Two Youths Attack Arab in Bethesda, Mistaking Him for a Jew
Menu JTA Search

Two Youths Attack Arab in Bethesda, Mistaking Him for a Jew

Download PDF for this date

Two educated young men from “respected families” were convicted in Montgomery County Court today of taking part in offenses that included the assaulting and injury of three Negroes and an anti-Semitic attack on a terrified motorist, suspected of being Jewish, who was chased four miles through the heart of Bethesda.

The motorist, Lester M. Haddad, testified that the youths, “apparently assuming I was of the Jewish faith, cursed me on the subject of religion, using terrible profanity.” Mr. Haddad happens to be president of the Arab-American Club of Greater Washington and is a Roman Catholic. Threatening to viciously beat Mr. Haddad and calling him a “Jew,” the youths smashed beer bottles against his car and pursued him at high speed up to the front door of his home. He called police and four young men were arrested.

The judge found two youths guilty of assault and postponed sentencing until January 8 pending a probation officer’s report. At the request of the State Attorney’s office, charges against two other young men were dropped. One, granted immunity, because he served as a prosecution witness, readily conceded he had thrown bottles. The case provoked wide interest in Montgomery County, a wealthy suburb of nearby Washington, D. C., because the families of the accused were well-to-do and respected people.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund