Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Goldmann Says Diaspora Jewry Need Not Always Follow ‘israel’s Line’

January 17, 1973
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Dr. Nahum Goldmann urged diaspora Jews to think and act independently on major issues confronting the world. The World Jewish Congress president participated in a debate today on the role of the intellectual in Jewish life at the Conference of European Jewish Communities convened here by the WJC. “There is a reluctance on the part of Jewish leaders, or some of them, to speak out on great humanitarian issues which do not directly affect the Jewish people,” Dr. Goldmann said.

“Israel may not always be able, or may not always think it wise politically to intervene in the great issues in which she is not directly concerned at this stage. A state has the right to be self-centered. But this does not mean that diaspora Jewry need always follow Israel’s line. If we do, we shall lose the support of great parts of world public opinion. We must stand guard against Jewish isolation,” Dr. Goldmann declared.

He stressed that in a period of “great bewilderment” there is a greater need than ever before for the guidance of Jewish intellectuals. The Jewish leadership today, he observed, is made up of “men of action or men of financial potentiality. At the same time, there is a great need to explain to the world, as distinct from apologizing, the uniqueness of the Jewish attitude to Israel, and to answer questions about so-called dual loyalties which still come up open among well-meaning people.”

Dr. S. Levenberg told the conference that although European Jewry comprises one-third of the Jewish people, “it does not exercise influence in Jewish life” proportional to its numbers. He said that the European Jewish Conference, the first since 1945, meant that “European Jewry is here to reassert itself.”

Recommended from JTA