NEW YORK (Jan. 12)
The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith reported today that there had been a “marked decline” in the practice of religious discrimination by American medical schools. The report said that a four-year census revealed that the percentage of Jewish students in medical schools today was twice what it was 20 years ago.
In the years from 1956-1959, the number of Jewish students admitted to medical schools has been 18 to 19 percent of the total enrollment, while in 1940 Jewish medical students represented only from nine to 10 percent of the total enrollment.
“The current situation represents a heartening advance from the days when Jews had to apply and re-apply to American schools, were often turned down solely because of their religion, and then had to give up the idea of becoming doctors or else study abroad,” Bernard Nath, chairman of the ADL’s civil rights committee, told the annual meeting of the organization.
Mr. Nath said that some schools appear to persist in policies of discrimination. He cited the cases of several in the New England and Midwest which, year after year, have retained almost precisely the same percentages of Jewish students.
The League’s four-year study, which was checked against estimates compiled 20 years ago, covered the entering classes for 1956 through 1959. Even in those four years, Mr. Nath said, the percentage of Jewish students admitted to medical schools had increased. In 1956, the nation’s 78 medical schools admitted 7,432 new students including 1,326-or 18 percent -who were Jewish. In 1959, out of a total enrollment of 7,675 new students, 1,485-or 19.2 percent-were Jewish, he reported.
RISE IN KU KLUX KLAN ANTI-SEMITIC ACTIVITY PREDICTED
Mr. Nath also reported that the League was encouraged by high-ranking automobile industry executives to proceed with an examination of employment practices in that industry. The League did a similar survey in the insurance field last year. “There appears to be agreement among those in the automobile industry that Jews are seriously under-represented, although no one seems to have an accurate idea why and to what extent, ” he said.
In a report on Ku Klux Klan activity, Arnold Forster, the League’s civil rights director, said that Klan strength, despite losses in some areas, had generally risen in the past year together with an increase in violence and anti-Semitism. He estimated that total Klan membership currently is between 35,000 and 50,000.
There are two major competing Klan groups in the South, , he said. The U.S. Klans, Knights of the Ku Klux Klans, which had been dominant for six years, and the newly formed National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. “Both major Klan groups and the more important unaffiliated units are led by ‘activists’ and extremists. Violence and anti-Semitism by the Klans is increasing, and the increase will probably continue, ” he predicted.
The need for “more mature dialogue” in place of “sentimental slogans” between the American Jewish community and that of Israel was urged by Label A. Katz, international president of B’nai B’rith at the ADL meeting. Mr. Katz, who returned this week from Jerusalem, stressed that such a dialogue “must be anchored in the conviction that Jewish life in America has the capacity for a meaningful, durable, creative future.”
Common bonds of religion, history and tradition make the Jewish communities of the United States and Israel “partners in an eternal Jewish enterprise,” Mr. Katz stated.