Yom Ha-Atzmauth — a New Holiday
Dr. Sara Feder, the distinguished woman leader in the labor Zion-
ist movement, the cultural guide of Pioneer Women, is the author of
an interesting plan — to make a holiday of Yom Ha-Atzmauth, the
Israel Day of Independence.
This able woman has prepared a plan whereby the holiday would
be marked in Jewish homes, it would call for special foods and for
the inspiring of the youth to think in Jewish terms while honoring
It is a commendable plan and it would be interesting to learn
whether such a new holiday would be honored more than our other
holidays which often go unhonored.
Meanwhile, as we join with Israel in observing the current Yom
Ha-Atzmauth, we wish the Jewish State well, we greet the Israelis
and we do, indeed, say, Hag Sameakh—happy holiday !
Bourguiba and His Peace Plans
Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba's fall-out with the Arab na-
tions, particularly with Gamal Abdel Nasser and his Cairo clique of
Israel-haters, must not be misinterpreted as a very great occurrence
in Israel's favor.
As a gesture of good will, as a defiance of Nasser, the Bourguiba
position is very vital. It serves as a signal to the Western world that
Nasser need not be appeased, and it heralds a new step in favor
of peace. It's been sad enough that some statesmen have even
refused to speak with Israel, or with anyone else in Israel's behalf,
to consider the peace needs of the Middle East.
But Bourguiba's proposals in essence are none other than those
that were proposed by Nasser himself — that is why the Cairo
outburst against the Tunisians is such a stupid expression of anger.
What Bourguiba suggests is a return to the United Nations decisions
of 1937. These now are unacceptable. Bourguiba proposes the re-
settlement of Arab refugees into Israel. This, too, is unacceptable
because it means that Israel would have to welcome a fifth column.
There is cause for rejoicing: people are beginning to speak
of peace, and Bourguiba, as the leader of the movement, deserves
a vote of thanks. But his terms will have to be amended. Israel,
too, has terms to offer.
A Chapter of Forgotten Anti Semitic History
Last month, we had occasion to call attention to the anti-Semitism
of a man who, in his heyday, was acclaimed as an author, soldier,
sportsman and politician.
Hoffman Nickerson, who died in March, was a descendant of New
Amsterdam settlers who came to this country in the mid-17th Century.
He was motivated by deep-rooted bias, and he wrote with venom.
It might be said that one of his ilk should be forgotten and that the
past should not be emphasized. But one never knows when others who
seek to harm the Jews may resort to the Nickerson files, and it is
best that his repulsive record should be known.
Bernard G. Richards, director of the Jewish Information \Bureau
in New York, who is one of Jewry's best informed men and who has
earned the rank of an historian, exposed the Nickerson deviltry in
1931. • Mr. Richards then charged the Nickerson book, "The American
Rich," was a vile piece of anti-Semitism.
It is interesting to note that when Mr. Richards wrote his protest
to Nickerson, on Jan. 16, 1931, Hitler was rising to power: Two years
before Hitler gained control of the German •government, Mr. Richards,
who at the time was executive secretary of the American Jewish
Congress, likened Nickerson to Hitler. •
Of equal interest in Mr. Richards' statement 34 years ago was his
charge of prejudice against Jews in Soviet Russia.
The Richards letter is of such vast historical significance that it
deserves reprinting. His letter stated:
At a time when men of different races and creeds in this
country are drawing closer together, in a spirit of fellowship and
:good will, when common woes and needs impose a duty of better
relations, when truer manifestations of the teachings of Christianity
- are meeting with the corresponding humanitarian aspirations
'expressive of the Jewish and other faiths,—you have chosen to
write and publish an indictment of the Jewish people which is
.as cruelly unfair as it is p. otesquely extravagant. Your book "The
-American Rich" will be read with pain and sorrow by those who
would have the right to expect comfort and encouragement from
an author of your standing and scholarship.
To be sure, in a volume which aims to set aside fundamental
-American ideas • of freedom and equality and pleads for the auto-
cratic rule of the few or an
monarchy" for the United
States—in a book which according to your publisher "boldly
challenges our so-called_ popular government and establishes the
-need for a new American leadership by a land-owning leisure
class—," much that is strange and curious may be expected. But,
.when on the basis of all kinds of false assumptions, born of preju-
dice, you propose that the Jews be segregated—you use the polite
:term of encysted—from the rest of their fellow-men and predict
- .violence if your system of racial adjustment is not adopted, you
exceed all limits of bigotry and fanaticism and clearly run counter
to all that is noblest and most promising in our civilization.
