Program for Protection of Civil Liberties Outlined at Opening of B’nai B’rith Parley
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Program for Protection of Civil Liberties Outlined at Opening of B’nai B’rith Parley

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A five-point program of legislative action designed to effect better protection of civil rights was outlined here tonight by New York Supreme Court Justice Meir Steinbrink, national president of the Anti-Defamation League, addressing the opening session of the five-day triennial convention of the B’nai B’rith, parent body of the ADL.

Justice Steinbrink proposed legislation against discrimination in employment and in educational institutions and specifically the elimination of “quota” systems in colleges and universities; laws to protect the civil rights of minority groups; to outlaw restrictive covenants in real estate deeds, and legislation making it mandatory to disclose the orgins of defamatory literature.

He said he opposed “group libel legislation” on the grounds that the Anti-Defamation League “is not convinced that an effective statute can be drawn to curb this evil that will not also be a threat to freedom of bona fide discussion of public questions.” Instead, he proposed laws requiring defamatory publications to disclose the names and addresses of the persons responsible for their publication and dissemination.


H. Gordon Liverman, past president of the B’nai B’rith in England, although praising the existing good relations between Christians and Jews in England, told the gathering that “the situation in Palestine has contributed to an increase of bad feeling against the Jewish citizens of Great Britain.”

There is a tendency toward “restriction” as far as admission to certain schools is concerned, he said. Other dangers, he said, are the fascistic and anti-Semitic groups, including the Mosleyites, the British People’s Party and the Social Credit parties. The bringing into England of displaced persons to relieve the manpower shortage is “giving a further handle to the anti-Semites and the Fascists,” he said. Transmitting such propagada through the mail, he said, “should be made a gross breach of postal regulations,” adding that “national legislation might well be initiated on these lines.”

Palestinian delegate Justice Gad Frumkin, of the Palestine Supreme Court, who is president of the B’nai B’rith district in the Holy Land, speaking at the evening session, proposed a “pilgrimage youth movement” to enable American Jewish youngsters to spend a year in Palestine in order “to see and feel for themselves the renaissance of the Jewish people in their homeland.” Frumkin appealed to American delegates to work toward ever closer cooperation between B’nai B’rith groups here and in Palestine.

Frank Goldman, vice president of the B’nai B’rith, delivered the “state of the order” message to the meeting, pointing out that its membership had grown to over 200,000 up to the beginning of this year. B’nai B’rith youth units in the United States, Canada, England, Australia, China, France and Palestine, have a total membership of 29,028, he reported, and the women’s group numbers 95,000.

At the afternoon session, which marked the formal opening of the conference, Alfred M. Cohen, of Cincinnati, honorary president of the B’nai B’rith, eulogized its late president, Henry Monsky, lauding him for the tremendous growth of the organization during the nine years of his presidency. The entire afternoon meeting was devoted to memorial services for Mr. Monsky.

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