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Rosenwald Asks American Jews to Declare Their Relationship to Jewish State

January 18, 1948
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Lessing J. Rosenwald, president of the American council for Judaism, said today that Americans of Jewish faith owe it to their council and the world to outline clearly their relationship to the new state in Palestine created by the United Nations.

“Whether we like it or not,” he said, in his presidential message to the Council’s annual national conference which opens here tomorrow, “the term ‘Jewish’ has ?ne to be applied both to a religion and an alien ‘nation.

“Our duty is clear,” he asserted. “We must do everything to make for the strengthening of the ties that bind us all, to dedicate ourselves worthily to the information of that great amalgam which is emerging, known as the American people.” ?e Council’s task, he added, is “to do all within our power to live as Americans ? all political and national interests, reserving for our identify as Jews that ?ea of life essential to our religious and spiritual needs.”

Rosenwald, president of the Council since its formation four years ago, said ?at whatever the Council’s opposition in the past to the creation of a sovereign ?ate based on a religious group, “we cannot and do not set ourselves against the organized voice of the world society of nations. We have no foreign policy of our ?wn, independent of that of our own government. Rightfully, we have our doubts and misgivings. The portentous decision has been made but its long shadows on the screen of the future can be only dimly perceived.”

Appraising developments in the wake of the U.N. decision, Rosenwald said that among the first victims are the million Jews in Arab lands who have become ###, now potential displaced persons. “Their existence is threatened as it has not been for centuries,” he said. “Oppression and murder have already raised their ugly heads. They are among the first victims of the United Nations’ action.” As to the Jews of Europe, Rosenwald said some of those who seek to migrate to Palestine may attain their wishes.

Turning to the effect of the U.N. decision on Americans of Jewish faith, Rosenwald said the well-being of Jews everywhere is, and will continue to be, affected by them. “Here we have been living as citizens of the United States of America–almost half the Jews left in the world.” he stated. “Here is the largest Jewish community, which will remain the largest, even with the most optimistic development of Palestine. Our security, our influence and our wealth are greater than anywhere In the world, including Palestine and so will remain for many a long year. Let us recognize and understand our duties and our obligations, on the one hand to our co-nationals, and on the other, to our co-religionists.”

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