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U.S. Jewish Groups Welcome Bush Campaign Resignations

September 15, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

U.S. Jewish groups welcomed the resignations in the past week of seven members of Vice President George Bush’s ethnic coalition.

But one Jewish leader said another Republican Party aide should not have had do so for his 1971 compilation of date on Jews in the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The seven resignations began Sept. 8 with Jerome Brentar, co-chairman of the Coalition of American Nationalities, a campaign ethnic outreach committee, following a story by Larry Cohler in the Washington Jewish Week detailing the individuals in question.

Brentar has been active in groups that deny the Holocaust took place, including the Institute for Historical Review.

On Sunday, Frederic Malek resigned from his post as deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee, following Washington Post revelations that he obeyed President Nixon’s 1971 order to compile data on the number of Jews in the upper echelons of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

President Nixon reportedly had ordered Malek to do so out of a fear that Nixon was being hurt by a “Jewish cabal,” who were damaging him politically by over-exaggerating the country’s economic woes.

Stephen Silbiger, Washington representative of the American Jewish Congress, disputed Malek’s contention that he was just following orders, saying that “is not an acceptable excuse in the Jewish community.”

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, defended Malek, saying he should not have been forced to resign. Foxman called Malek “a man with no record of bigotry.”

Foxman said that Malek was “flawed in that he did not have the courage to say no” to Nixon’s request, as then-Secretary of the Treasury George Shultz did at the time.

Foxman added that the record shows that Malek refused on three occasions to compile the data before finally doing so, and that Malek should not be ousted simply because a “stronger man” may have totally refused to heed Nixon’s orders.


Five other members of Bush’s ethnic coalition resigned Monday, while another, Radi Slavoff, resigned Tuesday.

Slavoff, national co-chairman of Bulgarians for Bush, reportedly served in a national front aligned with Nazis, the New York Daily News reported Wednesday.

Reacting to the resignations, Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis said Tuesday in Chicago, “I think this raises continuing questions about Mr. Bush’s judgment.”

“It raises questions about the way (Bush) makes his decisions, the people he picks, what he looks for,” the New Orleans Times-Picayune quoted Dukakis as saying.

A Bush campaign spokesman, David Sandor, said Wednesday that “the matter is closed and we are going on.”

Foxman said that Bush’s ethnic advisory panel has been purged of all “true-blue anti-Semites” or supporters of Holocaust revisionists.

Besides Brentar and Slavoff, the five other ethnic committee members who resigned are:

Florian Galdau, an honorary chairman of the panel and a Romanian Orthodox priest, who the Jewish Week said was a New York member of the Iron Guard, “war time Romania’s virulently anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi movement.”


Philip Guarino, a Catholic priest who has been listed as a member of P-2, led by longtime fascist Licio Gelli.

Laszlo Pasztor, a Hungarian American who, as a young man, served in Hungary’s pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic Arrow Cross regime as a junior envoy to Berlin, according to the Jewish Week.

Ignatius Bilinsky, president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, who has been critical of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, which investigates Nazi war criminals living in the United States.

Bohdan Fedorak, a member of the Captive Nations Committee of Detroit, who is a leading critic of OSI.

Allan Ryan, director of OSI from 1980 to 1983, welcomed the resignations, and said they benefit OSI.

“They have already impacted positively in the sense that Bush’s immediate reaction was to get these guys loose.”

Ryan, now serving in the general counsel’s office at Harvard University, called Brentar a “notorious outspoken critic of OSI” who “suggested that the whole effort to prosecute Nazi war criminals in this country is communist-inspired and illegitimate.”

At the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council, spokesman Kenneth Bandler said, “We are pleased that the Republican Party acted with speed in accepting the resignations of those individuals. However we are nevertheless disturbed that individuals with such tainted pasts gained those kinds of high positions.”

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