NEW YORK (Jan. 31)
The John Birch Society which denies it is anti-Jewish was charged here today with “contributing to anti-Semitism” by officials of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith at the annual meeting of the organization held in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
Benjamin R. Epstein, ADL national director, and Arnold Forster, general counsel, reported that anti-Semitism is “an inherent problem” of the Birch Society which “it has made excuses for but failed to exorcise over the whole of the Society’s seven years.” The Birch Society’s involvements in anti-Semitism, the report declared, are revealed by the following:
1. Birch Society American Opinion bookstores in states across the nation stock and sell the writings of known anti-Semitic propagandists.
2. The Birch magazine, “American Opinion, ” has as a regular correspondent Eric D. Butler, recognized for more than 25 years “as one of Australia’s leading anti-Semites.”
3. Birch leader Robert Welch, on one of twelve record albums being sold by the Society, dismisses what he calls “the whole anti-Semitic thing” as being created by the Communists” who also “created Hitler and drugged him and the Nazi Party into persecution of the Jews. Revilo P. Oliver, associate editor of “American Opinion” says it is a lie that Hitler killed six million Jews.
4. The Birch Society has been infiltrated by anti-Semites. It has a “blind spot” about anti-Semitic activities “even when such activities are a matter of public knowledge.”
Although the Society keeps its membership secret, the ADL report estimated it at between 80, 000 and 100, 000 with the largest Birch membership in the following states: California, about 14, 000; Texas, about 6, 000; Alabama, Arizona and New Jersey, about 2, 000 each; Washington, about 1, 500, and Indiana, about 1, 400.