NEW YORK (Sep. 5)
Vice President Richard M. Nixon and Senator John F. Kennedy joined this weekend in strongly endorsing a statement by the American Jewish Committee which sharply denied the existence of a “Jewish bloc vote” in national elections.
The statement, assailed the “divisive myth of bloc voting” as Jeopardizing “the American process of democratic elections, ” It took sharp exception to the “current tendency to imply that a Jewish vote, as such exists in national elections.” In endorsing the Committee’s statement, Vice President Nixon said: “I completely share the sentiments expressed in your statement, and deplore any attempts to divide Americans on a religious, racial or sectional basis. I think it is most constructive that you are issuing this statement as we begin this election campaign.”
In his endorsement Senator Kennedy said: “The statement by Louis Marshall seems to be as true today as it was in 1927. The enrollment books of both political parties prove that Americans do not stratify along religious, racial or ethnic lines. Any attempt to classify Americans along these lines should be immediately repudiated and I welcome the statement by the American Jewish Committee on this matter.”
American Jews, the American Jewish Committee statement stressed, are influenced by the “positions that parties and candidates take on the domestic and foreign issues which affect the welfare of all Americans.” It asserted that “no individual or organization can muster the alleged ‘Jewish vote.'” The statement was is sued by Herbert B. Ehrmann, of Boston, president, and Col. Frederick F. Greenman, of New York, chairman of the AJ Committee’s executive board.
Even in New York City where Jews constitute more than one-quarter of its population, there has never been a Jewish mayor, the statement pointed out. Furthermore, “Jewish candidates for the mayoralty of New York have often fared badly in districts heavily populated by Jews. ” The Committee also pointed out that in the New York senatorial election of 1956 the Catholic candidate received greater support from the Jews of New York than did his Jewish rival.
These and other such examples, the statement said, “provide ample evidence that, like other citizens. Jews vote readily for candidates who are members of other faiths, and that appeals based solely on their narrow so-called ‘Jewish interest have not succeeded.”