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June 11, 1965 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1965-06-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

AJ Committee, ADL Oppose Libel Bill

NEW YORK (JTA)—The Ameri-
can Jewish Committee has inform-
ed Governor Rockefeller of its op-
position to the Group Libel Bill
introduced by Senator Irwin R.
Brownstein (Democrat) and now
waiting the governor's signature.
The bill would create for the first
time in New York State a criminal
penalty for group libel, which is
the utterance or publishing of any
statement or statements defama-
tory of a racial or religious group,
known by the utterer or publisher
to be false.

"Our examination of the history
of grOup libel statutes, particularly
those in pre-Nazi Germany, under-
scores their inherent futility,"
Theodore Ellenoff, chairman of the
group's Civil Rights and Civil Lib-
‘7-- ----erties Committee, said in his letter
the Governor. "For the past 20
years the Committee has op-
posed group libel legislation na-
tionally and in the several states.
Although such legislation is gener-
ally introduced with the highest
motivations, we have based our ob-
jections on the ground that more
problems are raised than are
solved . . . Such legislation pro-
vides bigots and extremists with
an opportunity to use the courts at
a forum for their calumnies and
as a focus for publicity. A prosecu-
tion to alleviate racial and reli-
gious antagonism might well be-
come an instrument for extending
it. These fears are not imaginery."
Later the Anti - Defamation
League of Bnai Brith urged

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Governor Rockefeller to veto the
bill passed by both houses of the
legislature.
In a letter responding to the
governor's request for its opinion
of the bill, the Anti-Defamation
League pointed out that for al-
most half a century it has been
and continues to be engaged in a
broad educational program aimed
at the eradication of bias and
prejudice, and that a "carefully
drawn statute punishing group
libel -may serve the state well."
However, the letter pointed out
that "this bill reveals a number of
serious shortcomings." Among
these, the League contended, were
"vague language that may rend-
er the bill open to the charge that
it violates due process of law."
According to the Anti-Defamation
League, "the bill fails to set forth
clear standards of guilt" and may
therefore fail to achieve the goal
sought.

* *
Commons Committee
Airs Addition of Word
`Religion' to Measure

LONDON (JTA) — A proposal
that the race relations bill now
pending in Parliament -add the
word "religion" to the measure,
so as to include Jews specifically,
was debated as a House of Com-
mons committee continued to con-
sider the draft.
The amendment to the act, by
specifically adding the word "re-
ligion," was introduced by Paul
Rose, and warmly supported by
Reginald Freeson. Both are mem-
bers of the Labor Party; Freeson
is a Jew.
Rose argued that "religion"
must be added, in addition to
"ehnic and racial groups," if the
bill would "work effectively for
the prevention of anti-Jewish
bias." Freeson told the committee
that, "whatever the intentions of
the drafters of the bill may be,
Many people doubt whether the
Jews would be covered. These
doubts must be dispelled."
Opposition to inclusion of the
word "religion" was voiced by
Sir Frank Soskice, the home
secretary, and a well-know write
secretary, and by a Conservative
member of Parliament, Norman
St. John Stevas. The latter, a
well-known writer, argued that,
if the Jews were to be singled
out by religious identification
Parliament would, in effect, em-
ploy the very terminology used
by neo-Nazis like Colin Jordan,
leader of the British Nazi move-
ment.
Such terminology, he m a i n-
tained, would be "putting the
Jews into a separate category."
Sir Frank, opposing the Rose
amendment, told the committee
that the drafters of the bill as-
sumed that religion was "some-
thing personal to each citizen,
and not a distinctive definition
applying to a group." For that rea-
son, he said, "it is better to have
Jews and other religious minori-
ties covered in the definition of
racial and ethnic groups."

it so hard to make people under-
stand that a law protecting Can-
adian society from hate dissemina-
tion would in no way infringe
sought by the CJC, and Parliament upon their freedom?" he said.
is requested to set specific penal-
Want ads get quick results?
ties for violation's.

Meanwhile, in Toronto, Rev.
John Morgan, pastor of the First
Unitarian Congregation, told a
synagogue meeting that hate mon-
gers must be taught by all means,
including violence, that Nazi anti-
Semitism is impossible. in Canada.
Rev. Morgan, who was present
at last week's riot in Allan Gar-
dens, said that violence is not
always an improper means of so-
cial control. "If you go into Har-
lem and stand in the middle of
the street shouting, 'Down with
Niggers,' you can expect retalia-
tion."
He said the average gentile
group takes the attitude that if
the situation is left alone it will
go away by itself. "They say the
Jew is too sensitive. He better be
sensitive," ReV. Morgan said.
"We are restricted by laws hi
a million different ways. Why is

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Canadian Jewish Congress
Submits Mail Curb Memo;
Pastor Advocates Action

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

(************************

CH

.

MONTREAL (JTA)—A lengthy
memorandum urging the Canadian
House of Commons to enact legis-
lation outlawing the dissemination
orally or by publication of any
materials harmful to any ethnic
religious or racial group in this
country was submitted by the
Canadian Jewish Congress Tues-
day to the external affairs com-
mittee of the House of Commons.
Amendments of present laws are

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