President Johnson's Problem-Creating Speech
President Johnson's name is never off the front pages, but he
certainly gained that distinction in the Jewish press and in the ranks
of Israel's enemies with his address to the Bnai Brith on Tuesday
By reviving the Jerusalem issue, thereby encouraging a return
to a status of a divided city—something Israel and Jewry could never
condone—something that is contrary to aims in other areas of the
world where divisions only encourage conflicts—the President did not
add to his image as a peace maker.
In a single week, he has thrown bombs into the pro-Israeli ranks
—with a speech that did not give encouragement for direct peace
talks in the Middle East; and he harmed the status of his Vice Presi-
dent in the race for the Presidency.
On the surface, the Johnson speech before Bnai Brith might
sound like a peace talk: it wasn't, since it did not add to efforts to
bring the contending Middle East forces to the peace table.
"How the talking is done is not important," he told Bnai Brith.
Isn't it, Mr. President?
A pledge has been made to Israel that the U. S. will provide the
embattled state with defensive weapons. What's happened to that
pledge, Mr. President? Adherence to it could avoid its being dragged
into the Presidential campaign as a national issue.
You amaze and disappoint us, Mr. President, even though you
were honored with the Psalmist's "praise thee forever" status.
The Tiger Year
A Pennant for Detroit
There are happy days in store for Detroit. The Tigers are due
to get the American League Pennant, and the event is cause for joy.
Few American pastimes are as enormous in their functions of
unifying the people as sports, and baseball plays a leading role in
cementing good feelings, in its provisions of bringing the work-
The color line has been erased long ago from the baseball
diamond. There may have been prejudicial feelings in the dugouts,
but they usually vanished on the field; and now we hope that what-
ever there was of bias has vanished from our midst.
We have a number of great white baseball stars on our team,
but the black players came through in pinches, one pitched and hit
well, others slugged when runs were needed.
It has been a slugging season—to assure victory for the Tigers
and a Pennant for Detroit. And the end result is a grand festival
for our community, bringing races together, wiping out religious
differences, striving for the unity that is so essential to our democracy
and that develops so very effectively on the sports arena.
A Baseball Prayer for the Holy Days:
Conservatives Utilize New Year Parable
From the baseball diamond and its athletic heroes has emerged
a parable that has been found suitable for the Holy Day Meditations.
Editing and compiling, for the Rabbinical Assembly of the Con-
servative Jewish movement, a pamphlet, "Yearnings—Prayer and
Meditation for the Days of Awe," Rabbi Jules Harlow was so im-
pressed with remarks made by Walter Alston, manager of the Los
Angeles Dodgers, that he included them for use supplementary to
prayers of the Holy Days.
In the Rabbinical Assembly pamphlet, printed in 50,000 copies,
Aiston's remarks are entitled "A Parable for the New Year" and
its text is:
"Ballplayers spend too much time talking about what happened
last year or comparing this season with last. It's not only useless
conversation, it's dangerous.
"The most important game in the life of every ballplayer or
manager is today's. What can you do about what happened yester-
day? Only one thing: try to correct your mistakes. But what you
accomplished a year ago isn't going to help you or hurt you—
unless you think too much about it and let it bother you .. .
"I sometimes think that a hitter in a bad slump is better off
if he stays away from everybody. Because the more he listens, the
more confused he can get. He has to find out what works best for
him, not what works for the man hitting ahead of him or behind
him in the batting order.
"Each spring I try to wipe my.slate clean and start all over
again, and I think that the new spring is the most important of
What a wonderful point: the wiping of the slate clean to start
action anew in a new spring!
The . prayer may not be widely accepted, but as supplementary
reading it's excellent as advice for worshipers who come to our syna-
gogues with hearts filled with fears and the effects of a world marked
by terror. Let the sadness of the old be wiped clean, for the joy of
a new future to take hold of our lives !
kolartvrology, Rejection of Violence
The brochure edited by Rabbi Harlow merits additional comment.
His selections glorify the spirituality of Jerusalem, and they seek an
answer to the problems of Vietnam and to violence. They deal with
martyrology and atonement.
Of significance is the piece on martyrology by Soma Morgenstern,
which speaks of evil time being at an end, and redemption having
begun, of a world being saved from evil, for:
"We know that this world will be saved from evil. Should this
not be true, may we know nothing further, for nothing will be worth
And there is Charles Reznikoff's "Day of Atonement," in which
the noted poet acclaims:
Out of nothing I became a being,
and from a being I shall be
nothing—but until then
I rejoice, a mote in Your world,
a snark in Your seeing.
One sometimes wonders, in judging some of the prayers and
selections for addiitonal recitations during the Holy Days whether
there isn't a guilt feeling that motivates our consciences. But if we
didn't have some guilts, we would not have the al het, and if we
lid not have the admissions of sins we would not have forgiveness.
