Menu JTA Search

President Eisenhower, Religious Leaders, Condemn Anti-semitic Acts

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in a forthright condemnation of the current anti-Semitic swastika epidemic, warned tonight that the “fire of bigotry” cannot be ignored, “nor can we allow it to spread one inch.”

The President’s message was telephoned today from the White House to Dr. Joachim Prinz, president of the American Jewish Congress, to be read by him at tonight’s emergency meeting of the AJC to discuss the worldwide outbreak of anti-Semitism.

Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller and Catholic and Protestant dignitaries were among those who joined in person or by message in condemning the spread of bigotry. Some 500 Congress leaders heard the statements which included denunciation of the recent out breaks by Richard Cardinal Cashing of Boston; the Rt. Rev. James A. Pike, Episcopal Bishop of California; the Most Rev. Philip J. Furlong, Auxiliary Catholic Bishop of New York, and the Rt. Rev. W. B. Donegan, Protestant Episcopal Bishop of New York.

“We deeply regret that the fire of bigotry seems to be ever present in the body politic,” President Eisenhower declared. “We cannot ignore it, nor can we allow it to spread one inch. For, when it becomes rampant, it may cause destruction to freedom and decency everywhere.

“In this age when so much is expected and required from America, we can ill afford to waste a single day combating bigotry or prejudice at home. United in a common purpose in free and responsible teamwork of all races, of all faiths and all nationalities, we will continue seeking to advance the general welfare of all our people and our neighbors abroad. “

GOVERNOR CALLS SYNAGOGUE VANDALISM ‘SHOCKING’

Governor Rockefeller declared that “the recent outbreak of vandalism on synagogues and churches is shocking. Every thinking person is indignant at these shameful acts. But it is not enough to deplore these acts. Rather it is incumbent upon all people of good will positively to strive to insure that America is the land of freedom and opportunity for all men. “

Dr. Prinz warned against dismissing the global epidemic of anti-Jewish vandalism as a mere “fad like the hula-hoop or rock’n roll. ” He declared that “the cry of ‘Death to the Jews, embodied in the swastika, is a dangerous lyric for a rock ‘n role number. “

Bishop Donegan told the assembly that “it is a revolting and ugly fact that, in this day and age, there should be in the world fresh outbreaks of animosity against the Jewish people and their religion. Any person who is anti-Jewish in his acts or feelings is at the same time anti-Christian. “

Bishop Furlong, citing a statement by the late Pope Plus XII against “hatred and folly of persecution, ” added: “There must be a consciousness that each one is his brother’s keeper. The brotherhood of man is so basic that civilization will perish without it.”

The AJC meeting adopted a resolution calling for a five-point program to halt anti-Semitism and strengthen democracy in Germany. The resolution urged “vigorous action” also in other countries where anti-Semitic incidents have taken place, exhorting “all forces of society” to see to it that these outbreaks do not occur again.

LEGISLATION PROPOSED IN ALBANY. STATE REPORT DEMANDED

In Albany today, Assemblyman Alfred D. Lerner introduced a bill in the state Legislature which would make the defaming or defacing of a house of worship a felony. Under the present law, perpetrators of such acts of vandalism are charged with malicious mischief, a misdemeanor.

The New York City legislator said that most of the young hoodlums who have been apprehended insist they were simply playing a prank. “I’m afraid I can’t go along with this way of thinking, ” Assemblyman Lerner said. “To me the painting of swastikas and other Nazi symbols of hate on religious buildings is a criminal act of destruction and should be dealt with accordingly, “

Other legislative leaders in Albany sponsored a resolution calling for a report on whether the state’s laws can cope with anti-religious vandalism, The resolution, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mahoney and Assembly Speaker Carlino, stated:

The Legislature is increasingly concerned with recent widespread acts of desecration and defacement of, or vandalism in connection with, synagogues, churches or buildings used for or in connection with religious worship. “

NEW ENGLAND METHODISTS TO SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH JEWS

In Boston, Bishop John Wesley Lord, of the Methodist District of New England, asked the District’s 12 local officials to invite rabbis to occupy Methodist Church pulpits on Sunday, January 31, “to snow the high regard the Methodist Church has for adherents of the Jewish faith.”

Leading Catholic and Dutch Reform clergymen in South Africa today denounced the swastika-daubings and anti-Semitic sloganeering in their country and abroad. At Stockholm, a call for “vaccination of our children” against racial prejudice was issued by Prof. Torgny Segerstedt, rector of Upsala University.

At Brussels, Belgian Minister of Justice Merchies promised publicly that those responsible for recent anti-Semitic incidents will be “severely punished when caught. ” Statements of sympathy for the Belgian Jewish community and calls for anti-racist action were issued by the national committee of the Social Christian Party and by leaders of the Catholic Youth movement.

In Washington, Rep. Cornelius E. Gallagher of New Jersey, proposed that the United Nations probe anti-Semitism in Western Europe, He said the UN “should determine whether desecration of synagogues is evidence of a smouldering neo-fascism, or part of a Red conspiracy to split the Western allies.”

At the United Nations today, the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities discussed a study of discrimination in religious rights and practices prepared by Dr. Arcot Krishnaswami, of India. It asserted, among other points, that discrimination in religious rights and practices is now “a diminishing phenomenon.”

Dr. Gary Maccoin, representing the International Catholic Press Union, took vigorous exception to many of Dr. Krishnaswami’s assertions. He asserted that the reported “rarity” of religious discriminations does not exist, and commented: “Unfortunately, the truth is very different, ” referring to “unhappy land where the rights of man are ignored, and falsehood is adopted as a system. ” He recalled yesterday’s debate concerning anti-Semitism and said “we respectfully suggest that a situation which has passed from the realm of threat to the realm of actual persecution is no less urgently a concern of the subcommission.”

Some political observers at the United Nations objected today to interpretations of the British and French position in the subcommission discussions yesterday on the move to give priority to an agenda item dealing with racist incitement. These observers held that the British and French were only arguing the procedures for handling the problem, but were actually “substantively” in favor of debating the recent outbreaks of anti-Semitism.

NEXT STORY