CLEVELAND (May. 13)
The United States Government was today accused by the American Jewish Committee of "failing to sustain its historic policy of vindicating the honor and dignity of American citizenship" by permitting and tolerating Arab discrimination against American Jews. In a sharply-worded resolution, which will be presented to President Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, the AJC, concluding its three-day meeting here, declared:
"It has been the historic American policy to protest and resist discriminatory treatment by any nation of American citizens on the basis of religion or race. Over a period of years, most Arab League countries in the Middle East have been discriminating against American citizens of the Jewish faith. The American Jewish Committee believes that American self-respect requires our government to protest and resist such treatment of its citizens wherever it occurs.
"Such practices have included the denial to American citizens of the Jewish faith of the right to travel freely under American passports in most of these Arab League countries. American citizens of Jewish faith, serving in our armed forces are not permitted to land or remain in Saudi Arabia as part of any military mission sent by the United States to man the Dhahran Air Base, nor may American civilians of Jewish faith be assigned to work in Saudi Arabia, either under contract with the Federal Government, or under the auspices of private American business.
"In this situation, our government for at least six years has failed to sustain its historic policy of vindicating the honor and dignity of American citizenship. It has failed to protest effectively and resist the requirement that all applicants for passports to travel in certain Arab League countries prove that they are "Christian" because those countries refuse visas to American citizens of the Jewish faith. It has acquiesced in the deliberate exclusion from military and civilian missions to Saudi Arabia of all American citizens of the Jewish religion. It has certified to State Commissions Against Discrimination that religion is a "bona fide occupation qualification" for the recruitment of American citizens by private contractors to work on government contracts to be performed in Saudi Arabia.
"While the American Jewish Committee is mindful of the responsibility of our government to take such steps as may be essential to the preservation of national security and to protect our defense establishments abroad, we are nevertheless unalterably opposed to any sanction by our government given to religious or racial discrimination. The American Jewish Committee urges that the following steps be taken:
"1. The various departments and agencies of the Federal government should discontinue immediately any action, or adherence to any policy, which condones or facilitates discrimination against Americans on the basis of religion or race by any country.
"2. Our government should not hereafter tolerate or accept any interpretation of international arrangements hereafter negotiated or renewed between the United States, or any of its departments or agencies, and any other countries, which leads to discrimination based on religion or race. Any as persona non grata must be based on his personal record or conduct not on his membership in, or adherence to, any religious or racial group.
"3. All chambers of commerce and other business or trade associations in the United States should be advised against providing such information as tends to assist these countries in their boycott of American business firms on the basis of their racial or religious affiliations.
ENGEL TERMS ARAB MEASURES AGAINST U. S. JEWS "MORALLY INDEFENSIBLE"
Irving M. Engel, president of the American Jewish Committee, revealed that in addition to taking up the matter personally with President Eisenhower, the top AJC leaders will also present a 26-page legal brief to Secretary Dulles.
The brief will point out that "the Arab discriminatory measures against Jewish citizens of the United States–to the extent that they are tolerated by our own government–must be opposed for a number of important reasons: 1. They violate the civil rights of Americans; 2. They are not sanctioned by international law; 3. They are morally indefensible."
Pointing out that "to remain silent would be to assent to the continuing erosion of our liberties, "Mr. Engel declared that "this is not a question of religion, or domestic politics or military strategy," but rather "it is fundamentally, inescapably, a moral issue."