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Dr. Goldmann Calls for ‘central Jewish Address’ for Jews in Diaspora

July 19, 1968
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Dr. Nahum Goldmann called today for the establishment of “a central address of the entire Jewish people outside of Israel.” He said such an entity was vital not only to Jewish unity and the successful struggle for Jewish rights but also to present Israel with a single channel to all of diaspora Jewry.

Philip Klutznick of Chicago, national Jewish leader, warned that “we ought to be warned that any American neo-isolationist tendencies would inevitably affect the outlook and attitudes of American Jews in regard to international Jewish problems – and even in regard to Israel.” Mr. Klutznick had been chairman of an ad hoc committee named to look into the structural problems of COJO.

The term “central address” in the context of the veteran world Jewish leader’s remarks before the Conference of Jewish Organizations (COJO) here meant a world Jewish body that would embrace all of the major Jewish national and International organizations around the world. The idea was one that Dr. Goldmann has been advocating for many years. The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, established in the United States in the 1950s, is regarded by many as a “central address” of American Jewry.

Dr. Goldmann stressed that he did not propose that his umbrella organization “could or should participate in Israeli policy-making.” The State, he said, decides its own policy in accordance with the wishes of its own citizens. “But there is room for free consultations and exchanges of views between Israel and the diaspora on problems concerning the Jewish people as a whole,” he said, “and it is important that we should present Israel with an all-embracing diaspora Jewish address.”

Among the Jewish leaders assembled here it was indicated that the Conference of Jewish Organizations has the makings of just such a “central address.” The Conference agreed to a request for affiliation by the World Council of Jewish Education which held its own sessions here earlier. It also authorized Dr. Goldmann, as chairman, to name a committee that will come up with proposals for the extension of the Conference membership and its area of activities. The latter will embrace educational and cultural matters as well as political issues confronting Jewry.

It was decided also that a fifth conference of Jewish communities of Latin America will be held between Oct. 26 and 30, 1968, at which Dr. Goldmann agreed to deliver the keynote address.

Israel’s policies in the Middle East conflict were outlined to the Conference last night by Dr. Jacob Herzog, director-general of the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem. He said that in Israel’s view, direct negotiations with the Arabs were not merely a political formula but touched on the very roots of the Israel-Arab problem.

“Without that confrontation, the Arab masses cannot be re-educated from the hostility toward Israel with which they have been saturated for the past 20 years,” he said. “And without direct negotiations, Israel cannot be convinced that there is a real readiness for peace on the part of the Arabs.” He described the West Bank territory as a “vast laboratory” of contacts between Arabs and Israelis, the impact of which is being felt throughout the Arab world.

At the conference’s closing session, Dr. Goldmann was re-elected chairman. Vice presidents chosen were Louis Pincus, chairman of the Jewish Agency; Dr. William Wexler, president of B’nai B’rith; Dr. Isaac Goldenberger, president of the DAIA, central representative body of Argentine Jewry; and Michael Fidler, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Yehuda Hellman was re-elected general secretary.

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