NEW YORK (Sep. 2)
A warning to American Jews to ignore “unsubstantiated rumors” concerning the attitudes toward any minority group by Vice President Nixon and Senator John F. Kennedy, the two major Presidential candidates, was issued here today by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.
“We believe both men to be wholly free of anti-Semitic bias,” the ADL statement said. “Nor is there any question that the two Vice Presidential candidates are free of such prejudice.” The statement emphasized that it is “a major disservice to the nation to raise false charges of bigotry against a candidate 50 as to gain political advantage with some minority group.”
(The New York Times reported today that “strategists of both major parties are worried over the marked apathy of what they call ‘the Jewish vote’ in New York.” The report said that, at this early stage of the election campaign, some Jewish voters regard both Vice President Nixon and Senator Kennedy “with varying degrees of distrust.” It pointed out that New York is a “crucial state” in a Presidential election, and that it has a Jewish population exceeding 2,400,000, nearly 15 percent of the total population.)
The statement issued by the Anti-Defamation League, through its national chairman, Henry Edward Schultz, read:
“An unhappy phenomenon of Presidential election campaigns in our time is the unsubstantiated rumor circulated concerning the attitudes of the principal candidates toward one minority group or another. The Anti-Defamation League believes it to be a major disservice to the nation to raise false charges of bigotry against a candidate so as to gain political advantage with some minority group. This kind of defamation has victimized both parties.
“Questions have been raised with the League, and are likely to continue to be raised, about the attitude toward Jews of Vice President Nixon and Senator Kennedy. We believe both men to be wholly free of anti-Semitic bias. Nor is there any question that the two Vice Presidential candidates are free of such prejudice.
“Our responsibility over nearly half-a-century of public service has been to expose bigotry and anti-Semitism. We believe it equally important to denounce charges of anti-Semitism that are false. We find it necessary to do so at this time in order to check the rising tide of false rumors that may divert the electorate from the legitimate issues of the Presidential campaign.”