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December 13, 1974 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1974-12-13

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Purely Commentary

Frequent Re-Emergence of Lunatic Fringe Recalled
in a General's Blunders .
. Recurring Question
Whether an Apology Corrects Misspoken Untruths

By Philip

Exposure of Shocking Libels About Jewish Lobby, Banking and Press Control

Apologies may soothe a sinner into believing that he has corrected errors or
interview with Agnew, in which Agnew
a Vice President's openly attacking the
gained forgiveness. All too often, damage done by misrepresentation has a tendency to
said he never intended to castigate all the
press constituted a distinct threat to free-
give greater emphasis to the lie than to its corrections.
media:- Instead, he said he had in mind dom of the press. Isaacs did not mention
Indeed, apologists seldom attain even the most seriously sought atoning. J. C.
certain "Eastern," "big city," "liberal"
the anti-Semitic underCurrent in Agnew's
Harris had an interesting definition in his "Uncle Remus" in which simplicity is marked
newspapers and commentators. The words
words. But the response Isaacs received
by good sense in the chief character's comment:
Agnew used have long been code words to in his mail Was not about the First Amend-
many Americans: each of them means
"No 'polligy ain't gwine ter make hair come back where the bil•ng water hit."
ment rights of the press. As he told his old
Jew, or under .jewish influence. Thus what friend Klein at the time, "I've never seen
General George Brown, whose role is so vital in our nation's miltary ranks, may
Agnew was understood to be saying was
such a flow of hate mail in my life—just
have been sincere in an effort to amend outrageous condemnations of American_Jews.
that he and the administration were upset
plain, vicious anti-Semitic stuff!". Reflect-
Perhaps he was not facetious in subsequent remarks aimed at correcting his ignoronce,
with Jewish newspapers and ,commenta-
ing on that response recently, Isaacs sa
but it may well be asked whether he gathered satisfaction from the laughter that greeted
tors. Despite the disclaimers of.Herbert G.
that "I spent a lifetime being what o
his comments at a public gathering.
Klein, a non-Jew who was then assistant to
might call a eunuch in the religious sens(
This is not a laughing matter. Judging by the joy the general's remarks created
President Nixon for communications, the
It never occurred to me that there we
in the ranks of crackpots, there is a bit of hell to pay for the words of a responsible
Times' Ivan thought otherwise: "The pros
`Jewish judgments.' One treated news and
official who emerged as an ignoramous. The duty of fact-seekers now is not to resort to
who are doing those speeches don't blun-
commentary in the clinical sense—antisep-
name-calling. It is no longer a question of whether or not General Br6wn continues to
der into that kind of thing," he said. "They
tically professional. This experience
hold his high-ranking position in the American military forces. The task ahead is to
know what they are doing."
shocked me. It proved that there is a but-
prevent the spread of the libels that were formulated by the general.
The head of the American Society of ton one touches in America and an expect-
First, let it be established that talk about a Jewish lobby in Washington is not
Newspaper Editors was then Norman E.
able response ensues." Hate mail similar
only exaggerated but approaches the nonsensical. Like Americans of all faiths, Jews
Isaacs of The Courier-Journal & Louisville
to that Isaacs received was sent to news-
not only have a right but an obligation to seek freedom and security for their kinspeople.
Times, the Society's first Jewish president.
papers and columnists all across the coun-
Committees engaged in defense of Russian Jews and their right to emigrate from the
He attacked Agnew's statements in speech-
try, whether or not the owners and journal-
Soviet Union are duty-bound to act in behalf of the persecuted. I. L. Kenen and the
es and via network television, holding that
ists were Jewish.
American Israel Public Affairs Committee are acting properly in outlining the facts
regarding Israel and the Middle East. Through the Near East weekly newsletter Kenen
Would that the truth could dominate. Admittedly the lunatic fringe keeps repeating
and the AIPAC render a valuable service not only to Jews and to Israel but to American
every conceivable libel in the search for poisons to destroy Jewish people. Stephen
needs in the affected area and to the cause of truth.
Isaacs rendered a great service in presenting the facts about the Jewish role in journal-
ism. Similarly, the research staff of the American Jewish Committee proved its skill in •
Why, therefore, this nonsense about a "powerful Jewish lobby?" Why does a
an accumulation of data regarding Jews in banking. The AJC review of actual conditions
responsible magazine like Newsweek call upon an uninformed Jewess to give . credence
