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The Southern Jewish weekly. [volume] (Jacksonville, Fla.) 1939-1992, March 26, 1943, Image 2

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Page Two
The Thermometer or
Anti-Semitism
An Antidote for Scapegoatism
BY LAWRENCE LIPTON
Lawrence Lipton, vigorous Jewish novelist, describes
anti-Semitism as the “Stop thief!” cry of any class or na
tion anxious to cover up something. He examines the good
will movement in relation to the econmic and political as
pects of intolerance and urges Jews to remember that the
reactionary is the potential or actual anti-Semite.
, . . The Editor
One of the most fatuous self
deceptions cherished by the better
housed, better fed and better
clothed one third of our Jewish
people in America is the notion
that it can’t happen here—not
any more. They can permit them
selves such comforting delusions
only because they have never had
the courage to open their eyes
wide enough to see what “it”
really is. No anti-Semitic hooli
gan has yet heaved a paving brick
through their curtained windows,
so there isn’t any anti-Semitism —
well, not enough to worry about,
anyway.
These “more fortunate” (that is,
well-heeled) among our people
still think about anti-Semitism as
something that has to do with the
relations between Jews and Gen
tiles. Anti-Semitism results when
Jews and Gentiles fail to under
stand one another. So they or
ganize committees for “Better
Relations,” and conferences of
Jews and Christians. Thesei com
mittees and conferences, mostly
composed of rabbis and preachers,
politicians and philanthropists,
meet in fancy hotel dining rooms
and butter each other with fifty
cent words —fellowship, brother
hood, tolerance, better under
standing, and still better under
standing. Then they smile, shake
hands all round, and go home
glowing with love and virtue.
And that’s that—till the next
conference.
What these better understand
ers fail to understand is that what
Jews and Gentiles think about
each other has very little to do
with anti-Semitism. Christians
don’t just take a sudden mass dis
like for Jews and start, persecut
ing or pogroming them- -presum
ably because they dr n’t “under
stand” them. Neither, on the
other hand, do Jews "cause” anti-
Semitism by anything they think
about Gentiles, or say about them,
or do to them. In fact, it would
not be overstating the truth much
to say simply that anti-Semitism
has nothing to do with Jews be
ing Jews or Gentiles being Gen
tiles
What these better understand
ers should have learned by now is
the perfectly obvious fact that
anti-Semitism is simply the stick
to beat the dog. The stick may
be anything from street corner
insults to economic strangulation.
The dog may be anything from the
“Jewish business” competition of
the corner grocer to the Internat-
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ional Jew-Communist-Banker men
ace.
Anti-Simitism, in short, is the
“Stop Thief!” of any group, class
or nation that is anxious to cover
up something it is trying to get
away with, and needs a scapegoat
to divert attention. The Jew is
not alone in this. He shares that
distinction with other minority
peoples—for example, the Negroes
in the United States. But the Jew'
is Scapegoat No. 1, because he is
more widely distributed, more ac
cessible, . more vulnerable. It
“pays” to persecute the Jews, as
Hitler’s plunderers are proving all
over Europe today.
That is why this writer, like
other, like-minded Jews, continues
to lay such heavy emphasis on the
social and economic trends. They
constitute our best clinical ther
; mometer in the study of the social
1 disease of anti-Semitism. And the
the signs are that the thermom
eter is still going up.
Signs of Political Reaction
The thing to watch for in any
realistic diagnosis of anti-Semit
ism is political reaction. The Re
actionary is the carrier of the
anti-Semitic germ. When he is
j lying low the germ is more or less
dormant; when he is raising his
| head the garm is proliferating,
! the anti-Semitic fever is rising.
Why should this be so? Because
Reaction needs scapegoats, and
progress doesn’t.
Last Fall, when this writer ex
pressed the view that the Con
gressional elections indicated a
i trend toward political, social and
; economic reaction, there were
some who preferred to draw more
optimistic conclusions from the
1 returns. However, events since
then have borne out the more
“pessimistic” analysis. It should
now be clear to ail that the trend
toward reaction is not fanciful,
nor local, nor sporadic. It is no
monger confined to the political
“outs,” because the outs are not
out any more; they are in, very
much in. Like all true reaction
aries they preferred to do business
with Fascism rather than fight it,
but, like the good patriots they
are, once war was declared they
moved in on the war production
agencies to do their dollar-a-year
bit. If there had to be a war
they were going to run it—and
write the peace, too. And who
could say “No, thank you” to a
patriotic American bent on doing
his duty to his country in her time
of need ?
