Jewish RightsClash With American Rights March 12, 1921
It is well that the public should understand that the present study of the Jewish Question in the United States is not based upon religious differences. The religious element does not enter except when it is injected by the Jews themselves. And it is injected in three ways: First, in their allegation that any study of the Jews is “religious persecution”; second, by their own records of what their activities in the United States consist of; third, by the impression which is very misleading if not corrected, that the Jews are the Old Testament people of the Old Testament religion which is so highly regarded in the Christian world. The Jews are not the Old Testament people, and the Old Testament, their Bible, can be found among them only with difficulty. They are a Talmudical people who have preferred the volumes of rabbinical speculation to the words of their ancient Prophets.
The note of religion does not enter this discussion until the Jews place it there. In this series of articles we have set aside every non-Jewish statement on this question, and have accepted only that which proceeds from recognized Jewish sources. It has been more than a surprise, in studying the proceedings of the New York Kehillah and the American Jewish Committee and their affiliated organizations, as represented by their activities throughout the country, to learn how large a part of these activities have a religious bearing, as being directly and combatively anti-Christian.
That is to say, when the Jews set forth in the public charters and constitutions of their organizations that their only purpose is to “protect Jewish rights,” and when the public asks what are these “Jewish rights” which need protection in this free country, the answer can be found only in the actions which the Jews take to secure that “protection.” The actions interpret the words. And thus interpreted, “Jewish rights” seem to be summed up in the “right” to banish everything from their sight and hearing that even suggests Christianity or its Founder. It is just there, from the Jewish side, that religious intolerance makes its appearance.
What follows in the course of this article is nothing less nor more than a group of citations from Jewish records covering a number of years. It is given here partly as an answer to the charge that this series of articles is “religious persecution,” and partly to help interpret by official actions the official Jewish program in the United States.
An important factor is that previous to the formation of the Kehillah and the Jewish Committee, this sort of attack on the rights of Americans was sporadic, but since 1906 it has increased in number and insistence. Heretofore it has gone unheeded by the public as a whole because of our general tolerance in this country, but from this time forth the country will possess information that what it has been tolerating is intolerance itself. Under cover of the ideal of Liberty we have given certain people liberty to attack liberty. We ought at least to know when that is being done.
Look rapidly down the years and see one phase of that attack. It is the attack on Christianity.
That is rather a hard thing to set down in writing in this country, and it would not be set down did not the facts compel it. Jewish writers nowadays show a great deal of anxiety that non-Jews should follow certain Christian doctrines. “We gave you your Savior, and he told you to love your enemies; why don’t you love us?” is the implication with which their statements usually come.
However, here are a few items from the record: They are recorded according to the Jewish calendar (our modern calendar is “Christian,” and therefore taboo) but here both calendar dates shall be supplied.
5661 (A.D. 1899-1900) The Jews attempt to have the word “Christian” removed from the Bill of Rights of the State of Virginia.
5667 (A.D. 1906-1907) The Jews of Oklahoma petition the Constitutional Convention protesting that the acknowledgement of Christ in the new state constitution then being formulated would be repugnant to the Constitution of the United States.
5668 (A.D. 1907-1908) Widespread demand by the Jews during this year for the complete secularization of the public institutions of this country, as a part of the demand of the Jews for their constitutional rights.—Supreme Court Justice Brewer’s statement that this is a Christian country widely controverted by Jewish rabbis and publications.
5669 (A.D. 1908-1909) Protests made to governor of Arkansas against “Christological expressions” employed by him in his Thanksgiving Day proclamation, 1908.—Professor Gotthard Deutsch protests against “Christological prayers” at the high school graduating exercises in Cincinnati.
5673 (A.D. 1912-1913) The alarming growth of the Jewish population in New York makes it necessary for business men advertising for clerks or secretaries, or housewives advertising for help, to specify where Jewish help was not desired, otherwise the flood of Jewish applicants was overwhelming. The expressions “Christian preferred,” or “Jews please do not apply” are used. This year the New York Kehillah takes the matter in hand stating that “these advertisements indicate an alarming growth of discrimination against Jews and it is remarkable that many firms which cater to the trade of Jews display this form of prejudice.”
