Jewish Groups Ask Congress for Immediate Action on Fair Employment

The American Jewish Congress, Jewish Labor Committee, Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A., Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, United Synagogue of America and 33 local Jewish Community Councils–which together comprise the National Community Relations Advisory Council–today called for action at this session of Congress on measures pending in the House of Representatives to establish a fair employment practices commission with enforcement powers.

The statement of the Jewish organizations was offered at a hearing on civil rights bills held today by a Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee. The Jewish groups also asked for action at this session of Congress on the establishment of national commission on civil rights; a civil rights division in the Department of Justice; outlawing of lynching; strengthening of anti-peonage laws; and protection of the right to vote without discrimination on racial or religious grounds.

Bernard H. Trager of Bridgeport, chairman of the National Community Relations Advisory Council, in his statement, emphasized the view of the Jewish organizations “that there have been more than adequate deliberation and consideration of bills seeking to secure equality for all racial and religious groups in our country.”

He also stated that “further hearings would serve no useful purpose and would add nothing to the knowledge now in the possession of the members of the House of Representatives.” He concluded with the assertion: “We believe strongly that the time has long since past for action rather than further deliberation on these measures.”

JEWISH CONGRESS CALLS FOR ANTI-DISCRIMINATION AMENDMENTS

Testifying before the sub-committee on behalf of the American Jewish Congress, Will Maslow noted that no fewer than 95 bills aimed at achieving inter group equality have been introduced in the House during this session and that 51 of them have been referred to the House Judiciary Committee. “The introduction of such a large number of bills by 21 members of the House reflects widespread recognition of the need for action to protect the civil rights of American citizens,” Mr. Maslow said. “It reflects also a belief that legislative action by the United States Congress can contribute to attainment of the goal of full equality.”

Mr. Maslow called for broader use of anti-discrimination and anti-segregation amendments to pending Federal general welfare bills as the most effective means of breaking the stranglehold the filibuster has placed on the enactment of civil rights legislation in the United States. “A legislative minority has been able to block civil rights measures year after year by exploiting the provisions of the existing Congressional rules,” he declared. “For years we have watched urgently needed reforms founder because of blind intolerance. We cannot hope to persuade this arrogant and intransigent minority to abandon voluntarily their undemocratic tactics. We can hope that they will change their attitude if they find it is too costly.”

“Accordingly.” Mr. Maslow continued, “civil rights forces are now virtually united in calling for inclusion of anti-discrimination provisions in pending measures that would otherwise foster inequality or permit it to continue without redress. This approach offers a far better chance of concrete gains than continued support of the separate civil rights bills before this Committee.”

NEXT STORY