WASHINGTON (Nov. 13)
Gen. George S. Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued two statements today, expressing regret about his anti-Jewish and ant-Israel remarks. One was to the Jewish War Veterans’ national commander, Judge Paul Ribner of Philadelphia, who called the “explanation” by Brown “inadequate.” and ordered the JWV staff in Washington to proceed with a news conference today at which the JWV reiterated its demand for Brown’s dismissal for “vicious anti-Semitic canards.”
Brown’s other statement was issued through the Pentagon after Secretary of Defense James C. Schlesinger, in apparent agreement that the first statement was inadequate, telephoned Hyman Bookbinder, Washington representative of the American Jewish Committee. The AJCommittee office here told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Brown would be issuing another statement to the press at the Pentagon.
The JTA was informed by the JWV that Brown had telephoned Ribner in Philadelphia as Ribner was leaving for London and that Ribner, in rejecting the apology, said “We protest profoundly this kind of restricted country club locker room viciousness which we have attacked for years.” The JWV, at the press conference here, denounced Brown’s remarks as showing him to be “a propagandist, whether by Innocence or design” for various anti Semitic groups.
SAYS HIS STATEMENT WAS RAMBLING
In his statement to the JWV, Brown said “my true feelings” toward the JWV and America’s Jewish population “are those of respect and appreciation” and that those feelings “were not reflected in my statements at Duke University on Oct. 10, which are now being reported in the press.”
He added that “in a rather rambling treatment of a difficult and complex subject, the words came out rather poorly. I share with you and all of America the pride you and the members of your organization feel in their patriotism and sacrifice, and I am aware of the tremendously important contributions to our country made by citizens of the Jewish faith.” He also said that “I deeply regret that my poorly articulated statements have offended a segment of the American population.”
In his Pentagon statement, Brown repeated that “my unfounded and all too casual remarks” were “wholly unrepresentative of my continuing respect for the role played by Jewish citizens which I have just repeated to the Jewish War Veterans.”
However, he added a comment about American Jews and Israel, declaring that “my improper comments could be read to suggest that the American Jewish community and Israel are somehow the same. Americans of Jewish background have an understandable interest in the future of Israel parallel to similar sentiments among other Americans, all of whom at one time or another trace their descent to other lands.” Brown stressed that he did, “in fact, appreciate the great support and the deep interest in the nature of our security problems and our defenses that the American Jewish community has steadily demonstrated.”