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June 18, 1976 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1976-06-18

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2 June 18, 1976

Purely Commentary

Jimmy Carter, Evangelism,
Jewish' Interest in Dramatic
Role of Popular Georgian

Former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, the new star
on the American political horizon, now appears assured of
the Democratic nomination for President. Only a month
ago there was consternation, there was a "stop Carter"
movement, people were concerned about his alleged Evan-
gelism. A new image has developed. Those who feared the
Georgian have jumped on his bandwagon. The GOP fears
the new political constellation and a hot presidential cam-
paign is in the offing.
Without partisanship, the Carter role demands serious
attention. He has come forth with a strong pro-Israel pol-
icy. It is taken as seriously as the traditional Gerald Ford
pro-Zionism which, the President insists,, is unchange able.
His friends unravel the Baptist traditions for religious fair-
ness which may become a vital part of an interesting politi-
cal platform.
Before the certainty of Carter's impending success at
the forthcoming Democratic National Convention in Madi-
son Square Garden in New York, next month, Rabbi Marc
Tanenbaum, the American Jewish Committee's expert ana-
lyst of Jewish issues, posed the question of Carter's Evan-
gelism and the effect of his thinking on Jewish voters, and
he made this comment:
Most northern Jews and Christians have no
personal experience with evangelical Christians
and base their perceptions on historical and lit-
erary images, which are overwhelmingly nega-
tive. Historically, evangelical Christianity dom-
inated American nationalism for the -first 100
years of our country. In that "evangelical em-
- pire," as Dr. Martin Marty called it, in order to
be regarded as a patriotic American, you had to
be an evangelical Christian. Neither Catholics,
Jews, nor dissenting Protestaiits were allowed
to vote or hold public office.
So one of the unanswered "Yankee ques-
tions" is whether a President Jimmy - Carter
would help resurrect a mentality of second-class
political status for non-evangelicals. But what
most northerners do not understand is that
there is today a pluralism of theologies as well
as social visions among evangelicals as there is
among Catholics and Jews.

The traditions of religious liberty in Amer-
ica began after all with Roger Williams, a Bap-
tist as is Jimmy Carter. And there are new
evangelicals who are committed to social justice
as passionately as any northerner.
Rabbi Tanenbaum's admonition was for people not to
judge the forthcoming election on the basis of prejudice,
theologies and stereotypes.
The emerging questions of Evangelism, Carter the Bap-
tist, prayer in the schools, interested many people. It eli-
cited comments and support of Carter's role by many of his
Thus, Morris B. Abram, prominent New York lawyer,
a native Georgian, a loyal Southerner, a former president of
the American Jewish Committee, who was chairman of the
Moreland Act Commission on Nursing Homes in New York,
wrote a piece on Carter and the Baptists on the Op-Ed page
of the New York Times and saw fit to include this reference
to Carter and his association with Jews:
Governor Carter told me that he was ac-
quainted with very few members of the Jewish
community outside Georgia and he 'asked if I
would help him meet others. I said of course,
and I did so without hesitation because I knew
a good deal about Governor Carter's record. For
example, he had appointed a Jewish friend of
mine from Ocilla, nine miles from Fitzgerald, as
the chairman of the Board of Regents of the uni-
versity system of Georgia. This action was par-
ticularly significant to me because I had once
wanted to serve on that board but under pre-
vious governors I never had a ghost of a chance.
I do not claim that Jimmy Carter knows all
the nuances of American pluralism. But on his
record, and knowing him, I believe he wants to
learn. Nothing that has happned in the months
of his Presidential campaign has changed my
The entire Carter episode in American politics is devel-
oping into an interesting experience. The Georgian's advo-
cacy of justice for Israel, his religious candor, his smile and
his courage in having undertaken a campaign against some
of the best known names in American politics combine to
Make the new political chapter a very interesting one for all
Adolph Rosenberg, the popular and able editor of the
- Southern Israelite of Atlanta, boasts a long friendship with

