NEW YORK (Jan. 22)
The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith charged today that “raw, undisguised” anti-Semitism had reached a crisis level in New York City public schools where it has been “perpetrated largely by black extremists.” The ADL said its growth “has been aided by the failure of city and state public officials to condemn it swiftly and strongly enough, and to remove from positions of authority those who have utilized anti-Semitism.” Because the anti-Jewish manifestation is of such a violent and immediate nature, Dore Schary, ADL national chairman said, the organization conducted a special study of the situation.
In addition to its indictment of black extremists fomenting anti-Semitism and city officials who “do not recognize or know how to handle even that anti-Semitism which is open,” the survey charged that “anti-Semitic material has been produced, in at least one instance, by a publicly-funded anti-poverty unit.” It warned that “there is a clear and present danger that school children in the city have been infected by the anti-Semitic preachings of black extremists who, in some cases, are teachers and to whom these youngsters increasingly look for leadership.” The survey noted that “such infection is not contained when members of the Establishment–including, for example, officials of the Metropolitan Museum of Art–either fail to see the anti-Semitism or attempt to explain or condone it on one ground or the other.”
Thomas P.F. Hoving, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, apologized Tuesday to “all persons who have been offended” by a catalogue for the museum’s exhibit on life in Harlem which contained an introduction that had been condemned as anti-Semitic. He explained that when he approved the introduction “many months ago, I wholly failed to sense the racial undertones that might be read into portions of it. I now fully recognize that her (Candice Van Ellison the Negro schoolgirl whose essay was used) essay was not appropriate as an introduction to the catalogue and should never have been used as such.” Last Friday the Museum placed a disclaimer of “racist” intent in the catalogue. Mr. Hoving said a second disclaimer will also be inserted in the hard-cover edition published by Random House.
(The New York Times said in an editorial today that the catalogue’s introduction, “blatantly offensive to Jews,” was “made more rather than less offensive by the subsequent insertion of an explanation that the anti-Semitic statements are intended to reflect ‘socio-economic realities,’ not racism.” The Times accused Mr. Hoving of having approached the Harlem exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum “with as little sensitivity as if it were just another of the carefree ‘happenings’ he used to arrange in the parks.)
Mr. Schary denounced “the growing tide of indulgence in anti-Semitism on the part of black extremists and the passive attitude of many whites.” He pledged that ADL would continue in the struggle for black opportunity “but we will not tolerate the anti-Semitism which we now see before us.” Arnold Forster, general counsel of ADL, who conducted the investigation, said that open anti-Semitism exists “in an amount and intensity unlike anything New York has seen in recent decades.” He charged that the “negligence of local authorities has permitted the growth of the bigotry now clouding New York.” The ADL official accused John Doar, president of the New York Board of Education, Rev. Milton Galamison, its vice-president, and former president Lloyd K. Garrison of “passivity in the face of outrageous bigotry–when forceful action is the only appropriate response.” He denounced the City Commission on Human Rights for having “a false and limited view of its function that, apparently, excludes countering anti-Semitic activities in the city.”
The report named two Ocean Hill-Brownsville teachers, Albert Vann and Leslie Cmpbell, and Luis Fuentes, recently reinstated as a school principal in that district, of anti-Semitic words and actions, along with a number of other Negro extremist leaders and organization. It also detailed a series of anti-Semitic incidents before and during the school strike last fall.
Mayor John V. Lindsay disclosed Tuesday that he had asked the Board of Education to “take appropriate action” against Mr. Campbell, who had read an anti-Semitic poem over a local radio station, and Mr. Vann who had accused the Mayor of seeking “to appease the powerful Jewish financiers of the city” by ordering an investigation of the Campbell incident. Mr. Lindsay told an audience of 700 at the Bayside, Queens, Jewish Community Center that his administration “will permit no city official, high or petty, to engage in racial or religious slurs – white or black, Jewish or gentile.” He denounced both anti-Semitism and reaction against Negroes and warned of “the kind of fear” that equated support of school decentralization “with a program of racial isolation and race hatred.”