NEW YORK (Sep. 18)
An official of the American Jewish Committee said today that “we do not view the Fortas case as being rooted in anti-Semitism, but it seems clear that anti-Semites and extremists are exploiting and aggravating it.” Nathan Perlmutter, associate director of the AJ Committee’s trends and analysis division, offered the comment in connection with a report he made public that charged extremist groups of the far right with a major role in stirring up opposition to President Johnson’s appointment of Abe Fortas as Chief Justice of the United States.
“While Mr. Fortas’ faith has not figured in the statements of either right-wing or moderate opponents of his appointment, this has not been the case with organizations of the nation’s overtly anti-Semitic movement,” Mr. Perlmutter said. The right-wing groups, many of whose leaders publicly testified against the confirmation of Mr. Fortas, allege that the Associate Justice is a Communist or Communist sympathizer, according to the AJ Committee report. Among these groups and individuals are the racist-tinged Liberty Lobby, the ultra-conservative John Birch Society, the Conservative Society of America, founded by John Birch member Kent Courtney, Dan Smoot, publisher of the extremist right-wing Dan Smoot Report, and other extremist groups such as “We The People” and “Let Freedom Ring.”
But Justice Fortas’ appointment has been attacked in viciously anti-Semitic terms by the American Nazi Party, now masquerading as the National Socialist White Peoples’ Party, the Nazi like National States Rights Party, the United Klans for America, and the veteran hate-monger, Gerald L. K. Smith, the AJCommittee report said.