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Hatred of Jews Strong Among Extreme Segregationists in South

April 14, 1960
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“It is the Jew, rather than the Negro, who is the most hated target of the extremist wing of the segregationist movement” in the South the New York Times reported today in an on-the-spot survey on the racial issue in the South conducted by Harrison E. Salisbury, member of the editorial staff of the newspaper. Mr. Salisbury emphasized that this is the opinion of a highly competent Jewish observer who has lived in the South most of his life.

Reproducing anti- Jewish election posters of retired Admiral John G. Crommelin, self-styled “white man’s candidate” for the U.S. Senate, the Times correspondent established that “an open and active link between anti-Negro racism and anti-Jewish prejudice” is provided by such men as Crommelin. “He calls Jews the real enemy of the ‘White Christian Alabamians’ asserting that they control the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People,” Mr. Salisbury wrote. He adds that “the Crommelin viewpoint is deplored even by many violent segregationists, but it seems to have wider acceptance than many Alabamians will publicly admit.”

Mr. Salisbury reported that after 16-year-old Jerry Hunt tossed a fire bomb at Temple Beth Israel in Gadsden and then wounded two congregants two weeks ago, a large number of crosses were burned in nearby Calhoun county. The Fayette County Times commented editorially on the cross-burning that it was “indicative of the belief that some people thought the youngster was right and it might be considered a ‘warning’ to those who would prosecute.”

The Birmingham Jewish community was disturbed to read in a local newspaper sympathetic articles about the vandal, the Times correspondent states. “Although evidence indicated the youngster had associates, none was apprehended. Last week he was admitted to bond and released. The presiding Judge said he saw no reason to call a special grand Jury in the case, which has been put over to July. There is skepticism in some quarters that the youngster will ever stand trial,” Mr. Salisbury writes.

PREJUDICE FOUND AMONG POLICEMEN; PRESS REFLECTIONS CITED

A policeman investigating the attempted dynamiting of a Birmingham synagogue was asked by a Jewish questioner if he did not think the attempt was a terrible thing, the Times reporter established. The policeman was quoted as replying “It is bad, all right but you have to admit that you Jews brought it on yourselves by encouraging the Negroes to integrate.”

John Temple Graves, editorial columnist for the Birmingham Post-Herald, who is widely regarded as a “moderate” southern voice on the issue, wrote recently what was termed by the Times correspondent “a more widespread viewpoint in Alabama on anti-Semitism.” Graves wrote: “Even if it made sense or were civilized or Christian or American, anti-Semitism is simply too big and too ugly a load for Southerners to carry with their already big and ugly Negro problem.”

Eugene Connor, Birmingham’s “loud-voiced” Police Commissioner, was cited as insisting he was Just as opposed to anti-Semitic activities as he is to the Negro rights movement. Birmingham police arrested two youths in an old-fashioned hearse in which dynamite and anti-Semitic literature was found. They had parked the hearse near a synagogue and told a Negro watchman they were going to blew up the synagogue.

The young men were freed on their own recognizance by the judge when the witness failed to appear. Neither the witness nor the rabbi had been informed that the case was coming up for a hearing.

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