NEW YORK (Jun. 13)
The American Jewish Congress called on the National Education Association to cancel four tours which it sponsors from which Jewish teachers are banned because the touring parties will go through Arab lands which do not admit Jews. The NEA, largest teacher group in the United States, requires affidavits from clergymen specifying that applicants for these tours are not Jews.
In a telegram to the NEA, Shad Polier, vice president of the AJC, declared: “While the NEA has no responsibility for the medieval practices of other nations, it does have the responsibility not to abet those practices. The considerations of self-respect require organizations of American citizens to arrange their affairs so that it is not necessary for their members to pass a religious test before participating in joint activities. Just as the NEA refuses to meet at hotels that discriminate on the basis of race, it should not arrange tours to areas that discriminate on the basis of religion.”
Eugene Schaeffer, assistant director of the NEA Division of Travel Services, said the organization’s hands are tied by the policy of the countries involved. “We do not bar people of the Jewish faith of anyone else, “he added; ” but obviously we have no control over entry requirements. We regret very much this policy of the Arab states and wish such a situation had never arisen, but there is nothing we can do about it. “Mr. Schaeffer said the NEA feels the Middle East is an area so “significant historically” it should be available to teachers who wish to go there.