Wallace's Evaluation of Jewry's 'Extraordinary Record'
Henry A. Wallace, Vice President of the United States under
Franklin D. Roosevelt, was a noted Bible scholar. He had interesting
views on Jews, Zionism, the role played by our people in world affairs.
One of his most interesting comments
was part of a speech he delivered when he
was Secretary of Agriculture, on May 20,
1940. before the Women's Division of the
Jewish Education Association of New York.
In that speech, he said he had asked
an outstanding Jewish university professor,
"Do you think the Jews by heredity are any
smarter than other Americans?" Receiving
a negative reply, Wallace asked the profes-
sor: "How does it happen that the Jews,
forming less than 4 per cent of the popula-
tion, make such an extraordinary record of
the learned professions, especially in the
law?" The professor replied: "Family tradi-
tion." Thereupon, Wallace, in his address
to the women, made his own observation
on the subject, stating:
"Both the Jewish father and mother,
but especially the mother, live with their
children day by day and urge them on
in the competitive game of life. The mo-
Henry A. Wallace thers of Israel several thousands of years
ago learned the arts of family training in a way which has produced
results throughout the ages. Love and discipline have been shrewdly
mixed and untiringly exerted. The book of Proverbs has in it the
distilled essence of this ancient family wisdom. Thrift, discretion,
temperance, hard work, canniness, and respect for the Torah. It is no
accident that both the Jews and the Scotch have gone so largely to
the books of David and Solomon for inspiration in the conduct of
their personal lives. Both have gone forth from their native land to be
formidable competitors over the entire world. Both have their Schle-
mihls, their failures, but both by virtue of their family traditions
have achieved successes greater than would have been expected from
the standpoint of heredity alone."
In our day — a quarter century after these sentiments were uttered
— many among us will undoubtedly say: would that what the late
Vice President said really were totally true today. Indeed, family
influences, loyalty to Torah, the inspiration of the Bible, have influenced
Jewish living, Jewish thinking. These influences have been weakened
in the course of human events, in the process of vital changes that have
taken place in the world.
Now we can learn anew from the eminent Vice President who was
such an able scholar and student of human events.
The late Mr. Wallace was a Zionist adherent. He admired the
learned among our people. He was associated with Dr. Walter C.
Lowdermilk in the proposal for the Jordan River Valley Authority
plan. He delivered numerous addresses before Jewish audiences.
In one of his famed speeches, delivered in September 1946 at the
golden jubilee banquet of the National Farm School, in Doylestown,
Pa., Mr. Wallace urged American Jews to turn to farming — emulating
the Palestinian Jews. In that address, he stated:
"Thirty years ago I met a graduate from the National Farm School
who was managing a dairy out in Iowa. Finding a Jewish farm boy in
Iowa thirty years ago, was a phenomenon that made a deep impression
on me. He had been well-trained. He was an excellent dairy manager.
But more that, he was a symbol — a symbol of Jewish boys from the
cities eager to earn a living on the land.
"For a number of years, I have been fascinated by the exploits of
Jewish farmers in the Near East — just as I have been convinced of
the wisdom of a Jordan River Valley Authority, with the irrigated land
of southern Palestine and Transjordania available to Jews and Arabs
on an equal basis. And I am happy, that, when I was Secretary of
Agriculture. I had something to do with the mission of Dr. Walter Low-
dermilk, of the Soil Conservation Service, which did such excellent work
in showing the development possibilities in Palestine and Transjordan.
"But I have never been able to see any reason why outstanding
Jewish agricultural exploits should be confined to the Near East. To
me there is something peculiarly appropriate about the Jews making
an equal success on the land here in the United States.
"Twenty per cent of the people of the United States make their liv-
ing by working on the land. This 20 per cent is the seedbed for nearly
half the next generation. Why shouldn't 20 per cent of the Jewish people
also live on the land? The Jewish people have always been welcome
and safe here in the United States. They have a common share in our
proud heritage as a free people. They don't have to keep their belong-
ings in liquid form — just in the event that they may have to flee over-
night to a place of safety. We have no laws against the Jewish people
owning land. And when a higher percentage of the Jewish people are
on the land, our national life will be all the healthier.
"Of course, it usually is easier to make money in other ways than
by farming. But money is not all there is to life. Surely, the unsur-
passed contribution of Jews to all of the arts and sciences is sufficient
evidence of this fact. And, because I have worked so closely with so
many fine colleagues who were of Jewish faith in Washington these
past thirteen years, I want particularly to testify to their unsurpassed
and unselfish service to their government — to the government of all
"From my own knowledge and experience, I disagree utterly with
those who say — for either curious or questionable reasons — that the
Jews, inherently, are not adaptable to agriculture.
