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July 03, 1981 - Image 19

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-07-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Friday, July 3, 1981 19

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Voss Recalls Christian Zionists' Roles
in Introduction to I.L. Kenen's Memoirs

The roles played by noted
Christian Zionists in pre-
Israel activities in support
of the establishment of the
Jewish state are recorded in
the introduction by Dr. Carl
H. Voss to I.L. kenen's
soon-to-be published book,
"Israel's Defense Line —
Her Friends and Foes in
Washington" (Prometheus
Books).
Dr. Voss, who was a
mainstay in the American
Christian Palestine Com-
mittee, recalls his associa-
_ *ion with the most distin-
DR. CARL VOSS
(
dished Christian Zionists. Jewish organization,
The reminiscences of Dr. founded in 1932 and re-
Voss recall:
vived in 1942 under the
"I.L. Kenen and I have co-chairmanship of Sen-
been friends and col- ators Robert F. Wagner
leagues for almost 40 of New York and Charles
years. We both came to McNary of Oregon.
"The APC was now
New York in 1943 from
Midwest cities — Cleve- strengthened by hundreds
land and Pittsburgh. We of representatives and sena-
had no knowledge then tors, university presidents,
that we shared a common editors, governors, mayors,
objective: to work with labor leaders (AFL's
organizations bent on a William Green and CIO's
saner, warless world, Phillip Murray), the U.S.
especially to focus on the Chamber of Commerce
plight of European president Eric Johnston,
Jewry in Nazi-occupied Harvard's Carl J. Friedrich,
lands, and to seek a ref- former Secretary of State
uge, preferably Pales- Sumner Welles (Maryland
tine, for Jews fortunate state chairman), and Helen
enough to escape the Gahagan Douglas (national
secretary).
ravages of Hitlerism.
"We are grateful for Ke-
"I had accepted the invi-
tation of Henry A. Atkin- nen's assistance, particu-
son, general secretary of the larly when we merged the
interfaith Church Peace activities and programs of
Union (now CRIA: Council the Christian Council on
on Religion and Interna- Palestine and the American
tional Affairs) and the Palestine Committee to
World Alliance for Interna- form the American Chris-
tional Friendship Through tian Palestine Committee of
the Churches, to resign my which I was co-director and
pastorate in Pittsburgh and later chairman of the execu-
join his staff, devoting part tive council. Like his suc-
of my time to the program of cessor at the American
the newly organized Chris- Zionist Emergency Council,
tian Council on Palestine as Harold Manson, Kenen
helped us greatly.
its executive secretary.
"In 1942 I had helped es-
"As I read his absorbing
tablish the CCP, a sizable account of those pre-Israel
committee of ministers, years, I recall Kenen's calm
mostly Protestant, led by and tenacity in the face of
ecumenical statesman At- opposition, his ability to ig-
kinson as chairman, and nore peripheral skirmishes,
supported by such distin- and to discern the core of the
guished men as theologians issues.
Reinhold Niebuhr and Paul
In 1951, Kenen began
Tillich, the Christian a new and challenging
Herald's editor, Daniel A. career — that of a Con-
Poling, and The Church- gressionally registered
man's Guy Emery Ship- lobbyist for Americans
ler, Johns Hopkins' ar- who wanted to aid Israel.
cheologist William Foxwell He was a founder of the
Albright, Methodism's American Israel Public
Bishop Frances J. McCon- Affairs Committee
nell and Ralph Sockman of (AIPAC) which sought to
New York's Christ Church, insure Israel's survival,
the Community Church's to secure aid for the
John Haynes Holmes and fledgling nation, and to
the Unitarian Pierre van present Israel's case in-
Paassen, in company with telligently and factually
hundreds of other eminent in Washington circles,
clergymen.
especially to Congress.
"Our purpose was to
"I watched Kenen in ac-
2
ouse Christian concern tion over the years as I
and action in the light of served churches, taught in
Hitler's avowed intention to universities, wrote books,
exterminate all Jews and lectured; and each time
everywhere; and to draw at- I returned to the arena of
tention to Palestine as the issues affecting Israel I
only available refuge, the found him steadfastly
area promised by the Bal- adhering to the cause he
four Declaration of 1917 had espoused.
and sanctioned by the
"I was impressed by his
League of Nations in 1920. stamina and single-
"Kenen helped us co- mindedness as he contended
operate with the Ameri- against hostile forces in
can Palestine Committee Washington and across the
(APC), another non- country wherever anti-

