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Workmen’s Circle Clarifies Pro-israel, Non-zionist Stance; Aids Histadrut

May 13, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The newly re-elected president of the Worken’s Circle pledged last night his organization’s continued whole-hearted support of Israel but declared that it would remain a non-Zionist organization and explained the reasons to the 800 delegate’s attending the biennial convention of the Jewish fraternal labor order. According to Israel Breslow, “there is a basic difference between being supporters of Israel, even passionate supporters, as we are, and being Zionists.” The Zionists, he said, “believe that Israel is the homeland of all Jews, and that Jews elsewhere are living in the Galut–in the diaspora. We in the Workmen’s circle say no. For us the United States…is our permanent homeland.”

But Mr. Breslow, who is a vice president of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, allied the workmen’s Circle for the first time with Histadrut, Israel’s Labor Federation. “Our failure to do so in the past made little sense to me,” he said. “We were supporting Israel but withholding support from the movement in Israel with which we have the most in common.” Mr. Breslow said “for the Zionists, the Jewish community in the United States must be a temporary affair–to be abandoned in exodus to Israel, adding that “For the Zionists the goal is immigration to Israel…Our goal is to improve and strengthen our society here, to make it more truly democratic, to eliminate prejudices and bigotry, to give all of our citizens a fair chance to share in the general prosperity.”

The convention adopted a series of resolutions supporting the programs of President Johnson’s “Great Society” and condemning the “small-minded groups in Congress” that failed to enact all of the President’s proposals and scaled down those they did enact. Also adopted were resolutions denouncing the anti-Semitic manifestations in the Soviet Union and Poland, Concerning Jews behind the Iron Curtain, the delegates declared “our fervent hope is that the winds of freedom will quickly gain momentum in the Communist lands, that it will loose the bonds that have confined its peoples better impulses and that when freedom is restored it will prove again that Jewish life has the gift of durability and regeneration with which to outlive its tormentors.”

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