• Archives
  • Calendar
  • Contact Us

Equal Rights – Civil Rights (1974)

Civil Rights (1974)

Women’s League for Conservative Judaism believes that freedom of expression and dissent, as guaranteed by our Constitution, is basic to our American democracy and therefore we deplore the numerous attempts to erode the Bill of Rights.

Concerned with the abuse and misuse of powers of government, and its invasion of privacy of the individual, Women’s League urges our affiliated Sisterhoods to:

  1. Operate electronic eavesdropping without court order or legislative sanction.
  2. Oppose gathering, by government agencies, of personal information and its computerization without the right of the individual to:
  3. Secure success to relevant data
  4. Challenge such data
  5. Oppose the disclosure of government gathered information to non-governmental agencies without the express consent of the individuals concerned.
  6. Obtain legal remedy if injured by the improper dissemination of data
  7. Oppose investigation of an individual without that individual’s being informed that an investigation is taking place.
  8. Oppose government intimidation and pressure on the press and the broadcast media.

Role of Individual Citizens in Promoting Civil Rights (1962)

“It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, Neither are you free to desist from it.” – Ethics of Our Fathers – Chapter ll – 20:21

National Women’s League reaffirms its commitment to promote and foster equality of treatment and of opportunity for all individuals.

We commend and support those individuals who, despite the risk of bodily harm and imprisonment, protest through peaceful demonstration, the inequity of segregation. We believe that citizen action reinforces government efforts in achieving these goals. We accept our responsibility as Sisterhoods and as individuals to work toward the realization of these principles in our communities. (Amendment 324A)

Role of Individual Citizens In Promoting Civil Rights (1960)

“It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, Neither are you free to desist from it.” – Ethics of Our Fathers – Chapter ll – 20:21

National Women’s League sympathizes with those who seek equality of treatment by retail stores and other establishments. We commend the peaceful demonstrations which have recently take place in many parts of our land. These demonstrations should awaken our government to the need for insuring the guarantees of our Constitution, to extend to all Americans, equal access to all areas of community life such as public and private housing, voting booths, schoolrooms, jobs and public facilities. (Amendment 324)

Role Of Government In Protecting Civil Rights (1962)

“That the Government may be increased and of peace there be no end… through justice and through righteousness” – Isaiah 9:16

The 14th Amendment of our Constitution grants equal rights to all citizens of our land. Our Government possesses the power to “secure these rights” and to eliminate the discriminatory practices that prevent their enjoyment.

Under the present administration, the Executive power has been used in a number of important areas to combat racial discrimination and segregation. We commend the President for his resolute action in enforcing the laws of our land when, in Mississippi, they were flouted. However, President Kennedy has failed to issue the Executive order barring discrimination in federally assisted housing that he expressly promised during the 1960 presidential campaign.

Therefore, we call upon the President of the United States to:

  1. Issue an Executive Order establishing a Federal Civil Rights Code and appropriate administrative machinery to assure equal access and equal opportunity in all housing receiving federal assistance, in all other facilities and services maintained, operated or directed by the federal government, and in all federal grant and loan programs.
  2. Direct the Attorney General to broaden the activities of the Department of Justice in the area of Civil Rights, specifically by the initiation of civil injunction suits to prevent the violation of all constitutional rights.

We call upon the 88th Congress to enact legislation to:

  1. Eliminate unfair literacy tests,
  2. Empower the federal government to conduct federal elections wherever it is established that eligible voters are being denied the right to vote.
  3. Establish a Federal Fair Employment Practices Commission with enforcement powers.
  4. Grant assistance to school districts seeking to comply with the Supreme Court’s desegregation decisions and to require all districts affected by those decisions to initiate first step compliance by 1963.
  5. Broaden the powers of the Civil Rights Commission and give it permanent status.

