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Judaism Incompatible with Communism and Fascism, Williamstown Parley Told

August 30, 1939
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Judaism is fundamentally incompatible with Communism and Fascism, and its chances both to survive and to make valuable contributions to society are best under a democracy, Dr. Joshua Loth Liebman of Chicago today told the Williamstown Institute of Human Relations, meeting here under the auspices of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

Communism, he said, although permitting Jews to survive as people is attempting to stamp out Judaism along with other religions; and Fascism is the enemy of Judaism not only because of the physical oppression it practices on Jews but because of its alien psychology.

“There can be no reconciliation between Israel and totalitarianism, between Judaism and tyranny,” he stated. “The essential conflict, philosophically speaking, is the struggle between a materialistic and fatalistic interpretation of history, on the one hand, and an idealistic and progressive philosophy of life on the other.”

The historic opportunity of the Christian and Jewish faiths is to manifest their loyalty to the essential dogma of man, George N. Shuster, acting president of Hunter College, New York, declared. Shuster, a well-known Catholic editor and writer, in discussing the question, “The Church and Economic Systems,” asserted this manifestation should take three forms: (1) “deep regard for those who are witnesses, whether voluntarily or of necessity, to our faith in man–those who are driven from home and fatherland in scorn, sent off on ships to harbors that do not exist;” (2) “regeneration of liberalism,” and (3) “to resist attack upon our heritage in any manner commensurate with the attack itself.”

“One of the main purposes of Christian and Jewish education is to motivate young and old with a deep concern for the welfare of all members of the human family,” Prof. James V. Thompson of Drew University said.

Community experiments to make public school time available for religious education may provide some immediate advantage, declared Rabbi David de Sola Pool, president of the Synagogue Council of America, but it is far outweighed in the long run by the loss in religious liberty which is incurred by majority and minority religious groups alike. Minority religious groups are likely to find themselves at a disadvantage under any system which involves segregation or classification of public school children on denominational lines, he said.

“Democracy must tolerate propaganda which is directed against itself,” declared Dr. Harold D. Lasswell, political scientist and authority on public opinion, of Washington, D.C. “The principle of free trade in propaganda includes the toleration of propaganda against democracy,” he said.

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