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Congressional Committee Hears Rabbi Wise on Discrimination in Employment

Lauding the accomplishments of the Fair Employment Practice Committee, set up by President Roosevelt, in combatting racial discrimination in employment, Dr. Stephen S. Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress, today charged that while discrimination against the Negro is flagrant, there is an attempt to conceal anti-Jewish discrimination in employment.

This charge was voiced by Rabbi Wise during testimony before the House Labor Committee in support of bills to set up a permanent government commission to halt racial discrimination in employment. “The Congress must pass the bill for a permanent PEPC unless the battle for democracy is limited to the war period,” Rabbi Wise said at the hearing. “The PEPC has done a most worthwhile work – allayed fears, distrust, made millions of Americans feel that the government is battling for democracy at home.”

In answer to a question by Rep. A. L. Miller (Rep.-Neb.), Dr. Wise told the committee that the statistics of the number of Jews employed by the Government were not of the essence of the matter.” Rep. Miller then wanted to know whether the troubles in Germany did not start “because of the economic control by the Jews of 70 percent of the best property in all the large cities.” Dr. Wise challenged Rep. Miller’s figures.

“Hitler was shrewd enough,” Rabbi Wise said, “to turn the so-called Christians against the Jews by giving then an opportunity for looting and booty. The amount of Jewish economic control has nothing to do with it. The status of the Jew is bound up with the degree of democratic idealism in this and every country. There is a real Fascist peril in America.”

Questioned by Rep. O. C. Fisher (Dem,-Texas), Dr. Wise said he would rather take from any group of employers the right to fire and hire than take from any group of Americans the right to employment. “No fundamental right is violated because the Government takes steps to say you cannot discriminate against a man because of his race or creed. It is the right of every American to have equality of opportunity. It is the right of every man to labor so that he may live.”

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