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N. C. R. A. C. Discusses Effect on Jews of Desegregation Issue in South

June 22, 1956
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

How Jews in the United States are affected by Arab anti-Israel propaganda in this country and to what extent the Jewish communities in the South are involved in the struggle over desegregation was reported here today at the opening session of the four-day annual conference of the National Community Relations Advisory Council.

Bernard H. Trager, chairman of the NCRAC, and Isaiah M. Minkoff, executive director, told the more than 100 delegates from six national Jewish agencies and 35 community relations councils that comprise the NCRAC of the community relations problems arising out of the Arab-Israel issue and those growing out of the desegregation issue in the South. Decisions on how to deal with these problems will be taken at the closing session of the conference on Sunday.

Speaking of the desegregation issue, Mr. Trager noted that "the entire substantive program of Jewish community relations rests upon the thesis that Jewish equality is only as secure in a democratic society as the equality of other groups. That equality is under assault by the White Citizens Councils of the South." he declared.

Mr. Trager called for widespread "creation and dynamic development of representative community-wide agencies" for combatting anti-Jewish propaganda and fighting for civil rights. "The whole community," he stressed, "is affected by every event, planned or unplanned, that affects the image in the public mind of every Jewish agency or organization.

"Whatever any particular agency or organization does or does not do about its own relations affects in some way and in some degree the status situation of the whole Jewish community," Mr. Trager continued. "It is only in a fully representative council, embracing all organizations, agencies and sectors of the community, that the interplay of these influences can receive the many-sided attention they merit and must have."


Mr. Minkoff, in his annual report, commented on the "complete unanimity among the major religious bodies on the justice and morality of racial equality." This, he said, "has concrete applications in terms of desegregation. He called for "interconsultation among religious groups on best ways of joining forces, for concerting their influence in behalf of peaceable the harmonious realization of that justice to which they are all equally committed."

Dr. John J. Kane, head of the Sociology Department at the University of Notre Dame, addressing the opening session, predicted an increase in interreligious tensions arising out of differences about public and private education. The social forces that may be expected to produce tensions, however, may be approached in such a way as to offer possibilities of greater cooperation among religious groups, the noted Catholic educator said.

Dr. Kane referred to the field of education as "a prolific source of interreligious tension." Enumerating "just a few aspects of it," he cited Catholic, Jewish and Italian quotas in some professional schools, the controversy over Federal aid to education, Bible reading in public schools, released time and dismissed time programs, and celebration of Christian or Jewish religious holidays in public schools.

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