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State Anti-bias Agency Probing Aramco Policy of Not Hiring Jews

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Following a complaint by the American Jewish Congress, the State Division of Human Rights has launched an investigation to see if the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO) is refusing to employ Jews in violation of a 1962 order to “cease and desist” from such religious discrimination. In a letter to the AJ Congress. State Human Rights Commissioner Jack M. Sable said he was directing the Division’s Bureau of Regulatory Operations “to take whatever other action as may be deemed necessary and appropriate.”

The action came in response to a letter from the AJ Congress on the basis of a newspaper article stating that ARAMCO was believed to employ “no Jews in its New York and Washington offices.” The article. “The Richest Oil Company in the World,” by Leonard Mosley in the New York Times Magazine of March 10. said that King Faisal of Saudi Arabia had “made it clear that no Jew must ever be allowed to work in the service of ARAMCO. and every American or European employee of the company must produce proof of non-Jewish ancestry for two generations before being granted a work permit.”

Joseph B. Robison, director of the AJ Congress’ Commission on Law. Social Action and Urban Affairs, wrote to Sable calling the article to his attention. In his letter. Robison recalled that the AJ Congress in 1956 had filed charges of employment discrimination on religious grounds against ARAMCO with what was then the State Commission Against Discrimination (SCAD).

After proceedings that lasted more than six years, the human rights unit–now known as the State Division of Human Rights–issued its “cease and desist” order in Sept. 1962. “Compliance reviews were undertaken from time to time in subsequent years,” Robison wrote, “but we have not heard of any such review recently.” He added that the newspaper report “indicates the necessity of instituting a further compliance review of the employment practices of ARAMCO” In his reply, dated March 26 and made public by the Congress. Sable wrote that he has directed the Bureau of Regulatory Operations to submit its report “to my attention, by no later than April 15. at which time you will be notified.”

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