NEW YORK (May. 25)
Rabbi Joachim Prinz, president of the American Jewish Congress, and 11 other persons, including his wife and other national officers of the AJC, were arrested today at the New York World’s Fair after they staged a picketing demonstration in front of the Fair’s Jordanian Pavilion, protesting against a mural painting in the Jordanian exhibit which they termed a “libel” against Israel and the Jewish people.
They were arraigned before Judge Bernard Dubin, of the Criminal Court of Queens County, and paroled without bail in their own recognizance, pending the filing of motions by their special counsel, Howard M. Squadron. He told Judge Dubin he will challenge the constitutionality of the Fair’s ban against picketing. The case was adjourned to June 16.
Dr. Prinz had previously requested a permit to picket the Jordanian pavilion, and was denied such authorization by Robert Moses, president of the Fair.
This morning, Dr. Prinz and the 11 others appeared at the Fair entrance with picket signs. Policemen told them they would not be admitted with the banners. They then left the signs and entered the Fair grounds. Proceeding to the front of the Jordanian pavilion, they started marching to and fro. One of their number, C. Irving Dwork, national secretary of the American Jewish Congress, lifted a picketing sign reading: “The American Jewish Congress Urges Peace Through Understanding–Jordan Incites War Through Bigotry.” The Fair’s official slogan is “Peace Through Understanding.”
When a Fair security officer ordered Mr. Dwork to lower the banner, and the latter refused to do so, all members of the group were arrested. All but Mr. Dwork were charged with disorderly conduct. He was charged additionally with “resisting arrest.”
Those arrested, in addition to Rabbi and Mrs. Prinz and Mr. Dwork, included: Theodore Bikel, a prominent singer and actor; Theodore Kolish, a national vice-president of the AJC: Mrs. Howard Levine; Harry Schacter, another AJC national vice-president; James H. Scheuer, chairman of the AJC executive committee; Mrs. Benjamin Spiegel; Mrs. Martin Steinberg; and two other national vice-presidents, Robert Wechsler and Theodore Mann.
Rabbi Prinz and all the others were held in the Fair’s police detention room for over an hour, then taken in a police wagon handcuffed to the Queens County Court House. There, they were placed in one cell. They were provided with lunch, consisting of soup and bread–but were not given any spoons. For three hours, until their arraignment, they sat or stood in their cell, singing various songs including an old Negro spiritual, “Go Down, Moses.”
Prior to entering the Fair grounds, Dr. Prinz issued a statement in which he declared that the material displayed in the Jordanian pavilion was “designed to obscure the truth about Arab refugees.” He called the mural “offensive and malicious,” saying it was “a cynical effort to use the refugees for political purposes, a libel of the Jewish people.” The AJC, he said, “protests the use of the World’s Fair to promote hate propaganda.”