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Sharp Decline Reported in Anti-jewish Bias in Winter Resorts

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Discrimination against Jews in the leading winter resort hotels and motels in the United States had gone down in the last year to 2.1 percent, as against 14.8 percent of those surveyed in 1963, the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League reported here today on the basis of a fresh survey conducted between November, 1964, and March, 1965.

Noting that the new survey was conducted after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had become law, specifically barring racial and religious discriminations in places of public accommodation, the ADL revealed it had used the “dual letter test” in evaluating winter resorts in Florida, Arizona, California, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Colorado and Idaho.

In each case, applications for reservations were sent by three pairs of applicants. In each pair, one was signed with a name that sounded distinctly Jewish, the other apparently non-Jewish. In each set, the letter bearing the Jewish-sounding name preceded the non-Jewish signer by at least 24 or 48 hours, so there would be no question of priority.

The report showed that, among 595 winter resorts from which definitive replies were obtained, 13 were identified as discriminatory. All of these, stated the report, were in Florida and Arizona, the two states recognized as the winter playgrounds of America. Eight of the discriminators were in Florida, five in Arizona.

The ADL noted that, in both states, there have been drops in discrimination since a previous survey conducted in 1963. The Florida group had been diminished from 14.7 percent to 1.9 percent. In Arizona, the drop was from 23.9 percent in 1963 to 5.4 percent in the last test.

No evidence of discriminatory practices were found among California hotels where, in 1963, 9 percent discriminated against Jews. In the South, where racial turmoil is still boiling over, there was almost no religious discrimination as far back as 1963, the ADL found. There was none at all in Mississippi and Alabama, and only two of 15 winter resorts in Arkansas were found to be discriminatory against Jews in 1963. Since then, the ADL reported, these Arkansas resorts have dropped the practice as far as Jewish applicants were concerned.

The responses to the tests showed, the ADL declared, that, despite the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the discriminating resorts still find various formulas for rejecting applicants whose names seemed Jewish. Some emphasized that, for many years, their clientele was “entirely Gentile.” Others still use in their brochures certain terms easily recognized as discriminatory, like “selected clientele,” “discriminating clientele,” or “churches near by.” Some try to evade the law by terming themselves as “private clubs,” which are exempt from the provisions of the Civil Rights Act.

“Although pockets of discrimination remain,” the ADL report conclude, “the 1964-65 study of winter resorts discloses remarkable improvement in the acceptance of Jewish guests. Giant strides toward the elimination of religious discrimination were made in all areas under study.” Passage of the Civil Rights legislation in 1964 and a continuing educational campaign were the main factors which brought about the reduction in winter resort discriminations, Dore Schary, national chairman of the ADL, noted in releasing the report.

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