Four prominent Jewish business and communal leaders and one state government official denounced yesterday the position taken by the American Council for Judaism on Israel and at least two of them resigned from the organization.
The criticism followed an interview with Rabbi Elmer Berger, executive director of the anti-Zionist group, who declared that Israel had been engaged in “aggression” in the Middle East crisis and termed the immense American Jewish support for Israel in the June war as “hysteria.” The five leaders were listed as supporting those views.
The five Jewish leaders are Donald S. Klopfer, Random House vice-chairman; John Mosler, chairman of the Mosler Safe Company; Walter N. Rothschild Jr., president of Abraham and Strauss; Stanley Marcus, president of the Neiman-Marcus Company of Dallas; and Joseph H. Louchheim, deputy commissioner in charge of the New York State Department of Welfare’s New York City division.
In assailing the position of the anti-Zionist group, the five leaders stressed their sympathy for Israel and declared they had made substantial contributions to Israeli causes during and right after the June war.
Mr. Klopfer said that the Council had “completely misrepresented my views about Israel” and said he was resigning immediately. Mr. Louchheim said he was sending a letter of resignation. Mr. Mosler said he had resigned from the Council’s board 20 years ago but that his office had paid dues for him sporadically since. He added that “I do not want to be associated in any way with this movement any more than I would want to belong to the John Birch Society.” In a letter to Richard Korn. Council president, he said that use of his name by the Council “without my permission is highly improper and I advise you not to make that mistake again.”
Sidney Solomon, chairman of Abraham and Strauss, issued a statement on behalf of Mr. Rothschild who is vacationing in Europe, declaring that Mr. Rothschild would have repudiated the Council’s views completely and that Mr. Rothschild “has contributed to the Israel Emergency Fund.”
Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the American Zionist Council, said that the criticism was proof that American Jewry was 100 percent behind the present position of Israel. He said that Rabbi Berger had listed the five leaders and a sixth. Henry Loeb of Loeb Rhodes and Co., as endorsing the Council’s position.
“With five of the six disavowing Rabbi Berger’s use of their name as sponsors of the Council for Judaism’s position, the Council for Judaism stands revealed as being irresponsible.” He added that the reaction of the five leaders proved that the Council was also “morally bankrupt.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.