"In the first instance, the sons of Jacob were people of the land.
And when Moses led the children of Israel into Palestine, they were
shocked by what they felt to be the shameful commercial practices of
those city slickers, the Canaanites. Many of the most vigorous prophets
were farm people — speaking out against the evils of cities
"In this day of technological development, from a scientific and
an economic point of view, we are now coming to the time when there
must be decentralization in our highly-industrialized life. More and
more of our workers in the cities are going to be part-time farmers
with five, ten, or fifteen acres of land on the outskirts. More and more
of our industrial areas are going to be decentralized. Modern trans-
portation, electricity, and atomic energy will see to that. So also will
the very nature and desire of man himself.
"Agriculture is the place where science and the art of living are
most fruitfully joined together. Hopefully, I look forward to the day
when there will be as many Jewish scientists in agriculture as there
have been in the development of atomic energy. The National Farm
Henry Wallace's Legacy:
His Farming Advocacy for
Jews ... Pluralistic U.S.A.
School I know is concerned with training Jewish boys to do a practical
job on the land. Nevertheless, if the National Farm School is as great
a success in the future as it has been in the past — and I am confident
that it will know even greater days — the result inevitably will be the
development of a great Jewish agricultural university. Then the Jew-
ish spirit will flow back again to the land — the land from which it
derived its greatest strength when the Jewish race was born — the
land which produced Amos, who of all the prophets was the most pas-
sionate exponent of social justice.
"Prophetic genius will never be derived from machines or science.
It comes directly from life. By heredity and tradition the Jewish race
is rich with prophetic fire. That is why I covet for the Jews the ad-
ditional impetus which will come from a renewed and richer contact
with the soil."
There was much wisdom in Wallace's numerous declarations. He
was one of the most colorful Americans of this century. His memory
will be recalled with reverence by all who knew him — and history will
certainly treat his record most kindly.
The Genius of 'Pluralistic U.S.A.'
An editorial note in the current American Bar Association Journal
merits special attention.
Under the heading "Zionist Israel and Pluralistic U. S. A.," the
editor had this to say:
My good friend, Al Arent of Cornell and the District of
Columbia Bar, and adjunct professor at the Georgetown Uni
versity Law Center, has sent me some thoughtful observations
on my recent report (May Journal, page 502) on Professor
Mallison's article in The George Washington Law Review:
The vast majority of Jews, whether or not they are
Zionists, believe that the Jews are a "people" bound by
historical, cultural and ethnic ties, as well as by religion.
Professor Mallison, to whose views you devoted consider-
able space in the May issue, and the American Council on
Judaism, which he serves as a consultant, do the American
Jewish community a disservice when they equate the non-
political concept of peoplehood with the legal and political
status of nationality. In our culturally pluralistic society,
Americans of Scottish, Irish or Italian ancestry do not be-
come dual nationals or lesser Americans because they cher-
ish their ties with, and on occasion make common cause
with, persons of the same background and extraction.
Recognizing that from time to time an Israeli or Zionist
leader may make chauvinistic statements that play into the
hands of Arab propagandists and the American Council on
Judaism, we must not be misled into believing that there
is anything unfittiing in the affection and aid which so
many American Jews shower upon the little State of Israel-
a bastion of democracy in the troublesome Middle East and
the haven of millions who have fled from oppression.
This sentiment echoes the glories of our democracy and is a
tribute to those who help retain the "pluralistic" qualities of the
There are many who have been misled by the venom of the
Council for Judaism. But the American Bar Association Journal's
editor and the scholarly writer he quoted had the vision to recognize
that the greatness of this land lies in a democratic idealism that does
not deny the right to life and freedom to others. This is what is
implied by Zionism and this is the aim of the movement's supporters
who are to be found among all faiths.
The genius of the U. S. A. is inherent in "pluralistic" contributions:
Zionist idealism is one of them.
2 ,-11ADISON, Wis. (JTA) — The
Madison Club board of directors
has reversed an earlier decision
and voted to invite a Jewish State
Supreme Court Justice and a Jew-
ish attorney to join after a storn---
of protest over the original decisio.
rejecting the applications.
