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London Parley Concludes with Program to Bolster Jewish Life

June 17, 1955
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The five-day Consultative Conference of Jewish Organizations concluded here today with the adoption of a broad program designed to bolster Jewish religious, cultural and educational life in West European countries, to check the growing incidence of intermarriage and conversions and to increase vigilance against the revival of overt anti-Semitism.

The conference expressed the hope that Israel will shortly succeed in winning a peace, and will continue to develop and prosper as a strong stable democratic society. It emphasized that it would be tragic if mass emigration of Jews results from the current precarious situation in French Morocco. It also appealed to the governments of the Communist countries to restore to Jewish citizens true freedom of worship, the right to re-open their schools, the opportunity to use their language and press and to carry on other distinctive cultural activities.

The conference requested that the U. N. Human Rights Commission hold public hearings on its covenants and that European non-governmental organizations be given the opportunity to participate in the work of those councils in Europe concerned with the enforcement of human rights.

Jacob Blaustein, honorary president of the American Jewish Committee, addressing the closing session, said that funds received by various communities in Europe from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany should not substitute for local fund-raising; nor should it reduce the obligations of others for continued contributions and assistance.

An ambitious exchange program between the Jewish communities of Western Europe and the United States was proposed at the conference by John Slawson, executive vice-president of the American Jewish Committee. The plan included the granting of scholarships to European theological students for study in American seminaries and the training of European social and communal workers in American institutions. The plan also calls for an interchange of information on fighting anti-Semitism, as well as inter-faith activities.

Irving M. Engel, president of the American Jewish Committee, told the conference that “Nazi-minded elements in West Europe have stolen a leaf from the methods of likeminded people in the United States.” Although organized anti-Semitic activity presents no real threat to the security of West European Jewry, he said, “there is a new kind of fifth column in the war of ideas.” Anti-Semites, Mr. Engel charged, including former Nazis, are infiltrating long-established organizations and “sowing seeds of hatred under a mantle of respectibility.” Such infiltration, he warned, has occurred on both sides of the Atlantic.

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