Proceeding with your broad method of sweeping assumption,
and writing in the style of Adolf Hitler, you have produced a
chapter on "The Jews" which, though purporting to be an attempt
to estimate Jewry, is actually characterized by such animus and
permeated with such a spirit of condescension and distrust that
the result adds neither to our knowledge nor to our faith in human
judgment. Obviously the Jews stand in the way of your effort to
set up a new autocracy in this country and to the extent that
Israel is committed to ideals of equality and social justice, long
ago preached by the Prophets, whom you deride, even as you
denounce great leaders of this Republic, you have a real grievance
against our people. Nevertheless, many of your utterances are
curiously out of tune and out of time with what enlightened
Christians and forward-looking men are thinking about. Here are
some of your strangely menacing paragraphs:
... Some jews (sic), although not the mass of jews, increase
in wealth and sometimes these wealthy jews intermarry- with
the class of rich and powerful non-jews. But as time goes on a
certain tension and ill ease appear. The non-jews begin obscurely
to see the local jewish body as a powerful army, potentially
hostile, camped in their midst. Many individual jews take part
in the division among their non-jewish hosts, joining themselves
to those hostile to the traditional institutions that content the
mass of those hosts. The non-jew begins to ask himself if he is
still master in his own house; his dislike and suspicion of the jew
increase. The jew appeals to heaven that this dislike and sus-
picion are unjust, born of nothing better than jealousy, ignor-
A Salute to Israel on
State's 17th Birthday . .
Habib Bourguiba's Proposals
ance, or natural wickedness in his hosts. The non-jew refuses
to listen, knowing well that this is by no means the whole
story. Finally there is an explosion; the non-jewish community
acts rigorously, too often criminally, against the jew and he
begins to look around him once more for a refuge in some
country--again where he is little known. Such is the weary
round repeated over and over again in ancient Egypt, in pagan
Rome, in thirteenth century England, in fifteenth century Spain,
in modern Poland with its former dependency of the Ukraine."
Commenting on some of Mr. Maurice Samuel's pleas for the
preservation of Jewish individuality, you say:
"Rereading the Old Testament prophetical books with these
sayings in mind it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the
prophets—saving their holy office as foretellers of Our Lord—
were as incompetent in statesmanship as any set of men that
ever helped guide the life of a people. Seeing truly that wealthy
and powerful men are often wicked in proportion to their
wealth and power, they keep jumping to the absurd conclusion
that disorder and the upsetting of civil authority will promote
general happiness. They are forever pursuing some impossible
dream of ideal justice irreconcilable with necessary human im-
perfection. Let a non-jewish people once see the jew after this
fashion and they have little choice; a foreign body thus funda-
mentally hostile to the organism within which it has lodged
itself must either be expelled or encysted, i.e. walled off or
isolated so that the larger organism may continue its life with-
out harmful disturbance."
Not content with these and other false assertions taken from
old Europe's literature of hatred, you proceed to dress up in new
garb the aft-exploited and thoroughly discredited charge of the
Jewish origin of Bolshevism. You state:
"Bolshevism was not a corporate or exclusively jewish thing;
it included and employed non-jews, sometimes even in positions
of leadership, and it opposed the jewish together with the other
traditional religions. Its jewish character was that it was staffed
by jews ; in its original directing group or inner ring only
Lenin—a chinovnik or member of the lesser Russian gentry—
was a non-jew and he was said to have been greatly under the
influence of a certain jewess. The names of the others tell their
own stories. Trotsky-Braunstein, Litvinoff-Finkelstein, Zinovieff-
As early as 1921 it was conclusively shown that the Bolshe-
vist cabinet, then known as the People's Commissars, consisted of
twenty members, of whom Trotsky and Sverdlov were the only
Jews, and they were Jews merely by birth. Of the Central Com-
mittee of the Communist Party, including Trotsky, there were four
Jews out of thirteen. The so-called Extraordinary • Commission
(known as Cheka), whose function it was to suppress opposition
to- the Bolshevist regime from within, was directed by a triumvirate
consisting of a Pole and two Letts, none of whom was of Jewish
origin. Although Trotsky was the head of the War Department,
his General Staff was composed exclusively of non-Jews. Since
then Trotsky has been exiled and men like Radek, Zinoviev, Joffe
and Kamenev were eliminated from the councils of the Soviets.
Only very recently another Jew, Joseph Uschlicht, Assistant Com-
missar of War, though most highly qualified as expert, was de-
moted. The veiled Jewish woman who has influenced some domi-
nating personality - to rob the widows and orphans is an indispen-
sable requirement of every book of this kind, but, in this par-
ticular case, all the other- - anti-Semitic writers seem to have
fallen down on the job of discovering the mysterious lady who had
a deleterious influence upon Nicolai Lenin. All those who have
studied Russian conditions, however, and the world in general,
do not know of any other woman who was intimately associated
with his life outside of Mme. Lenin, better known as Mme. Krup-
skaya, who, having been most closely identified with the work
of the Soviet leader, is still an important figure in the councils of
One cannot expect you to realize that the few Jews who were
more or less conspicuously identified with the Soviets, were neither
observing nor affiliated Jews, seeing that you do not know or
prefer to overlook the larger fact that Bolshevism has broken
down, has almost completely destroyed the communal and religious
life, the culture and scholarship of the great Russian Jewry, a
tragedy which is unparalleled in modern history.