makes known the following:
to such truck? Newsweek could have done much better '41 search for analyses of the
libels by an American general than to draw upon those of Meg Greenfield who emerges
The disparity between fact and fiction
and others. At this meeting Morris B.
so confused in her own lack of knowledge of the status of American Jewry as to have
is even greater where alleged Jewish con-
Abram, then president of the American
become unqualified to deal with the subject.
Jewish Committee, outlined the mechan-
Then there are the two other libels: about Jewish control of the; press and the , trol of banking is concerned. Not only have
Jews never controlled American finance;
isms by which discriminatory patterns per-
banks. These blessings do not exist.
they actually were excluded from commer- petuated themselves. By 1969, the Civil
What, really; is the status regarding the newspapers of this country. Stephen D.
cial banking until quite recently. Even
Rights Bureau of the New York State At-
Isaacs, in "Jews and American Politics" (Doubleday), presents the facts. They are so
torney General's Office reported substan-
relevant to the issue which keeps recurring that even at some length the following from I now, they are only minimally involved in
that industry.
tial progress in employment of Jews and
Isaac's book must be emphasized and kept. as the record of truth in American
other minority group members at various
in Colonial America', the Revolutionary pa- levels of authority in New York banks.
Reluctance to put Jews out front has
seem tangential to this book, it once was a
But by and large, things continued to move
triot Haym Salomon is probably the best
been clearly evident in newspaper journal-
political issue and recently became one
slowly, certainly in the executive bracket.
known. In the middle of the 19th Century, a
ism nationwide. Many Jews are attracted
In 1973, a survey of 25 banks (not neces-
again. In 1941, as anti-Semitism •in America
number of Jewish investment houses—
to journalism and they hold many key
sarily the largest) in 10 cities outside New
was building, aviation hero Charles Lind-
Lehman BrOs., Kuhn, L6eb & Co., and
newspaper positions. Yet of the approxi- bergh told an audience in Des Moines,
York found just one Jew among 377 senior
others—came into being. They contributed
mately eight hundred members enrolled in
officers, or • 0.27 percent. In middle man-
Iowa, that Jews' "greatest danger to this
substantially to capital formation in the
the American Society of Newspaper Edi-
country lies in their large ownership and
U. S. during the late 19th and early 20th agement the proportion was 1.26 percent.
tors, which limits membership to "direct-
In short, the industry by and large ap-
inflence in our motion pictures, our press,
centuries, but their number and their com-
ing editors," fewer than twenty are Jewish.
our radio and our government." An in-
bined assets represented only a small part pears to be inching only slowly toward a
It happens that these few include ranking
ternal communication of the American
of the American banking system. Though less minute representation of Jews among
editors of four newspapers that are espe-
management personnel. On boards of di-
Jewish Committee in.the early 1970s noted
some of these firms survive, they are no
cially influential in terms of national poli-
longer exclusively Jewish concerns, and rectors, Jews seem to be less scarce; in
tics, those being Rosenthal and John
the 1973 survey, the proportion was 5.30
they have lost much of ;their former im-
The theme of America's press being
Oakes of the Times, Howard Simons and
percent. But even assuming that some such
portance in the face of the steady trend
controlled and dominated by a small group
Meg Greenfield of the Washington Post,
ratio holds for the industry as a whole, the
of Eastern Jews has been a dominant one
toward ever larger corporations.
Warren Phillips of The Wall Street Journal,
nation is, as it has always been, light
in the anti-Semitic lunatic fringe type
and Dorothy Schiff of the New York Post.
years away from "Jewish control" or
press at least since the halcyon days of
commercial banking industry overt _exclu-
And, although Lippmann and David Law-
"Jewish ownership" of banks.
the German-American Bund, the Christian
rence were members of the Society for Front and the numerous native American
If Jews have been so few and far be-
few years ago. In 1939, only 0.6 percent of ' tween
years, the organization did not elect a
in American banking, why does the
fascist groups.
president who happened to be Jewish until
image of the "all-powerful Jewish banker"
cropping up? On the face of it, the
freshed in 1969 in, of all places, Des
and trustees of banks belonging to the New keep
The phenomenon of selecting non-Jews
looks deceptively simple. There
York Clearing House Associations were
Moines, the same city where Lindbergh's
to be directing editors seems to be a
have, after all, been times—though not in