5679 (A.D. 1918-1919) The American Jewish Committee took up the alleged discrimination against Jews by army contractors. Louis Marshall, president of the Committee, notified Newton D. Baker, Secretary of War, that advertisements had appeared calling for carpenters to work in government camps, and that the advertisements required the applicants to be Christians. Secretary Baker replied that he had made an order prohibiting contractors from making this discrimination. (On the whole, this special form of advertisement may appear rather stupid: how many Jewish carpenters are there? Not enough to discriminate against. But there were doubtless other reasons.)
Provost Marshall Crowder, in charge of the Selective Draft, had issued an order to all medical examiners, under direction of the Surgeon General, stating “The foreign-born, especially Jews, are more apt to malinger than the native born,” and Louis Marshall again telegraphed both the Provost Marshall and the Surgeon General demanding that “the further use of this form shall be at once discontinued; that every copy of it that has been issued should be recalled by telegram; and that proper explanations be made, so as to expunge from the archives of the United States the unwarranted stigma upon three millions of people.”
It was President Wilson, however, who eventually ordered the excision of this paragraph.
The United States Shipping Board sent an advertisement to the New York Times calling for a file clerk and stating that a “Christian” (by which is always meant a non-Jew) was preferred. The ad was not published as written; it was changed so that it requested applicants to state their religion and nationality. This last form would seem to be far more objectionable than the other. In the first instance the employer states fairly what he wants. In the second instance the applicant is compelled to divulge certain facts about himself in utter ignorance of the employer’s preference. In the first instance, only the two classes that can do business get together; in the second instance there is no clearness about the situation until much useless effort is undertaken. Why? Because the Kehillah demands it. And why does the Kehillah demand it? Because, while it is all right for a Jew to remember that he is a Jew, it is not all right for you to remember it.
So, Louis Marshall got into action again with the Shipping Board, this time with certain drastic demands. Strangely enough, the protest was lodged through Bainbridge Colby, who was Woodrow Wilson’s last Secretary of State. Mr. Marshall demanded: “Not because of any desire for inflicting punishment, but for the sake of example and the establishment of a necessary precedent, this offense should be followed by a dismissal from the public service of the offender, and the public should be informed of the reason.”
Attention is particularly called to the tone which Mr. Marshall adopts when addressing high American officials in the name of the Jewish Committee. It is not to be duplicated in the addresses of any other representatives of other nationalities or faiths.
Unfortunately for Mr. Marshall’s plan of punishment, the object of his wrath was found to be a woman, and she was not discharged, although the Jewish Committee got an apology from Charles M. Schwab.
The Federal Reserve Bank and Liberty Loan Committee also got in wrong when an advertisement was printed calling for a “Stenographer for the Liberty Loan Committee (Christian).” Protest was made to Benjamin Strong, governor of the Federal Reserve Bank and chairman of the Liberty Loan Committee, and the advertisement was withdrawn. But this was not enough. Secretary of the Treasury McAdoo was also drawn in to express his “reprobation for an unpatriotic act.”
An officer in the Quartermaster’s Department replied to a young woman who applied for the position of secretary to him that he preferred not to have Jews on his office staff. He was reprimanded upon the request of Mr. Marshall.
The Plattsburg Manual, published for officers in the United States officers’ training camps, contained the statement that “the ideal officer is a Christian gentleman.” Mr. Marshall at once made the standard protest against all “Christological manifestations,” and the Manual was changed to read, “the ideal officer is a courteous gentleman.”
5680 (A.D. 1919-1920) In this year the Kehillah was so successful in its New York campaign that it was possible for a Jewish advertiser in New York to say that he wanted Jewish help, but it was not possible for a non-Jewish advertiser to state his non-Jewish preference. This is a sidelight both on Jewish reasonableness and Jewish power.
One gathers that a few people are still hugging the delusion that there is no Jewish Question in the United States. But another glance down the records will show the most prejudiced person that there is such a Question. If space permitted, the few details added below could be matched by a sufficient number to overflow all the pages of this paper.
5668 (A.D. 1907-1908) Jews agitate in many cities against Bible reading, Christmas celebrations or carols. In Philadelphia, Cincinnati, St. Paul and New York the Jewish opposition to the carols is met with strong counter-movements.
5669 (A.D. 1908-1909) Jewish Community at Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, defeats resolution providing daily Bible Reading in the schools.—Jews attempting same compulsion in New Jersey are met with decision that pupils may absent themselves from devotional exercises.—Jewish agitation in Louisiana stirs ministerial association to defend the right of the school to the Bible.—Local council of Jewish Women of Baltimore petitions school board to prohibit Christmas exercises.—On demand of Edwin Wolf, Jewish member, Philadelphia school board prohibits Christmas exercises.—Jews present bills asking that New York Hebrews be permitted to ply trades and businesses on Sunday. Interdenominational Ministers’ Conference takes official action and Rev. Dr. David J. Burrell, of the Marble Collegiate Church, states that the attempts of the Jews to undermine the sanctity of Sunday are ethically unjustified.
