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Humphrey Tells B’nai B’rith Women U.S. Has ‘genuine Commitment’ to Israel

March 26, 1968
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Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey said today that American assurances to Israel constituted “a genuine commitment — I believe it with all my heart.” He called on all Americans to emulate the Israeli people in developing a sense of national “will, purpose and determination.” Mr. Humphrey spoke at the opening session of the triennial convention of B’nai B’rith women. The main thrust of his speech was a call for commitment to preserve peace abroad and especially at home by moving forward to meet domestic racial problems. He commended the organization for its efforts in the war against poverty.

Calling for a new idealism and patriotism to meet challenges facing America, Mr. Humphrey said that “in our generation we have seen this practical idealism flower in the State of Israel whose twentieth birthday anniversary we all celebrate.”

Dr. William A. Wexler, international president of B’nai B’rith, told the convention that Jews could neither reject nor ignore the Negro “and meet the test of Jewish ethics,” He said “the Negro cries out for black power because he feels so utterly without power. There was some Negro anti-Semitism from extremist sources,” he said, and it was “deplorable,” but “it is also exaggerated.”

Dr. Wexler said Jews exalt in their peoplehood and cannot deny the Negro his strivings for a peoplehood and “a new image.” He asked if the Negro could be expected to forgive and forget 400 years of humiliation and discrimination. He stressed that it was unfair to demand that the Negro emulate the Jewish immigrants of a generation ago and elevate himself in the same way. He pointed out that there were overwhelming differences. Dr. Wexler endorsed the recommendations of the President’s Commission on Civil Disorders and urged the women to commit themselves anew to the struggle for human equality in America.

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