NEW YORK (Jan. 10)
As the swastika plague continued spreading around the world today–with more than 20 further swastika-daubings reported from various parts of the United States alone–the emphasis in the reactions shifted today from shock, shame and anger to the possibility of corrective or punitive measures.
More and more governmental investigative agencies today joined efforts to apprehend offenders, arrest suspects and punish the guilty.
In the United States, the FBI has entered the picture, as letters threatening “Death to All Jews” were received by Jewish synagogal leaders at Jacksonville, Fla.
British military intelligence and Britain’s famed Secret Service teamed with Scotland Yard to try to trace the background of the anti-Semitic outbreaks in the United Kingdom.
Sir Leslie Plummer, M. P., announced in London today that he was drafting a bill to provide up to six months’ imprisonment for anyone convicted of drawing swastikas on buildings. At present, racialism as such is not a criminal offense. Hate-mongering usually is handled under the Sedition Act, which defines sedition as an intention to raise “discontent or disaffection” among the Queen’s subjects to promote “ill feelings and hostility between different classes of the Queen’s subjects.”
Austria’s Minister of the Interior, Joseph Afritsch, announced in Vienna that his Ministry has completed drafting two new laws to help prevent further anti-Semitic outbreaks in that country. One of the laws would forbid the public display of medals, signs or symbols of banned organizations–which include the Nazi party. Another law would ban the wearing of uniforms which might contribute toward the endangering of public order and security.
More Jewish leaders were focusing attention on Bonn. Dr. Nahum Goldmann left Tel Aviv for Bonn today, while Benjamin R. Epstein, national director of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League, left New York at about the same time–both bound for the capital of West Germany to discuss the latest outbreaks with topmost leaders of the Federal Republic.
HUMAN RIGHTS SUBCOMMISSION URGED TO PROBE OUTBREAKS
At United Nations headquarters, all eyes were on the Human Rights Commissions Subcommission on Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, which has scheduled the opening of its annual three-week session for tomorrow morning.
The International League for the Rights of Man, which has the status of “consultant” to this subcommission, has circularized the group’s 14 members with a request that a resolution condemning the recent anti-Semitic manifestations be adopted, and that the subcommission open immediately a probe into “the origin and purposes” of these worldwide actions.
Israel’s mission to the United Nations announced today that its delegation would attend the subcommission’s opening session as “observers.” Israel is not a member of the group. The Israeli delegation will present a note to the group’s chairman, expressing the Israel Government’s grave concern over the anti-Semitic outbreaks.
Mohammed Awad, of the United Arab Republic, will preside at the opening session in the capacity of last year’s chairman. The first item on the subcommission’s agenda is the election of this year’s officers.
The American representative on the subcommission, Judge Philip Halpern, of Buffalo, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today he would consider all proposals of a “helpful” nature on the anti-Semitic issue to be presented to the group, including the proposals of the League. He said he was himself considering the possibility that the group might take some “helpful” steps, and that he might introduce a resolution to that effect.
Judge Halpern, like the other members of the subcommission, was appointed by his Government but serves as an individual expert. The subcommission has no authority to take steps binding on the UN as a whole, but is authorized only to make recommendations to its parent body, the Commission on Human Rights.