NEW YORK (Apr. 24)
Irwin Suall, director of the Domestic Fact-Finding Department of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the ADL had “good, sound reasons” for not informing the Jewish community in Far Rockaway in advance of its investigation which disclosed last Wednesday that a Ku Klux Klan chapter was active in the Rockaways.
Suall, who headed the investigation, was responding to sharp criticism by the leaders of the predominantly Orthodox, middle-class Jewish community in Far Rockaway that the ADL failed to consult with them and that they were “taken by surprise” by the disclosure. Suall said he “understood perfectly” the feelings in the community.
But he explained that if the ADL had gone to the community first it would have jeopardized its probe of the racist KKK in the Rockaways which, he said, is only part of a national round-up of Klan activities now being prepared by the ADL.
Suall said the local community would have asked for a discussion of the effects of the disclosure on the reputation of the Rockaways and would have debated whether or not it should be made public. Suall said the ADL and the Far Rockaway community looked at the issue from different points of view. The community is understandably anxious to preserve itself and stem the flight of Jews to other areas.
The ADL, Suall said, is primarily concerned with exposing anti-Semitic organizations such as the Klan. He said it was to the benefit of the Jewish community that they were made aware of the existence of a Klan chapter in their vicinity.