Given to all manner of extreme generalization, all those bear-
ing a Jewish name have the same connotation for you, and the
equally unprofessing Joseph Pulitzer is charged to our account
as having been the publisher "of the first American newspaper
systematically to stir up class hatred by advancing the idea that
the poor as such had. a political interest distinct from and hostile
to that of the rich." That Horace Greeley propagated a more
vigorous socialism in The New York Tribune in earlier years and
that previous to• that the Brook Farm Colony and other socialist
communities were founded by celebrated native Americans, rep-
resent a bit of history which, of course, would not fit in with your
laborious, theoretic structure intended to bolster up your scheme of
an "elective monarchy."
Lacking a foundation of reality, your book is also bereft of
the quality of vision, the sense of justice and feeling of human
compassion and understanding, which, allowing for racial diversi-
ties, various religious leanings, and all human frailties, always
shrinks from wholesale condemnation of a people, in this instance,
a people whose great contributions to civilization and general cul-
ture require no new acknowledgment. Having in mind what the
Jew has given to all higher human aspirations and ideals, it is
hard indeed to comprehend how you can square your standing in
enlightened society, your profession as a Christian, your constant
invocation of the obligations of the gentleman with the act of
placing a burden of misrepresentation and abuse upon the shoul-
ders of your Jewish neighbor. Equally difficult is it to compre-
hend why the publishing house that was founded by such a true
lover of justice and equality as Walter Hines Page should for the
second time since the outpourings of the lamentably well-known
Burton J. Hendrick lend itself to furthering the propaganda of
hatred, and on this occasion, give countenance to a virulent
attack upon fundamental American principles and beliefs.
The pity is that even in most modern times there are men who
should know better, who rank high in academic circles, who are authors
of historical and philosophic works, yet become fomenters of prejudice.
It is often so very difficult to control the human mind and to avoid
the infiltration of bias and hatred in human hearts. Nickerson belonged
to those who could not be cured of their prejudices against Jews.
Bernard G. Richards exposed him fitfully. Let the facts be known, lest
someone -attempt to draw upon Nickerson's writings as a way of
spreading revived hatreds against Jewry.
Saul Bellow Wins
$10,000 for Novel
SAINT RAPHAEL, France —
Saul Bellow, author of "Herzog,"
received Tuesday the Prix Inter-
national de Literature, a prize of
Publishers in 13 countries
picked Bellow's book, which also
won the Nation-al Book Award in
the United States. The prize is
given to a "living author of world
stature whose work of fiction pub-
lished within the last three years
will have the most significant in-
fluence on the literature of our
The seven-man jury split 4-3
on the third ballot, choosing as
runner up Argentine writer Vitolz
* * *
Dr. Irwin Unger Gets
Pulitzer Prize for Book
on Post-Civil War Era
NEW YORK (JTA)—Dr. Irwin
Unger, a Brooklyn-born graduate
of the City College of New York,
was the winner Tuesday of the
Pulitzer Prize in history for his
book, "The Greenback Era," which
had won high critical praise for
original research into the post-
Civil War period.
Dr. Unger teaches at the Uni-
versity of California, at Davis,
Calif. He is 38. The Pulitzer Prize
for history carries ari award of
$500, but the prestige value of the
prize is very high.
Tunes Up for 'Fiddler'
After 'Succeed' Flops
TEL AVIV — Impressario Giora
Godik hopes "Fiddler on the Roof"
will be more successful than was
"How to Succeed in Business With-
out Really Trying."
"How to Succeed," which failed
here after two months and a loss
of $120,000, apparently did not
appeal to an audience unfamiliar
with New York's business world.
Godik, however, is undaunted.
He did well with "My Fair Lady,"
and now has director Jerome Rob-
bins on the way to supervise the
final touches in the Israeli version
of "Fiddler." The Hebrew-lan-
guage production, with its shtetl
motif, probably will strike a fa-
miliar chord for Israelis.
Rehearsals on the $200,000 pro-
duction are to begin this month.
Mostof the money will come from
American backers, said to be the
first time American sponsors will
invest in a show in Israel.
Another Godik import, "Bare-
foot in the Park," has been well
received here, and he has his eye
on "The King and I."
* * *
Goes to 'Fiddler'
"Fiddler on the Roof" will re-
ceive the annual award of the
National Council on Jewish Audio-
Visual Materials, at a luncheon
of the Council, Thursday, at Hotel
Aniericana, New York, it was an-
nounced by Julius Schatz, chair-
man of its board of review. The
award will be given to "Fiddler
on the Roof" for its "eloquent
and entertaining portrayal of the
vanished world of Sholom Aleich-
em and its magnificent recreation
of the "shtetl" in Eastern Europe.
The Council, representing 43
major national Jewish agencies,
is sponsored by the American As-
sociation for Jewish Education
and is presenting these awards as
part of its 15th annual meeting
An award also will be given to
the broadcasting commission of
the Chicago Board of Rabbis
which, through consistent efforts
in the production, dissemination
and promotion of radio and TV
programs. of Jewish interest, has
contributed to the advancement of
Judaism and to the enrichment
of Jewish education.
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
2—Friday, May 7, 1965