NEW YORK (Dec. 2)
The American Jewish Congress yesterday filed an appeal with the New York State Commission Against Discrimination in a bid for reversal of a dismissal of Its complaint that the Arabian-American Oil Company refused to hire Jewish employes.
In rejecting the complaint on November 10, Elmer A. Carter, a commission member, found that the oil firm could continue to screen out Jews for employment in Saudi Arabia, even when hiring was done in New York State.
Carter had ruled that because Saudi Arabia does not admit Jews, the oil firm would be exempted under the “bona fide occupational qualification” of the state law against job discrimination. Carter also cited a letter from U.S. State Department officials that a ruling against Aramco would “prejudice the company’s operations” in Saudi Arabia and would “probably adversely affect other United States interests there as well.”
In asking for reversal, the Congress said that the “bona fide occupational” exemption applied only where the race of religion of the applicant affected his capacity to handle the job he sought. The appeal commented that “an engineer or oil driller is no less competent because he is Jewish.”
The aspect of the decision involving “states of diplomacy in the Middle East,” the appeal said, failed to give consideration to a U.S. Senate Resolution of 1956 that such religious distinctions were “incompatible with the relations that should exist among friendly nations” and that this principle should be followed” in all negotiations between the United States and any foreign state.”