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U.S. Zionists Stress Need to Fight Assimilation Among American Jews

June 4, 1956
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The need of strengthening the Zionist movement to insure the cultural and spiritual survival of the Jewish community in this country, parallel with efforts to safeguard the security of Israel, were stressed here today at the conclusion of the two-day meeting of the National Administrative Council of the Zionist Organization of American at the Biltmore Hotel.

The issues facing the Zionist movement in the lands outside of Israel were discussed in the light of the decisions of the 24th World Zionist Congress recently concluded in Jerusalem. The discussions brought forth the unanimous agreement for an intensified effort by American Zionists not only in the rallying of public support for Israel in the realm of public relations and economic aid, but likewise in the furtherance of Jewish and Hebrew education and in the fostering of spiritual values and cementing of the cultural bonds between this country and Israel.

Mortimer May, ZOA president, who just returned from the Jerusalem sessions of the Zionist Congress, said that the Congress indicated that “slowly but surely the center of gravity in the world Zionist movement is tending toward the Diaspora, with the realization that still about 80 per cent of world Jewry is outside the State. He added that “it is realized pretty generally that Diaspora Jewry faces foes less obvious than to the State, but whose insidious and subtle work can prove very dangerous; that the enemy-assimilation-must be fought if we are to survive.”

Dr. Emanuel Neumann, addressing the session charged the Administration in Washington with “deliberately temporizing” with the entire problem of Middle East peace “in view of the coming national election. “He said that Washington is evidently hoping to put the Middle East crisis on ice through palliative actions in the United Nations which solve nothing basically.” He urged the recall and replacement of the U.S. Ambassador to Egypt. Henry Byroade, whom he described as “long an apologist for the Egyptian dictator.”

Dr. Neumann charged the State Department with engendering a “false sense of optimism” following the Hammarskjold mission to the Middle East and the cease-fire agreements obtained. “These agreements, welcome as they are, have not removed the danger of war,” he warned “Indeed, they could even serve as a convenient smoke screen for Nasser’s aggressive designs against Israel, facilitate his preparations for war by providing him with the time he requires to absorb the Communist arms shipments, and enable him to launch a surprise attack when he believes he is ready for blitzkrieg.”

Attended by several hundred Zionist leaders from all parts of the country, the meeting was presided over by Dr. Harris J. Levine, chairman of the National Administrative Council and president of the Jewish National Fund of America. Other speakers included Jacques Torczyner, ZOA vice-president, and Dr. Sidney Marks, executive director of the ZOA.

Rabbi I. Usher Kirshblum national chairman of the ZOA membership committee, reported the enrollment of 15,000 new members during the last nine months, since the beginning of the new fiscal year, bringing the total current membership of the organization to 103,000. He appealed to all ZOA chapters to step up their membership campaigns in order to secure even larger membership totals before the opening of the ZOA convention August 24 in Washington, D.C.

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