Menu JTA Search

Brooklyn Jewish Community Council Demands Ouster of Rights Commissioner Booth

The Brooklyn Jewish Community Council demanded today the removal from public office of William H. Booth, chairman of the city’s Human Rights Commission, for alleged failure to take action against anti-Semitic utterances and writings made by city employes or disseminated by city institutions. The demand, made to Mayor John V. Lindsay and other members of his administration, referred specifically to anti-Semitic statements contained in the introduction to the catalogue for the “Harlem On My Mind” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a city institution, and an anti-Semitic poem read over a local radio station, WBAI-FM, by Leslie R. Campbell, a Negro school teacher employed by the city. The community group also demanded that the Board of Education initiate proceedings against Mr. Campbell and suspend him without pay pending final disposition of his case.

The Council charged that Mr. Booth “has failed to condemn the (catalogue) utterance. On the contrary, he has indicated that it isn’t subject to criticism since it is an expression of fact.” Another Council target was Thomas P. Hoving, museum director, who was assailed for not suspending circulation of the offending catalogue.

In another development related to the growing Negro-Jewish conflict here. City Council president Francis X. Smith declared that if Mayor Lindsay did not call a “summit conference” of civic leaders to deal with racial tension, he would do so himself. Mr. Smith, a political opponent of the Mayor, proposed such a conference last week. In a statement on WEVD radio yesterday, he said so far he had received no reply. Mr. Smith said he would urge the Federal Communications Commission to suspend the license of WBAI-FM, because of anti-Semitic remarks by a Negro guest on a program last week. The guest, Tyrone Woods, said Hitler “didn’t make enough lamp shades out of Jews.” His remarks sparked dewish Defense League demands for the dismissal of Julius Lester, a Negro activist on whose program Mr. Tyrone appeared, a public apology by the station and a pledge that it would eliminate all anti-Semitic material from broadcasts. Those demands were categorically rejected yesterday by Dr. Harold Taylor, chairman of the station’s board, as counter to Constitutional free speech guarantees. Mr. Taylor said, “The anti-Semitic views expressed over WBAI are deeply repugnant” to everyone at the station but to take steps to eliminate such views “would betray the First Amendment and would fall into the trap of those who would refine the rawness of truth to make it socially convenient.”

NEXT STORY