Os course, the first business on
| the agenda was to “set our own
: house in order,” which to them
j meant only one thing: to “freeze
| for the duration” every social gain
i contemplated by the New Deal
j and destroy, if possible, as many
I past gains as they could. That
| was to be the price for their
dollar-a-year “cooperation” with
| the hated New Deal. When the
| elections of last Fall rang out the
George Norrisses and rang the
Ham Fishes back in, they lost no
time in proclaiming that as a
THE SOUTHERN JEWISH WEEKLY
Stirling Demands Action To Save^Jews
'^ p,u t|
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“In the name of Senator John
son, the chairman of the Commit
tee for a Jewish Army for State
less and Palestinian Jews who un
fortunately cannot be here this
evening, I have been asked by the
Committee to thank every one
associated with “We Will Never
Die” for their contribution in
making the Four Freedoms an ac
tive force rather than a slogan.
Your message should be carried
to every city in America, so that
the Nation will awake and never
“mandate” from the people to
carry out their anti-New Deal re
action.
To this writer, then, it did not
come as a surprise that with the
convening of the new Congress
Old Democrats and anti-New Deal
die-hards of every political stripe
combined at once to bait labor,
hamstring price regulation, quib
ble over government question
naires—all in the name of the war
effort. Darlan was no surprise.
Neither was Peyrouton. Nor Ed
die Rickenbacker for President.
Nor the retention of the Dies
Committee. Nor the black market
in meat. Nor the continued pro
duction not for war use but for
after-the-war competitive advant
ages. These are practical gentle
men with whom first things come
first.
Nor is the reaction confined to
Gentiles. What other term fits
the Council for American Judaism,
that America First Committee
for Jewish isolationism? Or the
American Jewish Committee’s re
cent "Statement of Principles?"
What we see here, in both cases,
is the old reactionary policy of
hush-hush' returning to the offen
sive. American Jewish isolation
ism is finding its voice again, af
ter some years of reluctant lip
service to the expensive “ideal” of
Jewish world unity. The idea of
a Jewish commonwealth was safe
enough for these Jews to back up
as long as nothing more than
money and lip-service was requir
ed of them; now it looks as if we
are going to have to fight for it,
and “fight” is a nasty word in the
polite lexicon of hush-hush.
Let us not fool ourselves. Re
action is on the march. Nothing
will save us now' except a vigor
ous counter-offensive.
The reactionaries know what
they want. They want to run the
war their own way, and their
is not a people’s war. TWy want
to write the peace, and the peace
they want is not the people’s
peace. To them, ideas like a
United Nations command, “na
tive" armies, underground anti
~ ■-■.■•..y'V •: ufciWZ'.v..... •
tease fighting for the salvation of
European Jewry, through action—
not pity, and besides the creation
of a Jewish Army—until justice
shall triumph and peace once
more rules the earth,” declared
Admiral Stirling in an address
made at the Waldorf Astoria din
ner given by the Committee for a
Jewish Army on March 15th in
honor of Ben Hecht, Billy Rose,
Moss Hart, Paul Muni, Edward G.
Robinson and other participants
in "We Will Never Die” memorial.
Fascist movements, a Jewish
Army, and other democratic no
tions are fit only for pious lip
service. In their hearts they dis
trust and detest them, just as they
iook with suspicion on any forth
right proposals for a people’s
peace. They are doing business
with Hitler; failing that, their
next move was to obstruct the
war effort, or at least that part
of it that might benefit the Soviet
Union, the republican cause in
| Spain, or the underground revolu
tionary movements in the Nazi
occupied countries. It is their
hand that shows in the policies
now being pursued in North Af
’ rica. Now some of them are
peddling their own reactionary
brand of world peace—a heady
mixture o f anti-British, anti
everybody American imperialism
called “The American Century,”
which is really nothing more than
America First Isolationism ex
panded to include the world’s best
natural resources and the world’s
global airlanes. It’s America
Only—and Alone.
To us, as Americans and as
Jews, it means reaction pure and
simple—or rather, not so pure,
and not so simple either. It means
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a return to power rwi-i
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ionalisms, and
and better world wars u’ Bs
means demagogues, and £<
and master races. p„t f Uto
gether and it spells trouhf *
Jews. Demagogues and
need scapegoats. oJJ 1
spellbinders need scapegoat
we Jews are the world’s J
goat No. 1.
Our course, both as j ews M
Americans, is clear. We nm
list in the cause of projj
gainst reaction. We must f
reaction on every front, wJ
it raises its head, whether at h
or abroad. Strong forces ev !
where in the democratic Wor
afe arrayed today against a
now reactionary offensive. %
are counter-attacking. We
join that counter attack
courage, with vigor, an( i „
confidence in the final triumph
democracy, both in the conduct
the war and in the making
the peace.
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