`Jews in Russia' Highlights
Pre-Revolutionary History

Numerous books were
written on the history of the
Jews of pre-Revolutionary
Russia. Foremost are S. M.
Dubnow's "History of the
Jews in Russia and Poland,"
J. Gessen's "The History of
the Jewish People in Rus-
sia," and S. M. Ginsburg's
"Historische Werk." (This
work is particularly valua-
ble because the author, a
recognized Russian-Jewish
historian, spent thirteen
years in the government
archives studying original
documents made available
to scholars after the Revolu-
tion of 1917.)
A recent addition to this
vast library is Louis Green-
berg's two-volume history
"The Jews in Russia," subti-
tled "The Struggle for
Emancipation," published
by Schocken Books. It cov-
ers the period 1772-1917 and
includes the story of the
Khazars who ruled the ter-
ritory extending from the
Sea of Azov to the Volga be-
tween the Seventh and
Tenth Centuries.
A considerable portion of
the book is devoted to the
history and philosophy of
the Haskala (Jewish En-
lightenment) movement
whose origin historians
trace to French Enlighten-
ment and Positivism.
The French Positivists
believed, "The first and
essential condition of the

good life on earth is the
freeing of men's minds
from the bonds of igno-
Similarly, the leaders of
the Haskala were confident
that the establishment of a
system of schools for Jewish
children of both sexes whose
curriculum would include
Jewish and secular subjects
would rid the Jewish masses
of superstitions and igno-
The Maskilim were in fa-
vor of founding theological
seminaries for training
competent preachers and
They faced, however, the
hostility of the traditional-
ists and the Hassidim who
accused them of being her-
etics ("apikorsim").
. But the real deterrents
that thwarted the Haskala's
progress were - the policies
of Czars Alexander I and Ni-
cholas I. For instance, the
education statute of 1844
which provided for the es-
tablishment of elementary
schools and seminaries to
train rabbis and teachers
also provided that their di-
rectors be Christians.
The statute also con-
tained a secret clause that
stipulated, "The purpose
of educating the Jews is to
bring about their gradual
merging with the Chris-
tian nationalities, and to
uproot those superstitions
and harmful prejudices


By Philip

The Political Scene and the Glory of Georgians Who Adore A
New Star on the National Horizon . . . Anniversary of Brandeis
University and Recollection of Two Pioneering Presidents

which are instilled by the
teachings of the Talmud.",

The memorandum sub-
mitted by the minister of
the interior to Nicholas I
said "that in a secret Jewish
book called Rambam, it is
ordained that Jews must
steal Christian children,
murder them and drink
their blood."
Despite czarist bigotry
and anti-Semitism, Russian
Jews made important con-
tributions to their country's
civilization. Baron Evzel
Gunsburg (1812-1878) estab-
lished the first private bank-
ing institution in Russia.
Samuel _ Poliakov
(1836-1888), the "Railroad
King," built several rail-
roads and established the
first railroad schbol. Albert
Harkavy (1835-1919) con-
tributed to early Russian
history, an,d in 1875
"created a sensation in the
world of Semitics when he
exposed as forgeries some of
the Biblical manuscripts the
Biblical library had

Interesting are the
book's sections on the
Jewish Socialist and Zion-
ist movements in Russia.

Louis Greenberg's "The
Jews in Russia" is a schol-
arly, well-documented and
comprehensive social his-
tory of Russian Jewry under

Carter. Georgians speak of unanimity in Jewish ranks in
professing admiration for the man who is certain to give
good battle to Gerald Ford, if the latter, as expected, is
nominated by the Republicans.
In deciding on preferences at the polls, the first Tues-
day in November, the voter will at least be fortified by rec-
ommendations that assert that a Baptist can be as trus-
tworthy in 1976 as a Catholic was in 1960.
This factual report sums up several questions:
Will voters ask whether Ford and Carter equate, and
how will the more conservative judge Reagan, the most ex-
treme conservative?
Is the 1976 presidential election threatened with cyni-
_cism? Is there the danger that many will say: what's the
use? What's the choice? What's the difference in candi-
dates? Why waste the vote?
The latter is the challenge of the year. Four months are
left to study the controversies, the candidates, the ultima-
cies. The duty for the voter is clear: he has a lot of home-
work to do before casting his ball& in November.