5670 (A.D. 1909-1910) On demand of Jews the school board of Bridgeport, Pennsylvania, votes to discontinue the recitation of The Lord’s Prayer in the schools.—In Kentucky State Senate, Jews defeat the Tichenor Bill making the Bible a book eligible for the schools.
5671 (A.D. 1910-1911) Jews oppose Bible reading and singing of hymns in Detroit schools.—New York State Federation of Labor opposes Jewish Bill to exempt Jews from prosecution for violating Sunday laws. (The workingman knows that it means a 7-day week for the Goy!)—New York Kehillah does two contradictory things; favors bill to permit Jews to do all kinds of business on Sunday, and pledges itself to cooperate in the strict enforcement of the Sunday laws.
5672 (A.D. 1911-1912) Upon the urgence of two Jews the Hartford, Connecticut, school board votes on the question of abolishing all religious exercises in the schools. The motion is lost by 5 to 4.—Jewish pupils in a Passaic, New Jersey, school petition the board of education to eliminate the Bible and all Christian songs from the school.—At the request of a rabbi, three principals of Roxbury, Massachusetts, public schools agree to banish the Christmas tree and omit all references to the season in their schools.—Jewish pupils of Plainfield, New Jersey, petition the abolition of the Bible and Christian songs from the schools.—The Council of the University Settlement, at the request of the New York Kehillah and the Federation of Rumanian Jews, adopts this resolution: “That in holiday celebrations held annually by the Kindergarten Association at the University Settlement every feature of any sectarian character, including Christmas trees, Christmas programs and Christmas songs, and so on, shall be eliminated.”—Philadelphia Kehillah demands that Jews be exempted from operation of the Sunday laws.—In the Outlook, Dr. Lyman Abbott advises an inquiring schoolmaster that he is under no moral obligation to admit Jews to his private school.—A Jewish delegate to the Ohio Constitutional Convention suggests that the constitution be made to forbid religious references in the schools.—Jewish merchants of Paterson, New Jersey, petition for exemption from the Sunday laws.—Board of education of Yonkers, New York, denies Jewish request to forbid singing of Christian songs in the schools.
5673 (A.D. 1912-1913) Annual Convention Independent Order of B’nai B’rith at Nashville, Tennessee, adopts resolution against reading the Bible and singing Christian songs in public schools.—Jews at Jackson, Tennessee, seek an injunction to prevent the reading of the Bible in city schools.—Jews of Nashville, Tennessee, petition board of education against Bible and Christian songs.—Richmond, Virginia, school board restores Bible reading in the schools.—Bill introduced into Pennsylvania legislature providing for Bible reading in schools and the discharge of teachers omitting to do so. Jewish rabbis protest against bill. Jewish Kehillah of Philadelphia sends telegram to governor urging him to veto bill. Governor approves bill.—Chicago board of education, scene of much Jewish agitation, approves recommendation of subcommittee to remove Christmas from the list of official holidays in public schools.—In response to demands of Jews the Revere, Massachusetts, school board consents to remove references to Jesus from Christmas exercises in public schools. This action, however, was rescinded at a special meeting.—California Jews appeal before Senate Committee on Public Morals to protest against a proposed Sunday law.—At Passaic, New Jersey, 29 Jewish members of the senior high school class walk out of class election, alleging “racial discrimination.”—At Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the national convention of the United States War Veterans, the proposal to restore the Cross as part of the insignia of chaplain, was defeated by Jews.
5674 (A.D. 1913-1914) This year the energies of the Jewish powers were concentrated on the task of preventing the United States from changing the immigration laws in a manner to protect the country from undesirable aliens.
5675 (A.D. 1914-1915) Jewish rabbi demands of California state superintendent of public instruction that some verses appearing in school readers be eliminated.—New York Kehillah concerns itself with attempts to secure modification of the Sunday laws.
5676 (A.D. 1915-1916) This year occupied by opposition to various movements toward making the schools free to use the Bible, and in opposition to the Gary system. The Gary system receives a great deal of attention from the Jews this year.
