WASHINGTON (Feb. 2)
Jewish members of the Senate and the House emerged today in the forefront of demands for the resignation or removal of Federal Trade Commissioner Paul Rand Dixon because of his racial slur aimed at consumer advocate Ralph Nader who is of Lebanese descent. Dixon spoke of Nader as a “dirty Arab” and “so-of-a-bitch” in a recent speech to a business group.
Sen.Abraham Ribicoff (D.Conn.) declared that “No individual, appointed or elected to public office, should continue to serve in any positton of public trust who has demonstrated such poor judgement and lack of sensitivity.” He said he shared “the outrage of the two million Arab-Americans in this country who gave been deeply insulted and dismayed by Mr. Dixon’s remarks.”
Rep. Edward I. Koch (D.NY) announced that he would introduce impeachment proceedings against Dixon this week. “Assume for a moment.” Koch said, “that he (Dixon) had referred to some other individual as a ‘dirty Christian’ or ‘dirty Jew.’ Is there any question but that there would have been an uproar in this Chamber? I think not, and just as I have been enraged at such language against other individuals, I am equally enraged at Dixon’s epithets against Ralph Nader.”
Rep. Benjamin Rosenthal (D.NY) Deputy Whip of the House, dispatched a letter to President Carter urging him to use his “statutory authority” to remove Dixon “for cause.” The letter was co-signed by 15 other House members, seven of them Jewish. It said that Dixon had displayed “the basest form of prejudice” and “offended not only Americans of Arab descent but all citizens who expect the highest level of decency and integrity from their public officials.”
Rosenthal, who is chairman of the House Subcommittee on Commerce. Consumer and Monetary Affairs which has oversight jurisdiction over the FTC, also wrote to Dixon demanding his resignation to “assure that future decisions (by the FTC) will not suffer from the same disability” of “your bias.” That letter, too, was co-singed by the same 15 Congressmen who singed the letter to the President. Dixon, so far, has indicated he would not resign. He has apologized to Arab Americans but refuses an apology to Nader: