The Provocative Toronto Riot
Toronto leaders, Christians and Jews, view the recent riot in that
community's Allan Gardens as a regrettable incident. But many in
the community are learning to understand that those who had
gathered to prevent Nazis from propagating their venomous program
were people who had themselves suffered from Hitlerism and are
determined never again to permit anything akin to the Nazi ideology
Why was it necessary for such an unfortunate incident to occur
in a free, democratic community?
Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut of the Holy Blossom Temple of Toronto,
in a thought-provoking article evaluating the causes of the riot, in the
Toronto Globe and Mail, makes some very important observations.
He refutes the argumentation that what had happened in Toronto
could be applicable to American Southern racists, that Klansmen
will react as the anti-Nazis did by turning rioters against the Easterners
who come into Southern communities to advocate civil rights. "There
are significant differences and they are deep-seated," he declares,
and he adds:
The similarity has to do with the inherent danger of all mob
scenes. If public safety is at stake, if persons cannot be guaran-
teed security of life and limb, and if the available police . force
feels incapable of handling a potentially explosive situation, then
both in North and South the freedom of assembly has to wait
temporarily until the freedom of life is secured for all.
But . here the comparison ends. Southern racists want to pre-
serve illegal privilege, the protesters in Allan Gardens - wanted
to preserve their lives. Ku Kluxers come with pm-planned violence
in. order to meet non-violent demonstrators. The vast majority of
the Allan Gardens crowd came for a non-violent pretest against
men who had themselves announced that their program was
Dr. Plaut's analyses are especially valuable in their rebuke of
too much pubicity being given Nazi propagandists. Anti-Nazis are
advised to give the bigots the silent treatment, but in the process
the aims of the advocates of hate, of those who openly call for the
extermination of the Jewish people, are getting undue publicity.
Is it because the press has so much to learn to stear clear of
sensationalism? The New York Times is the symbol of the best in
journalism, but its cautiousness is not emulated. Crime news is over-
rated. Treatment of sex is over-sensationalized. Debutantes are more
important than Nobel Prize Winners -. There- is a worshipping of the
Golden Calf that Supersedes all rhyme or reason. An opera is an event
for the New York Times to be covered by critics of the art; for many of
the newspapers as we know them, outside of New York, it is an
occasion to portray the mink. The more dignified newspapers will
report facts—we could list the news media that judge properly—but
sensation-seeking media emphasize the negative, the destructive, the
hate-inspired. They don't do it maliciously: they believe that the
readers crave for their approach. But the reader also needs to be
guided, to be taught, to be led along the highest standards.
And so—Dr. Plaut wrote in his comment on the over-publicized
aspect of the Toronto occurrence:
"The fact that Nazis had announced a public meeting and
that apparently the newspapers and the radio and TV media
were ready to give the Nazis a great deal of publicity, conjured
up_ within the _minds of many people the most unbearable and
horrible memories. To them a public .Nazi rally meant the post
sibility of a repetition of what they had barely lived through:
gassings, inhuman treatment, murder and rapine mutilation,
starvation and torture."
How about free speech? What should have been done to prevent
the Toronto incident? Dr. Plaut's views have relevance to the issues
that often face us on the score of civil liberties. He warns of license
as against the issue of free speech. Let us quote him:
"Of course, the issue of free speech is involved to some
degree.. I believe in free speech and I believe strongly in it.
However detestable a philosophy may be to me, I will not inter-
fere with its advocacy. But I also believe that the advocacy of
mass violence is license and . not deserving of the protection of
free speech. . .
"What should have been done? I think that our police (who
acted with discretion and dispatch on the spot) should have
recognized. the potentially volatile character of the situation and
should have made it clear that in the circumstances no Nazi
meeting could have been held at Allan Gardens that afternoon.
I think on such assurance the crowd would have gone home. The
police could have based itself on Section 64 of the Criminal Code
which states that .a public meeting becomes an unlawful assembly
when those taking part "needlessly and without reasonable cause
provoke other persons to disturb the peace tumultuously". This
:section can also be used as a guide in the future.
"I also think that some of our news media have in this
instance shown poor judgment. They have touted the small Nazi
:group until they have built it up to proportions far exceeding
its .actual size and power. They have helped to create the news
by making newsworthy people out of the Nazis. Why should a
radio station have carried hourly bulletins plugging the Nazi
meeting? Why should another station solicit the long-distance
comment of American Nazi George Lincoln Rockwell and let it
stand in judgment of the Allan Gardens happenings as if it were
the Delphic Oracle?
"It will take a little time to live down the occurrences of
last Sunday: They have reopened old wounds barely healed. The
victims of yesteryear's atrocities will have to be reassured by their
leadership that Canada is not Europe, and that here they will
continue to enjoy the full protection of the law—a law that they
cannot and must not take into their hands. And as the Canadian
government deals forthrightly with hate and murder literature,
as it becomes clear to everyone that the climate of Canada will
not permit the spread of violence in any form, the likelihood of
the repetitions of the Allan Gardens incident will disappear."
What Rabbi Plaut wrote applies to Washington, D. C. It revives
the challenge to authorities in our nation's capital in the manner in
which the Rockwell gang has been permitted to advocate murder of
Jews over loud speakers in the squares that have been chosen for
monuments to Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln.
Without sacrificing free speech, there should be a way of dealing
with people who shout fire in a crowded theater, who call for murder,
who advocate genocide. Perhaps the lesson of Toronto will be utilized
by us in many American communities, leading to an end to murderous
aspirations by small groups of demented fellow-citizens.
2—Friday, June 18, 1965
The Russian Policies and
the Jewish Attitudes .. .
The Incidents in Toronto
Martin Buber: A Name That Will Live in Our History
Martin Buber is destined to be among the immortals. His name
will live in our literature and in the realm of mysticism; few other
great names will rank above his. He will be among the great creators
of the "I-Thou" idea. Few have been as eminent in the interpretive
field of Hassidism. No one has matched him in the recitation of
the tales of the Baal Shem and the other eminent personalities among
There were times when many of us differed with him. When he
advocated the Ihud movement with Henrietta Szold and Dr. Judah . L.
Magnes, urging a bi-national state of Jews and Arabs, we thought he
was unrealistic. The agony that pursued Jews in Palestine as a result
of the horrors imposed upon them by unreconcilable Arab nationals
proved that he was too optimistic. Yet his interpretation of Israel's
"Israel was and is a people and a religious community in
of Indonesia Jews
Faces Dim Future
NEW YORK (JTA)—An uncer-
tain future in a Moslem country
growing steadily hostile to the
West is causing concern among
the handful of Jews" leftin the In-
donesian city of Surabaya where,
before the Second World War, a
Jew ish community numbering
about 1,000 once flourished, it
was reported Tuesday in the New
Comprising only 13 families to-
day, with some 60 men, women
and children, the Surabaya Jew-
ish community, the report says,
one, and it is this unity which enabled it to survive in an exile maintains a single synagogue used
no other nation had to suffer, an exile which lasted much longer on major Jewish holy days with
than the period of its independence. He who severs this bond Friday evening services held at
severs the life of Israel."
the home of the president of the
There were many who disagreed with his opposition to capital community, Charles Mussry, a 4`
punishment in the instance of Adolf Eichmann, but even in the case year-old Jew of Iraqi descent.
of the most cruel of all Nazis he adhered to a principle: he opposed
The community, comprising
the death penalty regardless of the condition involved.
virtually the only Jews left in
There is so much to be said when referring to Prof. Buber. History
Indonesia, has not had the
already has judged him as being among the very great. The future
services of a rabbi since the es-
will -multiply the veneration for the man whose memory will remain
tablishment of the Malaysian
blessed for all time.
Federation two years ago. Before
Dr. Nahum Goldmann's Inconsistency
Many will share the view that Dr. Nahum Goldmann has blundered
in the advice he has passed on as to how the Russian prejudices are to
be treated by critics. It is our opinion that he displayed an inconsist-
ency that calls for better correction than he has offered thus far.
Dr. Goldmann has been among those who exposed the anti-Semitic
evidences than continually emanate from the USSR. He has exagger-
ated the application of the Nazi term to the Russians and he could
have gone to greater length in indicating how serious the situation is
in the Soviet Union and how drastic has been the repetition of the
most inhuman charges against Jewry and Israel. When people can be
responsible for charges like ritual murder against another people,
when Russians can resort to some of the wildest accusations leveled
against Jewry and Israel, as the Kremlin has done or has permitted,
that people deserves the severest criticisms. Even though he has not
whitewashed the USSR, Dr. Goldmann has blundered by going to
the extent he has in his criticism of those who criticize and condemn
How Far Do We Go in Criticizing USSR?
Dr. Nahum Goldmann has warned that in criticizing the Soviet
prejudices against Jews we should not liken them to the Nazis. Morris
Abram, who heads the American Jewish Committee, concedes to it.
Both, however, concur that there should be protests against the un-
questionable spread of bias against Jews in the USSR.
There is no reason for any one to compare the Communists with
the Nazis. Yet, when there emanate from Russia outrageous charges
like- the ritual murder libel, the Jews are condemned as the worst of
speculators, we often wonder whether USSR persecution hasn't as-
sumed the vilest forms.
There was an interesting reaction last week to the letter that was
addressed to the New York Times by two Jewish scientists who
resented the protests against what they termed were untrue charges
of prejudice by their government against their Jewish kinsmen. Reply-
ing to the two Russian Jews (Lev Landau and Yevsei Liberman), in
a communication, also to the New York Times, written from Dallas
on June 4, Prof. Felix Bloch, a Nobel Prize winner, and S. Chan-
drasekhar, Freeman J. Dyson, Yuval Ne'eman, Ivor Robinson, Edwin E.
