NEW YORK (Mar. 18)
The Jewish-led, predominantly Jewish United Federation of Teachers, which had been accused of exaggerating black anti-Semitism as an issue in last fall’s teachers’ strikes, today was apparently playing down the issue. The current issue of the union’s weekly “United Teachers,” carried an article headlined, “Black Anti-Semitism Seen As Exaggerated Issue by Parents and Staff of PS 144.” The school named is in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville experimental district, the focal point of the teachers’ strike.
The article quoted Harriet Goldstein, UFT chapter chairman at PS 144 as saying, “Anti-Semitism has been attributed to the Ocean Hill district on the basis of the comments of a very few individuals whom I don’t think are representative of the district. I have never witnessed anything I would term as anti-Semitism in my own school.” Several Jewish teachers at the school were quoted as denying the existence of anti-Semitism there. One said, “most of the anti-Semitism in our school comes from white Jews.”
Ralph Rogers, the Negro principal of PS 144, was quoted as saying that newsmen spoke to outside militants rather than community residents in their reports of anti-Semitic statements. He said the parents in the area do not care if teachers are “black or white or Jewish or gentile” so long as they do a good job in the classroom.
A group calling itself “The Jewish Citizens Committee for Community Control” used a full page advertisement in last Sunday’s New York Times to reprint an article from “The Public Life”, a biweekly journal of politics, which accused the UFT leadership of deliberately raising and spreading the issue of black anti-Semitism during the teachers’ strike to alarm the Jewish community and gain its support for the strike.