Jewish Groups Seek Congressional Action to Check Bombings of Synagogues

Six major national Jewish organizations and 42 local, state and regional Jewish community relations agencies today called for the enactment at this session of the Congress of a bill to establish a “jurisdictional basis” for action by the FBI in cases of bombings, by prohibiting the illegal transportation or use of explosives.

Will Maslow, counsel for the American Jewish Congress, testified at hearings on three identical bills being held by a Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives. He appeared at the hearing on behalf of his own organization and of the Jewish Labor Committee, Jewish War Veterans of the U.S., Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, United Synagogue of America and 42 Jewish community relations agencies in cities throughout the United States. All the organizations are affiliated in the National Community Relations Advisory Council.

“The issue of law and order is not a sectional problem,” the Jewish organizations declared. Referring to the dynamiting and attempts to dynamite Jewish Community Centers, synagogues and public schools in Chattanooga, Jacksonville, Miami and Nashville, their testimony said “there are strong indications that the outrages are linked and are the work of one or more criminal gangs.” They urged as “an urgent necessity enactment of legislation empowering federal law enforcement officials to take effective action against an apparently interstate conspiracy of violence and terror.”

The bills under consideration would add a new section to the United States Criminal Code making it a federal crime punishable by imprisonment by not more than one year or by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by both: (1) To import into the United States or to transport in interstate commerce any explosive “with the knowledge or intent” that it will be used in violation of Federal or State law; and (2) To possess, in violation of any Federal or state law, any explosive imported into the United States or transported in interstate commerce.

Thus, any persons who carried dynamite across a state line in order to detonate it in violation of a state law would also be violating a Federal law. Similarly, any person found in possession of dynamite within a state in violation of its law would likewise be guilty of a Federal crime if the explosive was carried across state lines.

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