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President’s Conference Condemns ‘vile Slander’ of Zionism by Gomulka

March 21, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A demand that Polish Communist party chief Wladyslaw Gomulka declare “clearly and forcefully” that the Jews of Poland “may live and work in security and dignity” was voiced today by Rabbi Herschel Schachter, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Rabbi Schachter commented at a press conference on Gomulka’s speech yesterday in Warsaw in which the Polish leader apparently sought to dampen a Polish Government campaign to link two weeks of student demonstrations with “liberal Jews” and “Zionists.”

The Presidents Conference endorsed a student protest against the Polish campaign, which was held this afternoon near the Polish Mission to the United Nations here.

Rabbi Schachter said the Presidents Conference welcomed Gomulka’s offer, made in his Warsaw speech, to allow Polish Jews to emigrate to Israel but added that it was hoped that Jews who seek to leave Poland “will suffer no official harassment or delay.” Rabbi Schachter then assailed “as a vile slander” the linking by Gomulka of Zionism with anti-Semitism as two sides of the same nationalist medal” and the Polish leader’s “veiled threats” in implying that Jews in key Government positions disagreeing with the Government policy “should resign their posts before they are dismissed.”

Rabbi Schachter said he would meet in Washington Monday with Polish Ambassador Jerzy Michalowski to discuss “the current wave of anti-Semitic incitement by Polish Government and Communist party leaders.” The rabbi added that Gomulka failed, in his Warsaw speech, “clearly and forcefully to state that the Jews as Jews were not responsible” for the protests in Poland. He assailed the charges against Polish Jews as “vicious libels on a small, powerless and defenseless community of Jews.”

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