* * *

Brandeis U. Anniversary
The 25th anniversary exercises of Brandeis University
were an occasion last month to review important historical
developments relationg to the struggle for academic free-
dom and rejection of the numerous clausus that affected
Jews for many decades.
Brandeis University symbolized the struggle to assure
educational -opportunities for students and teaching rights
for Jews aspiring to faculty positions. In the main these
aspirations were attained, with Brandeis University as a
medium for such libertarian ideals. In the process the result
was even greater. Brandeis University has become a leader
in obtaining just -rights for blacks as well as whites. It may,
therefore, be rightfully judged as the medium for justice in
the highest ranks of learning and teaching.
The Brandeis University's anniversary of graduations
has earned its high role among American colleges. It is an
occasion to recall the pioneering efforts of Dr. Israel Gold-
stein, the school's first president; the eminent Abram L.
Sachar, whose presidential role gained for him top status in
cultural spheres, and their successors and associates who
helped give high status to what has become a great univer-

Anti-Semitism's Numerous Forms
Provide Ironies and Little Humor

I don't know if anyone has
written of the humorous
Joe was telling of his angle of anti-Semitism, but
bright son. Someone asked even in Shakespeare's
the young fellow about anti- "Merchant of Venice" his
Semitism. He replied, "I picture of Shylock insisting
have an Aunt Hannah and on a pound of flesh is really
an Aunt Sarah but I have no funny when you think about
it. What in the world would
Aunty Semitism."
Funny. Sometimes I a staunch Jew, as Shake-
think anti-Semitism, tragic speare depicts Shylock,
though it is, has its funny want with a pound of flesh
side too. Think of this that is not kosher? Maybe if
(Spiro) Agnew fellow. Shylock wanted a pound of
Thrown out of office, barely gefilte fish or some matzo
escaping jail, he comes out ball soup, we could under-
now with a book charging stand.
They tell a story about
that the Zionist media con-
Oscar Straus, a member of
trols America.
What could be more a very prominent Jewish
funny? To be sure, we can family in America at the
understand the purpose. He turn of the century. Straus
tries to divert attention was Ambassador to Tur-
from his own sins by throw- key and later a member, if
ing mud at others. Also, the I recall correctly, of Theo-
media helped to expose him, dore Roosevelt's Cabinet.
so calling it Zionist will One time he decided to
lessen the impact of the case take a little vacation at
against him. Nowadays, of opv.of those swank resorts
course, one doesn't say anti- *filch did not accept Jews.
Semitism. It is more in the It was in the days before
spirit of the times and helps the automobile and he
the Arabs to say anti-Zion- went there on his horse.
The resort managers were
Basically there is the in a dither. They did not
same technique as in the admit Jews, but they feared
Dreyfus case. The Jew it would create a stench if
Dreyfus was charged with they turned out a man with
selling out French military so much prestige. They de-
secrets, but at the end of cided to admit him but to
the case it was found that discourage any return visits,
Dreyfus was innocent but they doubled the charge.
that the people behind his When Straus saw the bill,
prosecution had sold out he said, "I see you charge
the military secrets.
me double the rate of oth-


(Copyright 1976, JTA, Inc.)


ers. I can understand that,
but why do you make the
double charge for my horse?
He isn't Jewish."
Almost every kind of ac-
cusation has been levelled
against Jews, but the favor-
ite, I suppose, is that Jews
love money and are trying to
bilk everyone.

In that connection, I am
reminded of the case of a
brother of mine who was a
lawyer and had a non-
Jewish partner. When the
case- was won, my brother
proposed a fee, but his
partner proposed a higher
fee which the client paid.
In the 'words of Shake-
speare, said my brother to
his partner, "Almost thou
persuadest me to be a
• Christian."
And speaking of crazy
charges, in my early days as
a newspaper reporter, I en-
countered a fantastic one.
Going to interview the art-
ist, Joseph Pennell, I found
that his pique against the
Jews was that they hatt -
sense for art. There wer‘,
great painters among Jews,
he said. I knew very little
about painting in those
days, but this I do know to-
day, that while Pennell is al-
most completely forgotten,
Modigliani, Pissarro, Sou-
tain and Chagall, and other
Jews who were his contem-
poraries will not be so
quickly forgotten.

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