We call upon the House and the Senate each to amend its rules to prevent frustration of the will of the majority by filibuster (Senate Rule 22) or by the abuse of the powers of committees (House Rules Committee). (Amendment 323)

Federal Civil Rights Law (1958)

National Women’s League is greatly encouraged by the action of the 85th Congress in passing the first Federal Civil Rights Law in eighty-two years. While admittedly inadequate, it is the first step toward the attainment of needed and desirable legislation.

The Civil Rights Act of 1957 creates a Commission on Civil Rights, establishes a Civil Rights Division in the Department of Justice and authorizes the Attorney General to seek preventive relief against interferences with the right to vote.

We urge the government to act with determination in discharging its obligations under the law. We further urge the Civil Rights Commission to familiarize the public with the provisions of the law, their rights under it and with the procedures for redress of their grievances.

We call upon the 86th Congress to enact legislation which would:

  1. Provide assistance to communities seeking to comply with United States Supreme Court decisions on desegregation.
  2. Empower the Attorney General to file civil suits for preventive relief in all civil rights cases.
  3. Authorize the Justice Department to take jurisdiction in dynamiting cases.

We call upon our affiliated Sisterhoods, in cooperation with other Jewish and non-Jewish like-minded organizations, to engage in educational programs in support of the objectives of this resolution.

Civil Liberties (1956)

“Proclaim Liberty throughout the land and to all the inhabitants thereof.” – Leviticus 25:10

Ye shall not therefore oppress one another” – Leviticus 25:17

Freedom, a dominant theme of Judaism, has created in the Jewish people a sensitivity to denial of liberty. Jews who have suffered throughout the ages under tyrannical governments are painfully aware that only in a democracy where freedom is maintained, and dignity of the individual is respected, can any group feel secure.

National Women’s League is gratified to note that there has been a lessening of tension in the general climate of civil liberties. Nevertheless, there is cause for continuing concern. Resistance to the Supreme Court desegregation decisions has given rise during the past year to widespread violations of basic Constitutional liberties. Intimidations, physical force, economic reprisals and other forms of coercion have been applied, often with the assent of local and state governments, to stifle criticism and to compel conformity.

Therefore, National Women’s League of the United Synagogue of America calls upon the agencies of government, federal, state and local, to fulfill their responsibility to the Constitution by utilizing their full authority to prevent interference with the exercise of Constitutional liberties.

National Women’s League reaffirms its position urging our government to:

  1. Revise existing security procedures which curtail freedom of speech, press and the right to peaceably assemble, so that our Country can be protected against subversion without infringing on the civil liberties of the individual; revise the Internal Security Act of 1950 (McCarran Act) to reflect American democratic traditions.
  2. Uphold the principle of ACADEMIC FREEDOM in institutions of learning so that the search for truth by faculty and students may proceed without hindrance or intimidation.
  3. Implement the Supreme Court’s decision revising the Federal Government’s security program for federal employees, the armed forces and workers in defense industries, so that only those in sensitive positions are subject to security regulations.
  4. Prevent abuses by congressional investigating committees by adopting a code of fair procedure and by limiting their sphere of inquiry to their legitimate areas.
  5. End the use of secret informers; grant the accused the right to confront and cross-examine his accuser as provided in the Sixth Amendment.
  6. Enact legislation which would declare wire tapping to be illegal except in cases of treason, sabotage and espionage, and then only upon court order.
  7. Oppose any system which lists so-called subversive organizations and seeks to impose penalties and disabilities for members in such organizations. We consider such listing a violation of the constitutional guarantee of freedom of association. We therefore urge the abolition of the Attorney-General’s list.