Israel, pro-Arab pressure
groups like the American
Friends of the Middle East
turned their guns on him.
"It is gratifying to note
that two outstanding
Jewish institutions of
higher learning have re-
warded Kenen for his intel-
lectual gifts, his zeal, and
his loyalty. In 1976,
President Alfred
Gottschalk of Hebrew
Union College-Jewish In-
stitute of Religion conferred
upon him the degree of Doc-
tor of Humane Letters, hon-
oris causa; and in 1977
President Avraham Har-
man similarly made him an
Honorary Fellow of the He-
brew University of
Jerusalem.
"My one regret about
•Kenen's work is that he
did not have the kind of
support, either politically
or financially, from
Christians which he
could well have used and
certainly deserved. The
American
Christian
Palestine Committee,
once so influential,
slowly faded away in the
late 1950s and early
1960s, ceased publication
of its house organ and
journal of opinion, 'Land
Reborn,' and terminated
its activities, lacking both
funds and leadership.
"The tragic inadequacy of
Christian support for Israel
was revealed most drama-
tically and devastatingly
by the silence of the
churches, save for a few
prophetic souls, at the time
of the Six-Day War in early
June 1967. But in that year
Franklin H. Littell of Tem-
ple University organized
"Christians Concerned for
Israel" (CCI).
"Recently CCI has been
superseded by a dynamic,
swiftly grogin organiza-
tion, headed by Littell as
chairman and with Isaac
Rottenberg as executive di-
rector. This new 'National
Christian Leadership Con-
ference for Israel' (NCLCI)
serves as and 'umbrella' for
all pro-Israel Christian
groups in the United States.
One can but hope that this
new unit will finally
awaken the conscience of
Christian America.
"Kenen's determination
to create lasting bonds be-
tween America and Israel
has impressed both former
Secretary of State Henry A.
Kissinger and Sen. Daniel
P. Moynihan.
"Dr. Kissinger finds the

Conservative Shift for Jews

I.L. KENEN

book 'fascinating and in-
formative' and notes that
'through the vicissitudes
of Mideast diplomacy
Kenen conducted himself
honorably and with quiet
but strong conviction.'
"Like Kissinger, Moyni-
han comments on Kenen's
devotion to the cause of
strengthening America's
ties with Israel.
"Kenen's book has also
been praised by many of
those who shared his work
and aspirations, among
them former Sen. Jacob. K.
Javits, Rep. Jonathan B.
Bingham, and Fr. Robert F.
Drinan.
"We owe Kenen a debt of
gratitude for this absorbing
account of what selfless and
enlightened men and
women in the United States
were able to do to
strengthen the defense line
not only of Israel but of
democracy itself in the
entire Middle East."

r

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA)
— A strong reaffirmation of
liberal values was the
theme of the 20th annual
kala (retreat) of the Ameri-
can Jewish Congress in the
San Francisco area last
week. B.ut according to a
political scientist who ad-
dressed the gathering, the
American Jewish commu-
nity as a whole is becoming
increasingly conservative.
Dr. David Dalin, assis-
tant director of the Jewish
Community Relations
Council, told the partici-
pants that politically,
American Jews are drifting
away from the liberal
agenda at an alarming rate.
"For the first time since
1928, Jewish voters are
leaving the Democratic
Party," Dalin said. In that
year the Democrats nomi-
nated the first Roman
Catholic for the Presidency,
Gov. Al Smith of New York.
Dorothy Ehrlich, director

of the American Civil Liber-
ties Union in Northern
California, warned that "we
may be facing a nightmare
of attacks on our basic civil
rights and civil liberties,
pushed by the Moral Major-
ity and the New Right."

Hebrew U. Dean

JERUSALEM — Prof.
Itzchak Parnas has been
elected dean of the Faculty
of Science at the Hebrew
University.
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