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Special to JTA Wife of Reinhold Niebuhr Tells Magazine to Remove Name of Husband from Masthead After

April 28, 1972
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Christianity and Crisis, the publication established in 1941 to encourage American participation in the war against Nazi Germany, has reluctantly agreed to delete the name of its founding editor, Reinhold Niebuhr, from its masthead as a result of complaints by his family about an article condemning Israeli practices in Jerusalem.

Wayne Cowan, editor of Christianity and Crisis, confirmed to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that the magazine had “acceded” to the demands of Mrs. Ursula Niebuhr, widow of the Protestant theologian, and her son Christopher, a planner with the New York State Offices of Planning Services in Albany.

Cowan acknowledged that Mrs. Niebuhr had written to protest an article in the March 20 issue by Israeli Prof, Israel Shahak, whose remarks about Israeli “oppression” of Jerusalem’s Arabs were quoted in a Palm Sunday sermon by the Very Rev, Francis B. Sayre, Jr., pastor of the Washington (D.C.) Cathedral. Christianity and Crisis Inaugurated a series of commentaries on the Middle East situation In the Sept. 20, 1971, issue, the Shahak piece was “the last straw,” Mrs. Niebuhr asserted.

She charged Shahak with membership in Matzpen, an ultra-left Israeli splinter group that follows a Trotskyist, Maoist, anti-Zionist line. She further resented the omission of this alleged membership from his credits in the magazine, which identified him as “chairman of the Israel League for Human and Civil Rights, which is affiliated with the International League for the Rights of Man…on leave from his post as senior lecturer in organic chemistry at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (and) a survivor of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.”

Cowan told the JTA that Shahak had asserted “I am not and never have been a member of Mate-pen” and had added that he has been anti-Marxist “from boyhood,” which is “very well known In Israel.” Noting that the magazine’s circulation has declined in the last five years, Cowan said “This kind of thing (the Niebuhr protest) Is certainly not going to help us. It’s very sad and tragic. All we’re really trying to do is get the discussion opened up.”

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