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Goldmann Criticizes American Jewish Groups at Actions Committee

January 11, 1967
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Jewish organizational life in the United States was strongly criticized today by Dr. Nahum Goldmann in opening the general debate at the session of the World Zionist Actions Committee now taking place here.

Dr. Goldmann said that there was chaos in Jewish life in the United States and that Jewish organizations compete with each other in issuing statements on political issues. He also cited the fact that individual Jewish organizations in the U.S. sent delegations to West Germany without consulting first each other. “This must be stopped,” he said.

The world Zionist leaders replied to the statement made by Premier Levi Eshkol at the opening session of the Actions Committee that the existing covenant between the Israel Government and the Jewish Agency — under which the Jewish Agency enjoys special privileges in Israel — would lose its meaning unless the world Zionist movement backs it by deeds in stimulating greater Jewish immigration from affluent countries and by strengthening Jewish education in the Diaspora. Dr. Goldmann said that Premier Eshkol was right and that from time to time things done under the covenant should be reexamined, because agreements not followed by deeds are worthless.

The test of the Zionist movement is the Diaspora, Dr. Goldmann declared. He noted that in many countries the Zionists were by far not the most important Jewish body. This, he said, was due mainly to its obsolete structure which was designed for prestate days.

One condition for the success of the reorganization of the World Zionist Movement worked out by a special committee, he said, is that the Zionist parties must give up their preferred status. Another is that they must wholeheartedly cooperate with non-political and even non-Zionist Jewish organizations especially youth organizations. Since the danger of disappearance of Jewish communities by assimilation hangs on whole countries, he stressed, Jewish education and the dissemination of Jewish culture must get first priority.

Asserting that the Jewish people have now mostly achieved normalization and equal rights, Dr. Goldmann said that this spells danger for both Israel and the Diaspora. Unless they make common effort to preserve Jewish uniqueness, there will be no Jewish future, he declared.

Yaacov Tsur, chairman of the Zionist Actions Committee, said in an address that the present crisis in Israel had proved the interdependence of Israel and the Diaspora. Inside Israel, however, he declared, common troubles had become a subject over which the parties fought one another. He called for a “common and constructive effort” as the better way to deal with the problems.

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