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Negro Leader Appeals to Jews to Back Negro Cause Despite Anti-semitism

December 22, 1966
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A Negro leader in the fight for Negro rights said today that he was “deeply ashamed” of anti-Jewish feelings in the Negro community, but that ultimately, it is the raising of the standard of living in the Negro ghetto that will eliminate the Negro’s need for a scapegoat.

The leader, Bayard Rustin, urged that “Jews should not get out of a movement they believe in because of the frustration expressed by some Negroes.” He compared the civil rights movement in the United States to efforts to eliminate anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union. “I would not desert the fight against Soviet anti-Semitism if every Jew told me to get out,” he declared. “I believe in this cause.”

Mr. Rustin, executive director of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, spoke at a session of the national executive committee of the Jewish Labor Committee. He said that the Negro falsely reasons that “if the Jews really meant business, if they wanted to end discrimination, they could have,” and he added that the Negroes “feel the same about organized labor.”

“In addition, the Jews and the police are the only whites who have not entirely deserted the ghetto,” Mr. Rustin declared, “and in looking for a scapegoat for your frustrations you jump on those near you and on those with whom you have relationships.”

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