5677 (A.D. 1916-1917) Jews are busy carrying out an immense campaign against the “literacy clause” of the immigration bill.
And so it goes on. The incidents quoted are typical, not occasional. They represent what is transpiring all the time in the United States as the Jews pursue their “rights.” There is no interference whatever with Jewish ways and manners. The Jew may use his own calendar, keep his own days, observe his own form of worship, live in his own ghetto, exist on a dietary principle all his own, slaughter his cattle in a manner of which no one who knows about it can approve—he can do all these things without molestation, without the slightest question of his right in them. But the non-Jew is now the “persecuted one.” He must do everything the way the Jew wants it done; if not, he is “infringing on Jewish rights.”
Americans are very sensitive about infringing on other people’s rights. The Jews might have gone on for a long time had they not overplayed their hand. What the people are now coming to see is that it is American rights that have been interfered with, and the interference has been made with the assistance of their own broad-mindedness. The Jews’ interference with the religion of the others, and the Jews’ determination to wipe out of public life every sign of the predominant Christian character of the United States, is the only active form of religious intolerance in the country today.
But there is still another phase of the matter. Not content with the fullest liberty to follow their own faith in peace and quietness, in a country where none dares make them afraid, the Jews declare—we read it in their activities—that every sight and sound of anything Christian is an invasion of their peace and quietness, and so they stamp it out wherever they can reach it through political means. To what lengths this spirit may run is shown in the prophecies of the Talmud, and in the “reforms” undertaken by the Bolsheviki of Russia and Austria.
But even that is not all; not content with their own liberty, not content with the “secularization,” which means the de-Christianization of all public institutions, the third step observable in Jewish activities is the actual exaltation of Judaism as a recognized and specially privileged system. The program is the now familiar one wherever the Jewish Program is found: first, establishment; second, destruction of all that is non-Jewish or anti-Jewish; third, exaltation of Judaism in all its phases.
Put the Lord’s Prayer and certain Shakespeare plays out of the public schools; but put Jewish courts in the public buildings—that is the way it works. Secularization is preparatory to Judaization.
The New York Kehillah is an illustration of how it is all done, and the American Jewish Committee is an illustration of the type of men who do it.
Now for illustrations of the third phase of the program of “defending Jewish rights.”
The year 5669 (A.D. 1908-1909) was marked by an effort to introduce the idea of the Jewish Sabbath into public business. Jews refused to sit as jurors in court, thus postponing cases. Boycotts were instituted in New York against merchants who opened on Saturday. That this campaign has borne fruit is known by all travelers in eastern cities who notice that even large department stores are closed on Saturday.
The year 5670 (A.D. 1909-1910) was dedicated apparently to the work of introducing the idea of Jewish national holidays into public life. This question lately rose in New York in a threatening way, but was withdrawn just before the breaking point. Only temporarily withdrawn, however, The feint revealed the identity and number of those who are still on guard against the complete Judaization of their city.—Jewish members of stock exchanges endeavored to have these institutions recognize Yom Kippur by closing; In Cleveland this was done.—The Council of Jewish Women appealed to the Civil Service Commission at Washington for recognition of Jewish holidays.—In Newark, New Jersey, the rabbis asked the night schools to discontinue Friday evening sessions, because the Jewish Sabbath begins at sundown on Friday.
In 1911 an attempt to have Hebrew officially recognized was frustrated by Supreme Court Judge Goff who refused incorporation of “Agudath Achim Kahal Adath Jeshurun” on the ground that the title should be in English.—Chicago Jews have election date changed because the official date fell on the last day of the Passover.
In 1912-1913 a number of special recognitions of the Saturday Sabbath were obtained, including Jersey City, Bayonne, Hoboken, Union Hill. In the Ohio legislature the Jews defeated a bill fixing a certain Saturday as the date of a primary election.
In 1913-1914 the United States Bureau of Immigration granted the request of Simon Wolf, long-time Jewish lobbyist at Washington, that instructions be given the Immigration Commissioners that no Jews be deported on Jewish holidays.—The Women’s Party of Cook County, Illinois, passes resolutions against allowing Jewish teachers to draw full pay for absence during Jewish holidays.—In this year also the question of the Jews’ method of slaughtering animals—the Shehitah—was brought forward. The American Jewish Committee thought this question of sufficient importance to engage its full interest.
