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N.Y. Mayor Cancels Dinner for Arab Ruler; Rebuffs Anti-jewish Attack

June 24, 1966
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Mayor John V. Lindsay today canceled a dinner and reception for King Faisal of Saudi Arabia scheduled for tonight as protest against the anti-Jewish statements made by the Saudi Arabian ruler at a press luncheon yesterday in Washington. Governor Rockefeller similarly canceled a routine courtesy call he had been scheduled to make tomorrow at the king’s suite at the Waldorf-Astoria here.

Prior to his decision to cancel the dinner here, Mayor Lindsay personally met in Washington with Secretary of State Dean Rusk at the State Department, Mr. Rusk sought to dissuade the mayor from taking such an action which he felt could offend President Johnson’s official guest. King Faisal is visiting the United States as a guest of the Government.

The mayor’s office here had since yesterday afternoon been inundated by hundreds of telegrams and telephone calls strongly protesting against the scheduled honors for tonight for King Faisal. City Council president Frank O’Connor announced he had received an invitation to the official functions for the king and that he would not attend.


Virtually every Jewish organization protested today against the anti-Jewish remarks voiced in Washington yesterday by the King of Saudi Arabia. Among the organizations that issued statements were the National Community Relations Advisory Council; the American Jewish Committee; the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith; the American Jewish Congress; Hadassah; the American Zionist Council; the Zionist Organization of America; and many others.

The National Community Relations Advisory Council, coordinating body of Jewish organizations engaged in the fight for civil rights and in combatting anti-Semitism, said that King Faisal’s attitude was “shocking.” Noting that he was in this country on an official state visit, the NCRAC said he had “abused the hospitality of our Government by publicly maligning American citizens who are Jews. Diplomatic courtesy, ” the statement noted, “does not give license to bigotry.”

The American Jewish Committee especially “deplored” King Faisal’s declaration that he supports the Arab boycott of Americans engaged in business dealings with Israel, declaring: “In so doing, he is approving a program that has been specifically denounced by his host, the United States Government.”

On behalf of the American Jewish Congress, Dr. Joachim Prinz “heartily” commended the Mayor for his cancelation action. Pointing out that President Johnson’s Administration policy also supports Israel, Dr. Prinz asked: “Does King Faisal consider the President of the United States to be an enemy as well?” All Americans of many faith;, Dr. Prinz stated, “abhor the Arab ruler’s attitude toward Israel and toward those who are its friends.”

Dore Schary, national chairman of the ADL, stated in a telegram to Mayor Lindsay, before the latter’s cancelation of the scheduled Faisal dinner: “After King Faisal’s remarks in Washington yesterday, we believe it unseemly for New Yorkers to say that he is welcome in our city. The city’s tribute as contemplated should be reserved for those who come to us in friendship. We urge you to cancel the city’s official welcome to him.”

Dr. Max Nussbaum, chairman of the American Zionist Council, said the anti-Jewish remarks of the King of Saudi Arabia “come with ill grace from a visiting monarch who is being given the hospitality of our country and our city. If King Faisal wishes to consider the Zionists to be the enemies of his country, that is his privilege. But he should know that the overwhelming number of American citizens, both Jews and non-Jews, as well as the Government of the United States, have given decisive support in the creation of Israel and applaud the efforts of that small country in the Middle East to develop a democratic society which will become a boon to the entire area, for the benefit of Jew and Arab alike.”

Jacques Torczyner, president of the Zionist Organization of America, also “deplored” the Saudi Arabian king’s remarks, noting that, among the citizens of the host country are 5,500,000 Jews loyal to the United States. Mrs. Mortimer Jacobson, national president of Hadassah, stated that Falsal could have been expected while a guest of the United States “to conduct himself in a manner that would not offend the American Jewish community.”

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