How else can we approach the Days of Awe, expecting the beginnings
of a new era of peace and tranquility after we will have wiped off
the dust from the slate on which we are perched.
kn Awakening Among Polish Jews
This commentator was alone among the large number of American
Jews who had met, some five years ago, in Warsaw, with the Yiddish
Theater troupe which has just been dissolved. Ida Kaminska was
there, so was the editor of the Yiddish newspaper, M. Smoliar, and
others who played important roles in Polish Jewish affairs. The
The Mess We are
Backwatering on Israel's
Need .. Fortas Humphrey
admonition to our fellow Jews in the inferno that was later to blast
forth with venom against Jews and Zionists by this lone dissenter
from all who shouted halleluja to the actors and writers who were
putting on a front of contentment was that their plays smacked of
Communist compulsions, that their fate was insecure. The Polish
Jews didn't argue with your commentator. They merely smiled while
differing. We couldn't expect them to admit that they lived in an in-
ferno, could we? But our fellow-Americans in the main were blind to
reality, until JDC was again driven out of Poland four years later!
Now Ida Kaminska, after a visit in Israel, plans to settle in the
United States. Her theater has been abolished: that's how Communist
domination acts: it abolishes. (The Warsaw Yiddish Theater really
never was in a happy setting: it was tolerated in a gloomy Polish
center environment, and many of its plays were in Polish. It really
was a Yiddish theater in a limited sense.)
There is some special interest in a "correction" that appeared
in last Sunday's New York Times, stating the following:
Henry Grynberg, a member of the Jewish State Theater
of Poland, said during the troupe's New York appearance
last winter he did not intend to return to Poland, ex-
plaining: "I think it is against my dignity to live where
my relatives perished and to be treated as a second-class
citizen." The statement was mistakenly attributed in this
space last Sunday to Ida Kaminska, the director of the
troupe. The Times regrets the error.
But upon her arrival in Israel last Friday. Ida Kaminska said:
"At last one can breathe freely . . . The fact that I am here says
much and speaks for itself."
Apparently her decision to go to Israel, and her plan eventually
to settle in the United States (where she has already gained a large
following) came a bit late—tragically! Her Polish environment even
in the height of her glory as an actress was always in a sphere where
more than 3,000,000 of our kinsmen perished! And the dominant
Communist Party doesn't give a damn!
Humphrey, Nixon and Johnson on Fortas
Vice President Humphrey .proved that he deserved the designa-
tion given him in Newsweek this week by Stewart Alsop, who referred
to the Presidential candidate as "this decent and honorable man."
Humphrey's presentation of his position on many issues was excellent,
and he was especially effective when he strongly backed the Fortas
nomination and demanded repudiation of filibuster threats. (You
should have listened, Senator Griffin.)
The Vice President properly and rightfully referred to the state-
ment by Richard Nixon who spoke of Mr. Justice Fortas with admira-
tion personally and as a jurist. Then why not endorse the appoint-
ment, Humphrey asked? But, as the Vice President charged, it's a
political opposition, not one of ideology.
The issue assumed a new aspect with the lengthy statement
made by the President at the opening of his news conference last
Friday when he likened the Fortas case to that of the late Mr. Justice
Louis D. Brandeis. Newsmen saw fit to read into it—although Mr.
Johnson did not mention it—the issue of anti-Semitism which indeed
was one of the factors that caused delay in the confirmation of Presi-
dent Wilson's appointee. Some believe this will spur action on Fortas.
In any event, President Johnson's interest is in evidence, and there is
some hope that all the gloom that has emanated from speculating
Washington correspondents will prove as chimerical as their many
other predictions and resort to fancies, including the nonsensical
assumption that Humphrey is licked before he has even begun a
campaign we anticipate to be highly successful.
The Fortas Issue—A Time to Act Against
Inanities That Have Created Wrong Issue
By PAUL ELDRIDGE
Compared to the friendship Rus-
sia shows the Arab nations, the
friendship the United States shows
Israel requires a new definition of
The niggardliness, the subter-
fuges, the gibberish of the State
Department and the "fatherly"
admonitions and advices of the
President percolating through the
diplomatic meshes are models of
craft and cant.
* * *
If the United States warned Rus-
sia in unequivocal terms that she
would supply Israel with an iden-
tical quantity of weapons that she
supplies the Arabs with, she would
cease the futile "arms race"
promptly. She pursues her nefari-
ous transacations. because she
hopes, and with sufficient evi-
dence, that Israel already betrayed
by France, will also be betrayed
by the United States and eventu-
ally find herself helpless and ready
for the sacrificial knife.
