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Miami Opera Guild Charged with Patronizing Clubs Practicing Bias

Despite repeated promises, the Opera Guild of Greater Miami continues to be involved in scheduling social and fund-raising functions in private clubs with records of anti-Jewish discrimination, according to the Florida office of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.

The promises to end the practice have been made to the ADL by Dr. Arturo di Filippi, director of the Guild and by its leading members in a controversy extending back at least five years, the ADL said. A particular point of issue is the choice of the Surf Club for the Guild’s annual All-Star function.

The most recent development was an effort by the ADL to work out a statement of policy in cooperation with the Opera Guild, notifying the community of a firm anti-bias policy in choosing sites for its functions. That began when the Opera Guild informed the ADL last year that it was holding a function at the Surf Club but would not thereafter hold any events “at any club or other facility which bars persons as members because of their religion.”

Last January, the Guild again held its All-Star function at the Surf Club, but told the ADL that it was the Friends of the Opera and not the Opera Guild which sponsored the event. The ADL replied that the Friends “had the same name, same chairman, same sponsoring auxiliary and the same undemocratic policy.”

The Guild then asked the ADL to draw up the proposed statement of policy, to be distributed by the Guild to its supporters. The ADL prepared such a letter, accepting a Guild proposal to hold affairs at private clubs “which may discriminate, providing such function is held only for persons who are members of that club” and providing that “there shall be no publicity reflecting that such function is a community -wide function to which other than actual members of the discriminatory club have been invited.”

Guild officials made some revisions and returned the revised statement to the ADL for approval. The ADL rejected the revised version because one of the revisions eliminated the provision about publicity which the ADL had proposed. In rejecting the revised statement, the ADL said that Guild revisions had the effect of “totally disregarding the specific purpose and intent of all the discussions” between the two groups.

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