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Two Jewish Groups Demand Probe of Defense Department Broadcast

January 29, 1973
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Two major national Jewish organizations have reacted strongly to a disclosure by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the Defense Department’s Armed Forces Radio and Television Service has transmitted a broadcast by the notorious anti-Semite Gerald L. K. Smith. Investigations of the incident were demanded by Rabbi Israel Miller, president of the American Zionist Federation, and Mrs. Henry Rapaport, president of the National Women’s League of the United Synagogue of America.

A spokesman for the AZF told the JTA today that Pentagon officials reached by telephone over the week-end expressed “genuine concern” over the incident which they said came as news to them. One official was quoted by the AZF spokesman as saying that “It probably happened out of stupidity more than anything else” and added that “once the AZF protest is received there will probably be some quick action on this matter.”

In a telegram sent Friday to Secretary of Defense-designate Elliot L. Richardson, Rabbi Miller referred to the JTA report and said: “On behalf of the 700,000 members enrolled in the American Zionist movement, we express our sense of shock and strongly protest the action of the AFRTS in transmitting to U.S. installations throughout the world the broadcast of Gerald L. K. Smith, the notorious anti-Semite who used the occasion for his usual anti-Semitic and anti-Israel diatribe. We urge an immediate investigation into such an incomprehensible action on the part of the FRTS which operates with public funds and look toward your assurances that such unfortunate incidents will not be allowed to recur.”


Rabbi Miller, in a similar telegram to Edward Little, president of the Mutual Broadcasting System which first carried the Smith broadcast, added: “We consider your action in allowing the use of Mutual’s facilities to be given to one of America’s notorious anti-Semites as an affront to American Jews and other decent Americans of all faiths.”

An AZF spokesman told the JTA that in contrast to the concern voiced by Pentagon officials, top officials at MBS indicated that they did not regard the matter as serious. The spokesman said that both Little and Gary Worth, vice president in charge of station relations, refused Friday to answer repeated phone calls from the AZF although they were fully apprised of what the calls were about.

According to the spokesman, several hours later a secretary returned the AZF’s calls with the message, “If the AZF cared to explain its concern about the Smith broadcast in a letter to us, we shall be glad to send them our reply.” The AZF spokesman” said it wasn’t known whether Little had received Rabbi Miller’s telegram when the message was given.

Mrs. Rapaport said: “Something must be terribly wrong with the way our government operates when a well known anti-Semite such as Smith is allowed the facilities of the U.S. government to vent his poison on unsuspecting soldiers stationed throughout the world.” She said she was forced to raise the question of “who is minding the store?” to see that such an incident does not occur again.

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