Jews against Zionism: The American Council for Judaism, 1942-1948

By Thomas A. Kolsky | Go to book overview

Appendix

Statement of the American Council for Judaism, Inc., 30 August 1943

The American Council for Judaism, Inc. was organized to present the views of Americans of Jewish faith on problems affecting the future of their own lives and the lives of World Jewry in the present hour of world confusion.

The Council reaffirms the historic truth that the Jews of the world share common traditions and ethical concepts which find their derivation in the same religious source. For countless generations, "Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God, the Lord is One," has been the universal cry that united all Jews in trial and tribulation, in suffering, hunger and want, in despair -- and in achievement. It is still the concept which distinguishes Jews as a religious group.

Racist theories and nationalist philosophies, that have become prevalent in recent years, have caused untold suffering to the world and particularly to Jews. Long ago they became obsolete as realities in Jewish history; they remain only as a reaction to discrimination and persecution. In the former crises of Israel in ancient Palestine, the Prophets placed God and the moral law above land, race, nation, royal prerogatives and political arrangements. Now, as then, we cherish the same religious values which emphasize the dignity of man and the obligations to deal justly with man no matter what his status.

As Americans of Jewish faith we believe implicitly in the fundamentals of democracy, rooted as they are, in moralities that transcend race and state, and endow the individual with rights for which he is answerable only to God. We are thankful to be citizens of a country and to have shared in the building of a nation conceived in a spirit which knows neither special privilege nor inferior status for any man.

For centuries Jews have considered themselves nationals of those countries in which they have lived. Whenever free to do so, they have assumed, and will again assume, full responsibilities of citizenship in accordance with the ancient Jewish command, "The law of the land is the law." Those countries in which Jews have lived have been their homes; those lands their homelands. In those nations where political action was expressed through minority group, the Jew, following the law of his land, accepted minority status, thereby frequently gaining an improvement over previous conditions of inferior citizenship. Such East European concepts, however, have resulted in a misunderstanding, shared by Jews and non-Jews, a misunderstanding which we seek to dispel. American Jews hope that in the peace for which all of us pray, the old principle of minority rights will be supplanted by the more modern principle of equality and freedom for the individual. The interest of American Jews in the individual Jew in countries where the minority right principle prevailed is not to be confused with acceptance of this East European political concept.

-203-

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