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The Southern Jewish weekly. [volume] (Jacksonville, Fla.) 1939-1992, November 22, 1940, Image 2

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Page Two
The Gentile Problem
By KATHARINE HAYDEN SALTER
(Editor’s Note: It is not a Jewish question, but a problem
of Gentile bigotry and narrow-mindedness, says Katharine Hay
den Salter, a Christian writer, in this article which is published
by arrangement with The Christian Century, an outstanding
weekly publication.)
Gentiles these days devote much time to discussing the
“Jewish problem.” I wonder whether they had not better
give a little attention to the “Gentile problem”—a problem
interminably old, even older than the Jewish one.
Until the Jewish way of life, the
Jewish ethic, the Jewish con
science began to permeate, very
gradually, the Gentile heathen
world, the Gentile never realized
that there was any problem any
where. There was no sense of sin,
and the individual was of infin
itesimal importance. The heavens
were filed with gods who had plen
ty of power and no Ten Command
ments, and the earth was filled
with a social order based on sla
very, with a few tyrants at the
top. There was stoical bravery,
but a minimum of mercy or com
passion and no social conscience;
and there was no God of the sort
that the world has conceived of
since the beginning of the Christ
ian era —except among that tiny
and persistent people in Palestine,
on the highway of the powerful
heathen nations who ravaged them
periodically, carried them away in
to captivity and found them ex
ceedingly “stiff-necked.” These
people had a strange God —just
one God instead of dozens, who
knew human beings personally and
gave them a code of morals that
sounded and often seemed fan
tastically difficult to follow.
The only hope the Jew has ever
had of living in peace has been
the establishment of a world with
similar ethical and social concep
tions. Among his own people he
has made great headway during
his history. But what real safety
could he have when he lived al
ways on the volcanoes of violence,
injustice and moral corruption
that have characterized the Gen
tile world since time immemorial
—and characterize it today?
The greatest of the Jews be
came the founder of a new era, in
which the Jewish ethic began
gradually to have a chance to be
practiced in comparative peace.
Jesus was typically Jewish in his
outlook. He was violently opposed
by the established powers that
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be, both Jewish and Roman, which
got rid of him in the way revolu
tionaries are disposed of anywhere.
But he built up a great following
among the poor and the liberal
elements of Jewry, and these, af
ter his death, founded the Christ
ian church.
The reasons why so many Jews
of the Dispersion never became
Christians are not far to seek. The
official, State church had certain
characteristics that made an im
passable chasm between it and
Jewry, even apart from the ques
tion whether or not Christ was
the Son of God and the Messiah.
It had a tremendously powerful
and rich clergy; it had an absolute
leader, and an attitude toward the
Virgin Mary and a worship of im
ages that, to the Jew, smacked of
idolatry; and it broke up the one
God into the holy Trinity. Its au
thoritarian control was absolute.
In contrast, the Jews had abol
ished the priesthood, they were
increasingly individualistic, and in
religious matters they had beep
moving ever farther away from
outer controls.
Besides, there was the hostility
the Christians seemed to feel to
wards these stubborn people scat
tered here and there among them,
who by their refusal to accept in
stitutional Christianity tacitly de
nied that it was the one true re
ligion. Every time this hostility
broke out into the horrible violenc
es that have always characterized
the Gentile, pagan or Christian,
the Jew must have recoiled and
said, “They have never got even a
glimpse of what our prophets
taught. They still know nothing of
the one God and the moral law!”
How could they help but feel that ?
When I, a Gentile, look today at
the Gentile world in general and
at my own patch of it in particu
lar, it seems obvious that the old
heathen traits are on the rampage
again mob thinking, supersti
tion, suspicion, and the eternal
search for the scapegoat which is
the Gentile’s most characteristic
and ancient weakness. The Jew j
has pretty well got over blaming i
scapegoats. But the Gentile still, !
and repeatedly, breaks all of the
Ten Commandments and most of
the commandments of Jesus, and
the horrible retributions that be
fall him because of his endless
disobedience he blames on some
one or something else. If he is su
perstitious, he blames bad for
tune on evil spirits or sinister
stars or rotten luck; if he is also
malicious and hysterical, he
blames it on a group of people—
and the people always at hand,
always “unabsorbed,” always in
the minority, are the Jews. The
Jews are a perpetual annoyance to
the Gentile. They are vivid, suc
cessful, difficult to fool, frequent
ly aggressive. Gentiles either “just
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don’t like the Jews” or are defin
itely afraid of them. \
I wonder, when I look at my fel
low Gentiles, how far beyond their
noses they customarily see. How
can it be that these terrifying
children of Israel, so clever that
they are very dangerous to the
helpless Christian whom they
“plan to exploit,” are so success
ful in their attempts to "get con
trol of the world” ? From our first
knowledge of them they have been
repeatedly “carried away into sla
very.” By the waters of Babylon
they have wept, and the daughters
of Jerusalem have suffered shriek
ing horrors. The Christians have
done things to them that defy im
agination. Today the condition of
the Jew in the greater part of Eu
rope is so terrible that most people
who still have human hearts can
! not think about it.
| It is a picture of spectacular
unsuccess. If the Jew had ever
controlled the world, he would
never have been put In the posi
tion he has always held: a perse-
I cuted minority in the midst of a
huge and powerful majority that
discriminates against him even in
prosperous times and, when
things go wrong, turns on him
with a calculated fury that makes
wild beasts look gentle.
i The marvel, in the face of the
! plain facts, is this apprehension of
the Gentiles. And another marvel
is the window-dressings they give
their ideas. Because they are so
powerful numerically they can
with impunity say almost any
thing. They believe nearly any
scandal they hear, and the stories
and innuendo they purvey are un
speakably vicious. They calmly
classify the worst Jews they know
or have ever known as “the Jews”
(with occasional condescending
exceptions, when they say about
Jews they approve of, “But we
don’t think of him as a Jew!”).
Os course the Gentiles never make
the lowest, dirtiest, loudest, most
unscrupulous, most indecent mem
bers of their own society their
measure for judging themselves.
Who ever heard the Gentile
damned because one of them is
Adolf Hitler?
Here is a concrete example of
how it works: American doctors,
too many of them, tell you how
impossible the Jews are to com
pete and deal with. (There is no
use denying that the Jews are of
ten incredibly good doctors, and
have been for centuries, even when
there were no other great doctors
anywhere.) So they set up innu
merable obstacles to letting Jews
enter medicine here. They say the
ethics of the Jews aren’t what
they should be. But what would be
uncovered if a dispassionate stu
dy of the ethics of all the Gentile
doctors in this country were made,
and the worst cases were set up
as the norm of Gentile behavior?
One other little example. Mv
father lived for years in a large
New York apartment hotel in
which he and a few other families
were the only Geytiles. I visited
him many times. In all those years
I never heard any noise, never
saw any drunkenness, never heard
crude language, never saw any
thing but quiet, kindly, well bred
people. These people are at least as
representative of the Jews as are
those who sprawl on the decks of
Hudson river day boats or *push
you around in the subways. Gen
tiles should remember that Jews
have produced more great men
than any other group in history
—and they are about the small
est group at that.
One main feature of the Gen
tile problem is this tendency to
think in stereotypes. (Many Jews
thing that way too, but they don’t
go in for pogroms as a result, so
it isn’t so serious.) And the ap
palling thing is that the Gentiles
do not see the significance of what
they are doing. They are revert
ing to the jungle where individual
thought is anathema, where the
“out-sider” is invariably an ene
my, where the only recourse is a
(Continued on Page Eight)
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