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Joint Defense Appeal Proclaims $6,000,000 Drive for Fight Against Anti-semitism

January 5, 1948
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A nation wide campaign for $6,104,540 by the Joint Defense Appeal to finance the fight against anti-Semitism conducted by the American Jewish Committee and the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League was proclaimed here today by some 600 delegates attending the second annual conference of the J.D.A., fund-raising arm of the Committee end the League. The resolution embodying the recommended appeal climaxed a day of studying the problem of anti-Semitism in the U.S. and effective means of fighting it.

Judge Joseph M. Proskauer, president of the Committee, emphasized that organized anti-Semitism is presently at a low point, but warned that it still remains a threat. Lashing out at social anti-Semitism, Judge Proskauer stated that civil rights as understood by Americans include the right to earn a living, gain an education and the right to proper housing "without limitations of caste."

Frank Goldman, B’nai B’rith" president, also concentrated His fire on the social forms of racial discrimination, the form which he said are known today as the "gentleman’s agreement approach." Asserting that Americana were rejecting the overt, brutal anti-Semitism of the Hitler philosophy, he stressed that at the same time "polite society refuses to give up its own brand of anti-Semitism" which he described as "less visible and less voluble."

Jacob Blaustein, chairman of the A.J.C. executive, said "the work of the JDA financed agencies is not limited to the old concept of fighting the organized anti-Semites, but extends to the greater basic and fundamental objective of promoting broad, wholesome relationships generally between Jews and non-Jews." The promotion of such relationships "is a task that imposes a definite permanent obligation on the Jewish communal organizations in America and on local Jewish leadership – and must be clearly recognized as such," he stated.

Justice Meier Steinbrink, chairmen of the Anti-Defamation League, stressed American Jewry’s responsibility toward Palestine and the future of many thousands of Jews overseas. "The challenge of Palestine that we face today presents American Jewry with an historic opportunity that we dare not ignore without destroying ourselves in the eyes of the people of the world," he asserted. "In this area, it is the role of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and the American Jewish Committee to keep the Jewish community of this nation strong so that it can make its great contribution."

Praising the recently-issued reports of President Truman’s Committee on Civil Rights and the Commission on Higher Education; Dr. John Slawson, A.J.C. executive vice-president, emphasized that the two organizations "are determined that the contents of these two reports shall receive the widest possible circulation and that the recommendations shall be implemented to the end that the underlying purposes embodied in these two documents, mainly equality of opportunity for all regardless of religious, racial or national origin distinctions, shall be realized." Benjamin R. Epstein, national director of the A.D.L. spoke on the present "character of anti-Semitism." He outlined the patterns followed by anti-Semitic forces and pointed out the sign by which they can be recognized.

Donald Oberdoffer, chairman of the J.D.A. national Council, sketched the growth of the National Council to its present strength of 587 members representing 230 communities. He described the Council as an instrument for promoting a sounder and healthier democratic life in America and said that in its fund-raising activities, it had helped the Joint Defense Appeal to increase the amount which it had raised from $3,800,OOO in l946 to $4,750,000 in 1947.

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