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L.a. Riots Not Anti-semitic but Jews Suffer Very Heavy Losses

While many Jewish store owners have suffered tremendous losses here during the last six days and nights of rioting in the Negro Watts area, the actions were not anti-Semitic in character, Charles Posner, associate director of the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation-Council of Los Angeles, stated here today.

Mr. Posner was asked to comment on some press reports emanating from this city, contending that the rioting was “anti-Jewish.” He told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that such reports were “not accurate.”

“To the best of our knowledge,” he declared, “we cannot find any anti-Semitism in these riots — but only anti-white feelings, although a number of the stores destroyed in the fires were owned and operated by Jews. Some of the stores burned out in the fires had employed Negroes, others had not. But the actions were not anti-Jewish. The losses have been tremendous, running fantastically into hundreds of millions of dollars, affecting not only small stores but also the big chains, some of which have Jews among their owners. But, I repeat, the occurrences were anti-white, and not anti-Jewish.”

An accusation against store owners in the Watts district, to the effect that they “take money out of the community and live elsewhere,” was made in a radio broadcast here last night by a Black Muslim leader. But even this speaker did not mention Jews as such, Mr. Posner said. Some of the press reports from the scene of the rioting stated that, among the hardest hit, were Jewish merchants in the area who live outside the Watts district.

There was also wide speculation here about whether those who had suffered loss or damage in the area would be compensated by insurance. A number of insurance companies have indicated that the looting and burning of the stores and homes in Watts are not covered by their policies because the policies specifically exclude compensation in cases of “insurrection.”

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