WASHINGTON (Jul. 5)
Jewish organizations in the nation’s capital expressed appreciation today of the decision by the Department of the Interior to end George Lincoln Rockwell’s anti-Jewish speech-making on the Mall, mecca of tourists to Washington. The organizations differed publicly, however, as to the effectiveness of this measure in dealing with the evils of the situation.
Yesterday, the Department issued an order declaring the Mall off-limits for public assemblies. The ruling did not bar public meetings by Rockwell who was told there were alternate sites available. For his meeting yesterday, Rockwell chose Judiciary Square, seven blocks from the Mall.
Isaac Franck, executive director of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington, said today that the decision of the Interior Department was a “sound and judicious” one. He added that the Jewish Community Council had discussed this matter with officials of the Department on several occasions and had made available documentation which had helped them in arriving at this decision.
The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, although considering the new location as the lesser of two evils, took the position that it presented no solution. Herman Edelsberg, director of ADL’s Washington office, said Rockwell was guilty of inciting riots and should be punished.
“If it is a crime to incite riots on the Mall, it is a crime to do so in Judiciary Park, ” he declared. He added that Rockwell had raised a serious question about his mental stability. “It is inconceivable, ” he commented, “that an American can raise the banner of the Nazi Party and wave the swastika, the cruelest symbol of murder and evil the modern world has known, and still pretend to be sane. “
A somewhat similar position was taken by the Jewish War Veterans. Their spokesman said today that the JWV was gratified by the order of the Department of interior which compelled Rockwell to shift his rallies from a location frequented by a great number of tourists to one practically deserted on Sundays and holidays. Nevertheless, the JWV held the view that Rockwell should not be permitted to speak publicly at all since this was an abuse of the First Amendment.
A number of Jews involved in Sunday’s riots, when an angry crowd charged the Nazis and inflicted physical punishment on them, received anonymous phone calls yesterday threatening their lives. Their names and addresses had been published in the local papers when they were charged with disorderly conduct.