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High U.S. Official Says Anti-semitism Noted Among Negro Businessmen

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Some Negro businessmen appear to have developed an anti-Semitic attitude because Jewish merchants are “aggressive competitors and abound in the ghettos,” according to Eugene P. Foley, Assistant Secretary of Commerce and director of the U.S. Economic Development Administration, as quoted by the Washington Post.

Mr. Foley, former Administrator of the Small Business Administration, made available to the Washington newspaper his comments on handicaps of Negro-owned businesses. Commenting on what appeared to him to be an anti-Semitic attitude among some Negroes, Mr. Foley ascribed it “to the fact that Jewish merchants are ‘aggressive competitors and abound in the ghettos.” He noted, for example, that “in Harlem and in other largely Negro areas, Jews own more stores than any other ethnic group.”

Mr. Foley was quoted as stating that because of the proximity of Jewish merchants to Negroes, the latter’s anti-white feelings are expressed in the form of anti-Semitism. But Jewish merchants, he pointed out, abound in most sections of every city. This, he says, is because the great majority of German and Eastern European Jews who came to this country during the 19th century had business and commercial backgrounds.

The Post said that in the course of his probing, Mr. Foley took issue with two reasons “frequently cited by Negroes themselves for the failure of the Negro American to develop as a successful businessman; lack of capital due to racist bankers, and unfair competition from Jewish merchants.” Mr. Foley’s conclusion was that the number of Negro-owned businesses probably will decline in the next decade, but hopefully, “they will be stronger, more competitive and more profitable.” He found the Negro “a very small businessman — generally not a very good businessman; and, frankly, not a very significant factor in the Negro community.”

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