Civil Rights (1956)

“Have we not all one Father?” “Hath not one God created us?” – Malachi 2:10

The concept that all men are equal because they are created in the image of God, is basic in Jewish teaching. The concept of equality is also basic in the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Whenever civil liberties and rights to individuals are denied, democracy is threatened. Members of minority groups who are victimized by discrimination in housing, in employment, in voting, in education and in public accommodation, are deprived of their civil rights. Jewish and other groups must dedicate their efforts toward safeguarding these rights by calling for corrective local, state and federal legislation. We must uphold, commend and help implement court decisions and acts by the Executive Branch of our government, which enhance the civil rights of all citizens. Therefore, National Women’s League reaffirms its position on:

DESEGREGATION

We endorse and support the United States Supreme Court decision on desegregation of races in public schools and urge Sisterhoods affiliated with National Women’s League to do all that lies in their power to work toward the rapid and harmonious implementation of this decision.

We call upon the President to assert, clearly, the leadership of his office to assure that the law is obeyed and that the lawful activities of individuals are not interfered with. We urge the President to call a conference looking toward means of facilitating orderly implementation of the Supreme Court ruling.

FAIR EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES LEGISLATION (FEPC)

We urge local, state and federal legislatures to pass enforceable FEPC laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, because of race, religion, color, national origin or ancestry.

CIVIL RIGHTS LEGISLATION

We urge the 85th Congress at its opening session to adopt rules in the Senate and House of Representatives that will eliminate the filibuster and other parliamentary devices which have been used to prevent civil rights legislation from being brought to a vote.

We urge this Congress to enact laws to:

  1. Secure a person from violence when exercising his right to register to vote or vote; give him the right to go the courts for protection.
  2. Eliminate poll tax as a prerequisite in federal elections.
  3. Establish a Civil Rights division in the Justice Department.
  4. Establish a permanent Federal Commission on Civil Rights.
  5. Eliminate segregation and other forms of discrimination in housing, education, employment, transportation, recreation and other areas of life.
  6. Give residents of Washington, D.C., the right of home rule.

Role of Government In Protecting Civil Rights (1960)

“That the Government may be increased and of peace there be no end… through justice and through righteousness.” – Isaiah 9:16

The 14th Amendment of our Constitution grants equal rights to all citizens of our land. Our government possesses the power to “secure these rights” and eliminate the discriminatory practices that prevent their employment.

Until recently, the burden of enforcing civil rights has fallen almost exclusively on the federal courts and upon the individual citizens who have sought relief in the courts. In 1957, however, Congress passed a limited civil rights law, and in 1960, Congress extended the law to include voting rights which the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has moved vigorously to enforce.

National Women’s League commends both political parties in 1960, for their serious consideration of civil rights and in committing themselves through their party platforms, to extend these rights to all Americans.

We, therefore, urge the President of the United States to exercise the prestige of his office, and the 87th Congress, through legislation to implement these civil rights planks, as follows:

  1. Give the Department of Justice the same authority to seek court injunctions against denials of any civil right that it now has in respect to denials of voting rights;
  2. Provide technical and financial aid to school districts in order to assist them in moving toward compliance with Supreme Court desegregation rulings;
  3. Give legal recognition to the President’s Committee on Government Contracts, and give this Committee the authority to issue enforceable orders against employment discrimination by firms holding government contracts.

Amended resolution on Civil Liberties (1962)

“Proclaim liberty throughout the land and unto all the inhabitants thereof.” – Leviticus 25:10

There has been evident a trend toward fuller restoration of Civil Liberties. The freedoms guaranteed in our Constitution, (Religion, Speech and Association) have been strengthened by the following action:

  1. A New York jury upheld the plaintiff in a libel suit against an organization that blacklisted a performer as a communist sympathizer;
  2. President Kennedy rebuked a reporter who referred to charges of disloyalty against two minor government officials;
  3. The Atomic Energy Commission’s decision to allow the accused at security hearings, to confront their accusers;
  4. The U.S. Supreme Court setting aside many convictions for contempt of Congress;
  5. The Post Office Department’s discontinuance of intercepting mail originating in the Iron Curtain countries.

These are all indications that Civil Liberties have been strengthened within the last year. National Women’s League is gratified at this change in the climate of Civil Liberties.