* * *
But let us not forget! The United
States has vital interests in the
Arab world and she does not wish
to antagonize those good people.
Therefore she must not only ab-
stain from arming Israel, but add
her own share of weapons to those
of Russia, as perennial proof that
the followers of Muhammed are
more nrer'iOVIS to her than the
erstwhile wanderers to whom she
locked her gates when they at-
tempted to flee the flaming ovens.
* * *
What are the sacred interests of
the United States in the Middle
East? Why, oil! oil! oil! Are the
Americans really in dire need of
that precious liquid? Would their
millions of automobiles stop dead
in their tracks and their countless
factories shut their doors, if the
sheiks should hurl their anathema:
"Not another drop for you, vile
Infidels!" Ask but a proud citizen
of the incomparable Statelof Texas
and you will hear in vibrant notes
that his territory alone produces
enough of the black gold to drown
half the world!
* * *
Once that segment of the Earth
called Near East or Middle East
was the center of civilization.
There great cities flourished and
magnificient palaces and temples
rose. There endless caravans with
precious wares crossed and re-
crossed like vast arteries. From
there boats sailed to a thousand
ports over the boundless Sea—the
Mediterranean—the Middle of the
Earth—And the land was fertile
and there were immense forests
and fields and gardens.
But the Arab and the Turk
ground all things into dust and into
sand. Allahu Akbaru—Glorious is
* * *
A h ndred generations passed
and one day the descendants of the
original owners, decimated, scat-
tered to all the four corners of the
Earth, whitened in the North,
darkened in the South, yellowed in
the East, altered in tongue and
ways, but held together by reli-
gion, traditions, persecutions, re-
turned to their home. By their
blood, by their sweat, by their
courage, by their genius, they re-
claimed the fields and the gar-
dens, and their small share of the
region has become the focus of art
and of science and the hearth of
democracy. And he who says Is-
rael says Civilization.
Not all the fury of her vicious
neighbors and their clamor of
Jihad — the holy war; not all the
snarling of the obscene Bear; not
all the vexatious pressures of her
mighty opaque "Friend," will
make her relinquish that which is
hers by right of inheritance and of
U. S. Senator Philip Hart of Michigan has revealed—we hope
not too late—that the correspondence he receives on the issues re-
volving around the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas
for the highest judicial post in the land is running three-to-one
against confirmation. This being the case, it is high time to inform
our legislators that a shocking issue has been created over President
Johnson's selection for the post of Chief Justice of the U. S., that
there is bigotry involved in the debate and that the Senate should
act promptly to prevent injustice.
An avalanche of mail from crackpot sources has begun to arrive
to indicate whence the sentiments against Forfas stem. Some of the
material is so venomous that it confirms the belief that the issue is
tinged with elements of shocking religious prejudice. We have been
among the first to refute charges of anti-Semitism against the other
half of Michigan's U.S. Senatorial team—Robert Griffin—who leads
the battle against confirmation. But we are convinced that the junior
senator is so sadly 'misled that he harms good relations and contributes
toward low standards in judging American issues. He may succeed
in his campaign—and we retain the hope that he won't—and if he
does, his record will be seriously soiled by what he has done in a
matter that has been foolishly inflated into a great American issue.
So much has been made of the Fortas issue that one Detroit
newspaper expressed the view that the pornography argument was
irrelevant but that the "lame duck" claim was justified; while the
other Detroit daily took an entirely different stand, rejecting the
Griffin arguments on all scores.
Which causes us to take account of the Free Press' position. In
one of the very first issues of the F.P. published after the strike, the
Free Press took Griffin to task for his embittered political stand in
the matter. Several weeks later—last Saturday—it stated editorially
that Griffin's image had declined as a result of his filibuster and
other threats in the Fortas matter. But in between, the day before
publishing the latter editorial, the Free Press published a letter in
which a correspondent charged that Mr. Justice Fortas was associated
with subversive and Communist organizations. Without supplemented
facts, the F. P. blundered into giving a platform to a writer who
couldn't prove the charge because it was one never heard before
(labeling it as if it were a fact "Fortas Unqualified")—and if Strom
Thurmond could have found basis for such charges, how he would
have jumped on such a bandwagon! These are blunders newspapers
should not commit, else all the crackpots on earth will be running
And so, the Fortas case is in the limelight, the Griffin-Thurmond
threats may be overcome, even Richard Nixon may act less belliger-
ently in spite of this comment in an article in the Detroit News on
Sunday: "There is no doubt that Griffin's 'boy'—GOP presidential
candidate Richard M. Nixon—has greatly strengthened the anti-Fortas
forces. While staying away from the issue of Fortas' qualifications,
Nixon has said he would prefer the next administration to make the
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
2—friday, September 13, 1968