NEW YORK (Nov. 13)
Jewish leaders flooded the White House with telegrams today demanding that President Ford dismiss Gen. George S. Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for his anti-Semitic and anti-Israel statements. They also demanded an immediate apology and retraction from Brown. The numerous statements were issued before Brown offered an apology, but indications tonight were that the apology was not acceptable.
Raymond Epstein, president of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, sent a telegram to Ford urging “an immediate retraction and apology” from Brown. The telegram was sent from Chicago where 2500 Jewish communal leaders are attending the CJF’s 43rd General Assembly.
Epstein said in the telegram that “we are stunned by today’s revelation of statements made by Gen. George S. Brown regarding Jews. We know that these comments do not reflect our American government’s position nor your own well established sympathetic understanding of the Jewish community, We most strongly urge an immediate retraction and apology by the General. This corrective is needed to prevent his remarks from being an incentive to overt anti-Semitism. We believe that your own statement will do the most to counter and remedy this grievous slur and request your action.”
In a telegram to Defense Secretary James “Schlesinger. Brown’s superior. Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said Brown’s remarks were blatantly anti-Semitic. He added: “His statement should be immediately repudiated by you for the Department of Defense and Brown Issue an apology. It is imperative that a full investigation be launched into the circumstances which precipitated this outrageous act.”
AN ODOR OF PREJUDICE AND MALICE
Rabbi Alexander Schindler, president of the (Reform) Union of American Hebrew Congregations, said that Brown must be dismissed for “his outrageous and blatant anti-Semitic stereotyping remarks against Jews and Judaism.” He said “such diatribes will contribute only to divisiveness in American society and contribute to bigotry here and abroad.”
The Anti-Defamation League of B’nal B’rith, in a letter to Ford, asked him to remove Brown from his position immediately. The ADL said Brown’s remarks “are not only false but contemptible and have an illiterate odor of prejudice and malice.” The letter, by Dore Schary, ADL honorary chairman, added that Brown’s “irresponsible statements make him unfit for his responsible position.”
Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg. president of the American Jewish Congress, sent a message to the White House condemning Brown’s “virulent anti-Semitism.” and asked Ford to determine “whether it is fitting” for Brown “to continue to serve in his present capacity.”
UNDENIABLE ANTI-SEMITIC VENOM
Judge Paul Ribner, commander of the Jewish War Veterans, sent a message to Ford, declaring that the “unbelievable and undeniable anti-Semitic venom espoused” by Brown “makes it imperative that you exercise your prerogative to publicly disavow his statements and summarily remove (Brown) from our nation’s most sensitive and highest military post.”
Prof. Howard Adelson, president of the United Zionists-Revisionists of America, in a telegram to the President, demanded Brown’s removal on grounds he had, by his “attack on American Jewry,” made himself unfit to command troops in this country, who Include many Jews. Prof. Adelson said the General’s statements “clearly indicate his anti-Semitism despite any protestations he may make to the contrary.”
Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D.NY) sent a telegram to Ford, asserting that Brown’s statements were “not only utterly false but, but smack of vicious and ignorant anti-Semitism” and calling on the President to relieve Brown of his command “forthwith.” Rep. Holtzman declared that Brown’s “irrational and appalling remarks” demonstrated “a lack of understanding of this nation’s commitment to Israel,” which Is “rooted in America’s respect for freedom and our need to have a reliable, democratic ally in the Middle East.”
Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R.NY) asked the Senate Armed Services Committee to “look into this whole episode” regarding Brown’s “dangerous” and “un-American stereotypes.” Coming from such “an important source, reflecting the security of our country, this is a matter of utmost gravity,” Javits said in a telephone call to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.