NEW YORK (Jan. 29)
A bitter attack on Mayor John V. Lindsay and his administration for alleged failure to stem growing manifestations of Negro anti-Semitism in New York City was made today by Rabbi Gilbert Klaperman, re-elected president of the New York Board of Rabbis. Rabbi Klaperman made his charges in his acceptance speech at the Board of Rabbis’ 88th annual meeting. He also made demands of Mayor Lindsay, the city administration, and Federal Communications Commission to deal with what he called the “many serious manifestations of anti-Semitism both in the public school system and elsewhere in the city.”
Rabbi Klaperman charged that in meetings on the problem between Mayor Lindsay and local Jewish leaders, the Mayor “was unable to recognize the validity of our observations” with the result that “by acts of commission and omission on the part of the city government, there was generated a permissive atmosphere that ignited a fire of hate and violence which now threatens the entire city.”
Rabbi Klaperman demanded that: the Board of Education discharge Albert Vann and Leslie Campbell, two Negro school teachers who have publicly made anti-Semitic remarks; the Mayor not re-appoint Human Rights Commissioner William H. Booth who allegedly showed “singular insensitivity” to anti-Semitic incidents; the Mayor and City Council withhold funds from the Metropolitan Museum of Art until it withdraws a catalogue for the “Harlem on My Mind” exhibit containing anti-Semitic remarks; New York State Commissioner of Education, Dr. James E. Allen, Jr. re-organize the Board of Education “so that its members will represent educational excellence, rather than being selected because of other considerations”; and the Federal Communications Commission rescind the license of radio station WBAI-FM which has broadcast anti-Semitic remarks by Negro militants.
Rabbi Klaperman told the organization, which represents some 900 Conservative, Orthodox and Reform rabbis, that “the guilt for Negro disenfranchisement should be laid at the doorstep of those who brought it into being. It was not the Jews who brought African Negroes to America to enslave them; it was not the Jews who denied them the vote or equal opportunity or who engaged in lynchings. It was not the Jews who had segregated churches and segregated schools and segregated buses.
“It was not the Jews who denied them employment in insurance companies — which still do not employ Jews who qualify, or banks or in the utility companies. The Negro is not living in a Jewish society, but in the midst of an overwhelmingly large white community, of which the Jew is just a small part; and if the Negro is deprived, it is the community at large that must accept the guilt and work for its atonement. The Jewish community cannot undo what it did not create, and we cannot assume guilt for what is not our doing.”
Representatives of two religious schools and one synagogue that were recently burned by arsonists were presented with checks to be used for the institution’s restoration. These included Rabbi Meilech Silber, director of the Eastern Parkway Yeshivah, Brooklyn; Rabbi Saul Wolf, director of the Yeshiva Ahiezer, Brooklyn; and Rabbi Isaac Liebes, spiritual leader of the Torei Zonov Synagogue, The Bronx.