CLEVELAND (Jun. 2)
The National Socialist White Peoples’ Party has charged Jews with “ritual murder” in the recent deaths of two little girls in Akron, Ohio, Bernice Green reported in the latest issue of the Cleveland Jewish News. The charge, which Robert Silverman, chairman of the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Community Federation, termed the “most vicious ever,” is the latest in a month-long series of taped hate messages carried over a local phone line. Persons calling the number are usually bombarded with anti-Semitic, anti-Negro and anti-Catholic hate messages. This week’s message, charging “ritual murder,” states that “Jews must have the blood of Christian children for their rites.” It also denounces Ben Maidenburg, the publisher of Akron’s daily mass circulation newspaper “Beacon Journal,” and refers to it as the “Akron Beacon Jew Journal.” (According to the authoritative Editor and Publisher Year Book for 1970, the Beacon Journal has a daily circulation of 175,917 and a Sunday circulation of 205,623 in a population area of some 300,000. The president of the newspaper is John S. Knight.) Listeners are asked to write to a post office number to receive literature on “Jewish ritual murders.” Despite the vicious and irrational attacks, Silverman said, “in the interest of free speech, authorities cannot move against the disseminators of the propaganda.”
However, he added, the Community Relations Committee has been in touch with Federal authorities, local police, the Mayor’s Community Relations Board and the Ohio Bell Telephone Co. and “we are continuing to pursue every means at our disposal to halt this recording.” Miss Green quotes Robert K. Huston, attorney for the Ohio Bell Telephone Co. as saying the company’s hands were tied, and it was unable to take action against the recordings because of restrictions of the Federal Communications Commission. “Basically,” he said, “our position is that we are in no position to censor what people use the telephone for.” The company must provide automatic answering and playback devices for the public, with the understanding that all subscribers will state their name and address on the taped recording. Since the messages fulfill these requirements, Huston said, “if we attempted to censor the messages, we would be putting ourselves above and beyond the courts.” He told Miss Green that there were no “legal precedents” to go on and “this leaves us with a very sensitive area, and we recognize it.” He added the police might act if there were a clear indication that there was incitement to riot. The telephone company reported that word of the latest message had “gotten out” to the Jewish community and calls to the “hate” number kept the line continually busy.