Salpeter, Alfred Schild and E. L. Schucking, all eminent physicists,
that, a Singapore rabbi would
be flown to Surabaya for major
Although the Jews of Surabaya
are free to practice their religion
and although their community is
officially recognized by the In-
donesian government, they are be-
coming increasingly uncomfortable
in a-n Asian society that is reject-
ing western influence. In addition
to anxiety over their future eco-
nomic status, the Surabayan Jews
are concerned about the education
of their children.
About half of the Jews who Ieft
the community after the Second
World War went to Israel with the
remainder scattered in the United
States. England and Australia.
Club Barring Jews
PORTLAND, Ore. (JTA) — A
luncheon at which Vice President
Hubert H. Humphrey addressed a
group of Portland business leaders
last weekend was shifted at the
last minute from the fashionable
Waverly Country Club here to a
private home after he learned
that the club barred Jews and
Ne g roes.
After the vice president's office
in Washington was informed by a
phone call from Portland that the
club barred Jews and Negroes, an
aide of Humphrey called the or-
ganizers of the luncheon, who
Prof. Lev Landau is one of the most eminent and respected switched the event to the home
scientists in the Soviet Union. We were amazed to see his name of one of the businessmen.
attached to a crudely propagandist letter (Times, June 2) deny-
ing the existence of official anti-Semitism in the USSR and
sternly forbidding Americans to take any interest in the con-
dition of Jews under Soviet rule.
We doubt that Prof. Laudau willingly and wittingly took
part in writing this letter. The use of Landau's name in this
connection would have been more convincing if the Soviet gov-
ernment had permitted him to attend a single one of the
innumerable scientific meetings outside the USSR to which he
has been invited in the past quarter of a century.
This comment applies to many other aspects of Russian life. If
the Russians were to permit their citizens to participate in world
functions of varying natures, it would indicate a readiness to permit
free action, to encourage democratic relationships with the rest of
the world. But this does not exist. Russia's doors are closed—to those
who could share in the world's free exchange of ideas, to those desiring
to emigrate. Therefore Russia cannot properly defend the position that
was expressed in the Landau-Liberman letter.
We share the Goldmann view that you can't all be anti-Se-mites.
That does not reduce the crime of anti-Semitism. And condemnation
of bigotry, whatever form it may take, wherever it may occur, must
never be curtailed.
But Jewish leaders should get together on policy. We can't have
promiscuous complaints one day and criticism of the approach by Dr.
Nahum Goldmann the next day. Responsibility demands that there
should be concord in Jewish matters, dictated by honor, dignity, truth
and sound pragmatism. Without them we are on unsafe ground and
all purposes of our public actions will become ineffective and useless.
Rabbi Elmer Berger in the Limelight Again
Elmer Berger, former Pontiac and Flint rabbi, the mastermind
of the American Council for Judaism, is a restless man. He can't for-
give Israel her successes, he can't tolerate the good relations between
Israel and the United States, he sees visions of Jews undermining
we don't know what with nationalism.
And so he wrote another letter to the New York Times, again
seeing ghosts, once again imagining that with statehood acclaimed
by Jews outside Israel something is being undermined. He fears for
his rights. No nation on earth shares his fears, and there is a natural
acceptance of the Jewish right to live, and the right of Israel to offer
asylum, politically protected, to the dispossessed and the downtrodden.
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS But Elmer has fears. Poor Elmer: he can't even whistle in the dark!
Police Probe Bombing
of Official's Home
PHILADELPHIA (JTA) — Po-
lice here were investigating this
week an incendiary bomb attack
on the home of Bernard Liebowitz,
assistant director of the Hospital
and Home for the Jewish Aged.
The incident, which resulted in
minor damage to the house, be-
fore the blaze was extinguished,
came in the wake of a heated
labor dispute at the institution in
which one woman had already
beenarrested for throwing a rcK,
Arthur Waldman, director
the home, who announced a $2,000
reward for the apprehension of the
bomb thrower, said that during
the picketing by the Building
Service Employes Union, 'era•
ployes have been punched enter'
ing the grounds, nails have been
thrown on the highway and (Myers
U.S. Has TOO Maccabiah
Javelin, 5,000-Meter Hopes
Stu Levitt and Bill Morgan have
emerged as the United States'
leading prospects in the javelin
and 5,000-meters at the seventh
World Maccabiah Games in Israel
in August. Levitt tossed the javelin
244'4" and Morgan ran his species
ty in 14:03.8 at the Compton Ins
vitational. Both performances Far.
pass those of the Maccabiah
Games and of entrants from other