish People,” which read:

“The assembly, deeply concerned with the permanent and grave dangers that assimilation and indifference constitute for the Jewish people, and intensely conscious of the many signs of revival and renewal of Jewish life all over the Diaspora; and responding to the call of the young generation which is searching for Jewish knowledge and Jewish identification; appeals to the Jewish people for the launching of a cultural offensive to face up to the spiritual dilemmas of our day.”

The lengthy WJC deliberations, attended by more than 450 delegates and observers from all over the world, except the Soviet Union, were adjourned after a closing address by Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the global body. The principal resolutions included the following:

Concerning Israel and the Arab states, the assembly took note of Israel’s continuing readiness to enter into peace negotiations with the Arab governments. The assembly addressed an “earnest appeal” to the great powers to take joint or parallel action which will assure the world that neither an imbalance in Middle East arms, nor prospects of new arms deliveries to the region, will encourage military aggression in the area.

In the interests of stability in the Middle East and “indeed, in the world over,” the assembly urged all governments, “irrespective of their political systems,” to facilitate the emigration of those Jews who desire to go to Israel and participate in the building of the Jewish State. Finally, on this subject, the WJC appealed to “all enlightened sectors of the Arab people” to support and strengthen the “sober voices in the Arab world that have courageously called for an effort to reach an understanding between Israel and the “Arab states.”


The resolution dealing with the situation of the Jews in the Soviet Union expressed the WJC’s “distress” over the continuing “cultural and religious discrimination experienced by Soviet Jewry,” and urged the Soviet Government “to re-examine its policies and administrative practices with a view to ensuring that the Jewish minority enjoys the same rights and facilities as are enjoyed by all other minorities in the Soviet Union.”

The assembly voiced a series of requests to the Soviet Government in this measure, summarizing those points under the headings of: 1) The cultural and religious rights of Soviet Jewry; 2) The unhampered practice of the Jewish religion and the establishment of countrywide representation and a central religious institution for Soviet Jewry; 3) Giving the Soviet Jews the same facilities and rights to participate in international Jewish meetings and organizations as are enjoyed by other minority groups; 4) The intensification of educational and administrative measures against anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union; and 5) The facilitation of the reunion in Israel and elsewhere of separated families.

Regarding relations between the Christians and the Jews, the assembly noted “with satisfaction” that “the leading church assemblies of the world — the World Council of Churches at New Delhi and the Ecumenical Council in Rome — have, through recent pronouncements, urged Christians throughout the world to eliminate age-old prejudices contained in Christian teachings concerning the Jews.” The measure then went on to say that the WJC assembly takes these Christian pronouncements as evidence of the good will of many Christian ecclesiastic leaders from all countries, stating that the WJC “expects the practical implementation of these pronouncements at all levels.”

Regarding Germany and the Jews, the assembly declared that “the Jewish people cannot forget the appalling tragedy, the sufferings and the losses inflicted upon the Jewish people by the Third Reich and the annihilation of 6, 000, 000 Jews.” “This inequity,” the resolution stated, “imposes upon the German people and its Government responsibilities which have not yet been fully discharged.” The resolution concluded as follows:

“The assembly is particularly disturbed by recent tendencies in Germany to forget the past. The assembly acknowledges that many German leaders — religious, political, intellectual,and, indeed, the leading German press — have often warned their own people against the dangers of a rebirth of Nazism. The assembly expresses the hope that the young German generation will understand its moral obligation not to forget the past, and will refuse to allow revival of an ideology which brought misery to Jews and also to Germany itself.”

Summarizing the assembly’s achievements at a press conference following the closing of the sessions, Dr. Goldmann noted particularly the fact that 57 countries had been represented, including two Communist lands, Rumania and Hungary, from which Jewish representatives have joined a WJC parley for the first time in 14 years.

Dr. Goldmann noted also the fact that the resolution demanding equal treatment for the Jewish minority in the Soviet Union had been adopted unanimously, despite the fact that the delegates included representatives “of the extreme left and other friends of Soviet Russia.” On a different level, the WJC leader noted the significance of the fact that the overwhelming majority of American Jews were represented at the assembly by observers from the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations in the United States.

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