Washington (Mar. 13)
Representatives of three national Jewish agencies today urged passage of the bi-partisan Fair Employment Practices Bill with enforcement powers, at hearings before a Senate sub-committee headed by Senator Dennis Chavez, New Mexico Democrat.
Henry Epstein, vice-chairman of the National Community Relations Advisory Council, representing 18 Jewish community councils throughout the country and six national Jewish organizations, termed the bill “the greatest weapon for implementing our political democracy yet placed before Congress.” A former solicitor general of New York State, Mr. Epstein told the committee that a permanent FEPC act “with teeth intact” will demonstrate to the world that the United States “has really come of age”. Voluntary efforts, he pointed out, have left unpunished “major violations of elementary principles of democracy”.
Maurice Bisgyer, National Secretary of B’ nai B’ rith, advocated the establishment of a permanent FEPS “as a matter of simple justice” to Jews and all others who have been denied equal economic opportunity.
The Jewish Labor Committee would consider failure of Congress to pass the Hill at this session a “national disaster”, Nathan M. Minkoff told the committee. He called for “postwar reconversion to genuine equality for all Americans” and criticized the Taft Voluntary compliance bill as “emasculated”. “In our own country”, Mr. Minkoff said, “manifestations of economic discrimination, though far less pronounced than in the old world, have not been absent. Many employments and economic opportunities have been virtually closed to Jews, as to members of other minority groups.”
Testifying before the committee yesterday, Rabbi J. X. Cohen, representing the American Jewish Congress, urged the inclusion of enforcement provisions in any bill approved by the committee. “Statesmanship demands that we be alert now to safeguard the gains that have been achieved through the war,” Rabbi Cohen said. “Otherwise what has been wisely termed ‘the explosion of peace’ may blow up the wartime barriers erected against discrimination because of race, creed, color, national origin or ancestry.”
Ten other organizations, including several large CIO and AFL Unions and the Southern Conference on Human Welfare, also testified for the Anti-partisan bill.