NEW YORK (Feb. 21)
The Nassau-Suffolk Association of Rabbis, comprised of 175 Orthodox, Conservative and Reform members in those Long Island counties, said it was “shocked” at what it called the failure of the Hofstra University administration to remove a Nazi flag being flown from a dormitory window by David Kerr, a 21-year-old student affiliated with neo-Nazi organizations. The flag-flying constitutes “blatant provocations to violence and transcends the legitimate demands of freedom of speech,” association president Rabbi Philip S. Krohn said in a statement. “We cannot condone this deliberate provocation for violence.”
Rabbi Krohn said the administration’s “lack of action insults the sensibilities of Jews who in our own lifetime have suffered because of similar lack of action on the part of respected citizens in Germany.” He added: “We well know the results of what took place there.” The statement declared: “It is the responsibility of the administration to take positive steps immediately and remove this hated symbol and the (Nazi recruitment) advertisements from the (student) newspaper. This symbol of Nazism represents the horrors of genocide, which cannot be permitted to reappear in any guise in a free country.”
Asked if he would similarly oppose the display of Soviet or Black Power flags, Rabbi Krohn said the cases were different and that Nazism was an ideology “more detestable than any.” Asked what his association would do if the Hofstra administration refused to remove the Nazi flag, Rabbi Krohn said the administration should be “condemned,” but he said any legal action would have to be discussed first.
Meanwhile, three national Jewish organizations and the Jewish chaplain at Hofstra have urged removal of the flag. Representatives of the three groups–the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, the American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress–and Rabbi Leo Wolf met with Dr. Clifford Lord, president of Hofstra University. Fred W. Kanter, chairman of the ADL’s Long Island region, was spokesman for the delegation. Rabbi Wolf is Hillel director at Hofstra.
Kanter said Hofstra should act immediately to remove the banner, remarking: “The flag is repugnant; its meaning to Jews is genocide.” He advised Dr. Lord that recent Supreme Court decisions permit disciplinary action against students whose views were expressed in a way tending to create unrest and disturbance on campus. Dr. Lord said he would confer with the university’s advisors.
In another development, the 13-member Long Island Council of Jewish Organizations has protested to Dr. Lord against “display of (the) Nazi emblem and printing of (a) racist ad.” In a telegram to the Hofstra president, Council president Rabbi Julius Goldberg said: “Freedom of speech and press does not allow any group to incite racial and religious hatred or advocate genocide. Americans fought and died to fight Nazism and what it stands for. Your misinterpretation of freedom desecrates their memory and (the) memory of six million Jews who were butchered by people saluting the flag in the Hofstra dorm window. (The) flag must be removed and further ads of that nature must be prohibited.”
See Pap 3 for special late news on Jarring visit to Israel