This series of facts could also be pursued at length. Kosher food for the children of public schools because there were Jewish children in the schools; protest against the Daylight Saving Ordinances because they were prejudicial to Jewish merchants who close their businesses on Saturday and open them after nightfall on that day. This is an illustration of the large number of small points at which Jewish life conflicts with community life. And, of course, each of these divergences is ground for an imperious “demand.”—Harvard University was severely criticized in 1917-1918 for refusing to set aside an entrance examination date that conflicted with a Jewish holiday. Since that time, however, eastern universities have become more pliable. But the whole course of the Christian year would have to be changed and all the traditional seasonal customs of the country broken up if the Jews are to be given the full measure of “liberty” which they demand.
Of course, the work of the Kehillah is claimed to be “educational.” It certainly is that. The best educated members are those who come from the ghettos of Galatia where the Kehillah idea is fully understood and the Jewish community government exercises unrestricted sway.
Whatever other phase of education the Kehillah may be interested in, it certainly stresses most the education to separateness. The New York Times especially likes to emphasize this matter of “education.” It is a convenient description and somewhat aids the effort to minimize Kehillah’s importance when it is under scrutiny. Nevertheless in the New York Times an article appeared about the Kehillah in which Dr. S. Benderly, director of the Bureau of Education, is quoted as describing the objects of the education:
“The problem before us was to form a body of young Jews who should be on the one hand true Americans, a part of this Republic, with an intense interest in upbuilding American ideals; and yet, on the other hand, be also Jews in love with the best of their own ideals, and not anxious merely to merge with the rest and disappear among them.
“That problem confronts Orthodox and Reform Jews alike. It is not merely a religious but a civic problem.”
That is separatism and exclusivism as an educational program, and its results cannot help being a cloud of difference such as this article has in part disclosed. The New York Kehillah, through its Bureau of Education, is giving “a purely religious training to 200,000 Jewish children,” the religious training being, of course, not what is generally understood by that term, but a training in ideas of racial superiority and separateness.
This difference is strikingly illustrated in Jewish fiction recently. To love a Christian maiden is sinful; this is the theme of all sorts of stories, sketches and editorials appearing these days. But James Gibbons Huneker, in a sketch extravagantly praised by Jewish critics, shows how deep this idea of separateness is when he makes Yaankely Ostrowicz say: “As a child I trembled at the sound of music and was taught to put my finger in my ears when profane music, Goy music, was played.” This is the root idea: All Gentile life and institutions are “profane.” It is the Jews’ unceasing consciousness of the Goy that constitutes the disease of Judaism, this century-long tradition of separateness.
There is no such thing as anti-Semitism. There is, however, much anti-Goyism. In England, Germany, France, America, Russia, there is no anti-Arab sentiment of which anyone knows. None of the Semite peoples have been distinguished by the special dislike of any other people. There is no reason why anyone should dislike the Semites.
It is very strange, however, that the Semitic people should be a unit in disliking the Jews. Palestine, which still has only a handful of Jews, is peopled by Semites who so thoroughly dislike the Jews that serious complications are threatening the Zionistic advances being made there. This surely is not anti-Semitism. Semites are not against Semites. But they are at odds with Jews.
When Aryan and Semite are kept conscious through many centuries that the Jew is another race, and when it is known that neither Aryan nor Semite are touchy on the race question, what is the answer? Only this, that the whole substance of such a situation must be supplied by the Jews.
There is no such thing as anti-Semitism. There is only a very little and a very mild anti-Jewism. But a study of Jewish publications, books, pamphlets, declarations, constitutions and charters, as well as a study of organized Jewish action in this and other countries, indicates that there is a tremendous amount of anti-Goyism, or anti-Gentilism.
Not that it is anything to fear. It is, however, something to know. Knowledge is a good defense. The New York Kehillah, having as its executive committee the same committee which is also the ruling group of Jews known as District XII of the American Jewish Committee, is worth consideration, not only as an illustration of the interlaced organization which combines all classes of Jews in one group, but also as an illustration of what is meant by “Jewish rights.”
It is worth remembering that every “demand” voiced in Washington before officials and committees, that every high personage that appears there on Jewish matters—the Louis Marshalls and the Wises, the Goldfogles, the Rosalskis, besides many others, like the Kahns and the Schiffs, who keep out of the committee limelight and away from the protesting parties—are all linked up, through this Jewish interest or that, with the main interest which is based on the Kehillah and expresses itself through District XII of the American Jewish Committee.