Leaders of several major New York religious organizations gathered in the offices of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) today to announce a multifaceted response to the Nazi march in Skokie, Illinois scheduled for this Sunday. The assembled leaders reaffirmed their determination to counter all manifestations of neo-Nazism.
Malcolm Hoenlein, executive director of the JCRC, stated that the proposed march was “not just a concern of the Jewish community but of all men of conscience.” He outlined plans for a citywide “Rally for Freedom” to be held Sunday, June 25, at 1:30 p.m., on the steps of the old United States Customs House at Bowling Green. The site was chosen for its “special historical and contemporary significance and its proximity to the Statue of Liberty.” Expected to take part in the rally are representatives of numerous religious and ethnic groups, including Holocaust survivors’ organizations, the New York and New Jersey Council of Churches, the Catholic Interracial Council, the National Conference of Christians and Jews and leaders of the Black, Irish, Greek and other communities.
A representative delegation, including leaders of the JCRC’s constituent agencies, Christian groups and civic bodies, will go to Skokie to participate in the counterdemonstration itself. “But, Hoenlein said, “many members of the Jewish community will not be able to go to Skokie and we want to afford them, as well as concerned non-Jews, an opportunity to express their solidarity with the people of Skokie and their opposition to Nazism.
Heinlein expressed his opposition to the violent tactics advocated by the leadership of the Jewish Defense League at a press conference on the Skokie march yesterday. “We believe that the violence that is threatened is counterproductive,” Heinlein said, “and that it would only lower us to the level of the Nazis.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.