Prompt action by Mayor John V. Lindsay was asked yesterday by two Jewish organizations against an anti-poverty official for his assertion that the “Jewish Mafia” had threatened that if the mayor hoped to become Governor of New York State he would have to “kill Ocean-Brownsville,” the experimental school district in Brooklyn. Refusal by the district governing council to accept a number of teachers touched off an 11-day city-wide teachers strike last month.
The complaints to the mayor were made in separate statements by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and the Jewish Labor Committee. Both sharply criticized Oliver Ramsey, educational director of the New York City Council Against Poverty, the city’s policy-making agency for anti-poverty programs. Mr. Ramsey was quoted as asserting that the “Jewish Mafia” of the United Federation of Teachers had allegedly made that threat to the mayor.
The ADL said that the “connotations” of the charge were obvious and that charge not only indicated anti-Semitism by Mr. Ramsey but also “a calculated attempt to foment Negro anti-Semitism with an allegation which is false.” The ADL noted that the mayor had appealed for an end to “religious and racial epithets” in the school dispute and added that Mr. Ramsey’s conduct “makes questionable his efficacy in the post to which you appointed him. We therefore strongly urge that you take immediate and appropriate action in this most serious matter.”
The Jewish Labor Committee urged the mayor to make a clear statement of public policy on the “growing use of racial slurs by officials on the city payroll.” Such statements, the JLC asserted, “add to the growing tensions between racial and religious groups in our community.” The JLC demanded an unequivocal response by Mayor Lindsay to “curb such irresponsible and inflammatory actions” and added that “strong measures” must be taken to “halt the spreading hate” as essential to the prevention of “further polarization within our city.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.