constant, whether or not a newspaper is
this country—when Jewish bankers wield-
York's population was Jewish. There were
was Spiro T. Agnew, Vice President of the
owned by a Jew. As it happens, few Amer-
ed major influence. During the first half
ican newspapers are owned by Jews: 3.1
the 19th Century, the house of Roths-
Fortune stated
based) television networks and certain
percent of the 1,748 newspapers in the
was one of the power centers of
in the early 1940s: "Very definitely, (Jews)
United States, comprising about 8 percent commentators as being elitist news and
Europe. Earlier, in the 17th and 18th cen-
of total daily newspaper circulation. The
turies, kings and princes often retained
the public. Soon thereafter, Agnew went
By the 1960s, discrimination against Jewish agents, so-called court Jews, to
Newhouse chain of newspapers, which rep-
before the Chamber of Commerce in Mont-
Jews in commercial banking was waning
resents more _than half of that 8 percent
manage financial matters for them. In the
gomery, Alabama, to say that:
at lower levels of authority; but it was still" Middle Ages, when the Church forbade
circulation, employs only non-Jews as edi-
When The Washington Times-Herald
tits or publishers except for members of
Christians to lend money at interest, Jews
boards of directors. In 1966, a survey of —who were excluded from almost all other
the immediate Newhouse family. In fact, in died in the nation's capital, that was a
the 50 largest banks in the U. S. found that livelihoods—functioned as petty of
political tragedy; and when The New York
1951, when Philip Hochstein was a direct-
only 1.3 percent of top officers and 0.9 per-
Journal-American, The New York World
ing editor for Newhouse, he conducted a
cent of middle management were Jews. In
search for a new editor for the chain's
Telegram and Sun, The New York Mirror
Yet this does not really explaii..-
the savings bank field the picture was
and The New York Herald-Tribune all col-
newpaper in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania,
stereotype, for there have been groups of
similar:- As of 1965, fewer than 2.5 per-
lapsed within this decade, that was a
stipulating that the editor could be neither
equal or greater financial power who have
cent of key officers and under 3.5 percent
a Jew nor., a Catholic. Apparently unable to
great, great political tragedy for the peo-
not become bogeymen for the credulous or
ple of New York. The New York Times
locate a suitable Protestant, Newhouse
for seekers after conspiracies. In the Mid-
York City were Jews, and 82 percent of
chose a Catholic.
was a better newspaper when• they were
dle Ages,, when Jews were small-time
these banks had no Jews as executive
all alive than it is now that they are gone.
(Former Newhouse Newspaper Chain
lenders, the Knights Templars were the
officers. A year later, thanks to the ex-
Editor Philip Hochstein, now editor of
The Washington Times-Herald, owned by
big financiers, but who remembers them
posure of these figures, the percentage of as such? In the era that followed, Italian
Jewish Week, New York, last week refuted
the McCormick-Patterson family, had been
Isaacs' charge that Sam Newhouse had not
purchased by the Washington Post's Eu-
and German financiers originated banking
that of Jewish officers remained
employed Jews as editors. He said four
gene Meyer, a Jew. -The defunct New York
the modern sense; yet neither Itlaians
such positions were held by Jews when he
newspapers all were owned by gentiles;
nor Germans are thought to possess excep-
was in Newhouse's employ).
In September 1967—a time when non- tional financial poWer of canniness. Nor
the lone survivor mentioned by Agnew,
The syndrome of a-Semitism, Jewless- the Times, is owned by a Jewish family.
discrimination was high on the nation's
have the great financiers of old American
ness, occurs as well in the two major He did not for some reason mention the
agenda—the American Bankers Associa-
stock—men with names like Chase or Mor-
American news agencies, the Associated
tion conducted a workshop on equal em- gan—created a popular image of the Anglo-
New York Daily News, which is read each
Press and United Press International. No
ployment opportunities for Blacks, Jews
day by far more people than read the
Saxon American as prototypical. banker.
Jew has ever served in a top capacity in
Times and which is not owned by Jews.
either agency.
As 'a current analysis, with an historical badkground, this AJC statement is of
After those two speeches, the issue was
Although the subject of Jewish involve- fueled further when U. S. News & World
immense value to all regardless of faith. It is reasonable to believe that fair-minded
ment and Ownership in the media may
Americans will be able to differentiate crackpot charges from existing and irrefutable
Report published a question-and-answer
truths. But there is no avoiding the lunatic element: The pity is that a U. S. general may
2—Friday, Dec. 13, 1974
now become one of its heroes.

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