The board acted after more than----5'
200 of the club's 600 members
signed a protest petition and Fred
H. Harrington, president of the
University of Wisconsin, resigned
from the club. The board held a
special meeting at which it liberal-
ized club by-laws on admission
procedures. It then invited Justice
Myron Gordon and Attorney
Gordon Sinykin to join.
The board said, in a statement,
that it had acted to amend "the
by-laws so as to provide that any
candidate may be admitted by five
affirmative votes of the nine di-
rectors. In addition, the club, by
appropriate action, moved that
Justice Myron Gordon and Gordon
Sinykin are welcome to join the
club if they care to."
Two of the board members
initially voted against admission
for the two men, leading to
charges of bias in the club and to
the resignation of Harrington. The
rejection was widely believed to
have been on the basis of the fact
that they were Jews. Their ap-
plications originally had been sub.
mitted at the urging of Collins
Ferris, president of the Madison
Bank and Trust Company, who,
along with other Madison Club
members, wanted to dispel long-
standing reports that the club
barred Jews. •
A number of groups in Madison
responded to the original rejection
by canceling meetings at the
Madison Club. The Madison City
Council passed a resolution declar-
ing its intent to deny city license
including liquor li-
censes, to organizations guilty of
discriminating on the basis of race,
creed, color, national origin or
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
2—Friday, December 3, 1965
Johnson OKs Resumption of Food Shipments
to Egypt; Plan Provides 555,000,000 in Aid
WASHINGTON (JTA) — A State
Department spokesman announced
Tuesday that President Johnson
has authorized resumption of food
shipments to Egypt, and United
States officials revealed that the
agreement now being negotiated
with Cairo will provide about $55,-
000,000 in aid over a six-month
period and would be partly pay-
able in dollars.
American officials said the de-
cision was taken because of a
trend of improvement in American-
Egyptian relations marked by
Egyptian concentration on internal
development rather than foreign
affairs, greater moderation in
Egyptian policies, improvement in
the objectivity of the Egyptian
press, the agreement to end the
Yemen war, the settlement of
American claims and the encour-
agement of private economic de-
The decision followed consulta-
tion on the White House level with
key members of Congress. There
was no comment on questions of
whether the new program is a
forerunner of a $500,000,000 pro-
The food-aid agreement with
Egypt terminated in June 1965,
under pressure from Congress.
It was pointed out that Egypt
was diverting her own resources
to acquire ultra -modern Soviet
arms, shipping her rice to Com-
munist countries and having
shortages thus created filled by
American aid. The new program
will reflect some limitations re-
quired by Congress.
Rep. Leonard Farbstein, a mem-
ber of the House Committee on
Foreign Affairs and a ranking
member of the Near East subcom-
mittee, in a statement on the de-
cision to authorize the beginning of
negotiations for the resumption of
the sale of foodstuffs to Egypt,
"I am disturbed that the United
States is opening negotiations with
Egypt for the shipment of food
from American stocks. These ship-
ments were halted last year when
Congress raised objections to
Egyptian policies which were both
anti-American and inimical to the
interest of peace in the Middle
Rep. Farbstein stressed that "as
a minimum concession" the United
States must request that the
Egyptians cease using their re-
sources to buy arms, then ask the
U.S. to make up their deficit with
"I think it would also be wise t'
negotiate with our food in favor 0,
settling the Arab refugee problem; -
open the Suez Canal to all ship-
ping; withdraw Egyptian troops
from Yemen; halt provocative
propaganda; and anything else that
would help reduce Middle Eastern
Rep. Seymour Halpern, New
York Republican, announced that
he is informing the Executive De-
partment that Congressional lead-
ers who are said to have agreed on
the resumption of aid to Egypt did
not speak for him and that he
"deplored the decision."
Israel's Itaboker Wi 11 Cease
Publication; Merge With Hersh
(Direct JTA Teletype Wire to The Jewish News)
TEL AVIV — Haboker, one of Israel's oldest daily news-
papers and organ of the Liberal Party, sent dismissal notices
Wednesday to all employes effective Jan. 1, when the paper
will halt publications. It may merge with "Herut" the publi-
cation of the Herut Party.
Both papers have small circulations and huge deficits
covered by the two political parties which formed an align.
ment, Gahal, for the Nov. 2 municipal and parliamentary elec-
tions. The Herut paper also sent dismissal notices to its staff
The merger may presage closer ties between the two
parties, observers said. A number of Liberal Party members
declined to participate in the merger and ran an independent
Liberal slate in the elections.