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December 03, 1984 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-12-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

2

Friday, December 7, 1984

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

PURELY COMMENTARY

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

How Roosevelt 'okayed games' with Jewish conferees on Zionist, rescue urgencies

Roosevelt

Lipsky

In his review of The Abandonment of
the Jews by David S. Wyman (Pantheon
Books) in the New York Times Nov. 23,
John Gross had this reference to the
Franklin D. Roosevelt's means of warding
off whatever he wished to ignore:

The Rt. Hon. 'Manny':
Saga of the remarkable
centenarian Shinwell

In its issues of Oct. 23, 1959, the Lon-
don Jewish Chronicle carried an item
about one of the most eminent British
statesmen of his time. It opened with the
following explanation about him and his
affectionate designation:
A peculiarly Anglo-Saxon way
of marking the distinction and re-
spect attained by public per-
sonalities and of the affection in
which they have come to be held is
to refer to them by the diminutives
of their first names. When political
foe as well as personal friend
speak thus of "Winnie" and "Ike"
and, perhaps of "Clem," we may be
sure that the acerbities of conflict-
ing views have been tempered by
understanding of sincerity and by
appreciation of character and abil-
ity in public affairs.
So it is that the once turbulent
proletarian, Emanuel Shinwell,
the fiery agitator become Elder
Statesman, is now the universally
esteemed Right Honourable
"Manny," several times Cabinet
Minister and Member of Her
Majesty's Privy Council.
This earns renewed attention, merit-
ing quotation with emphasis on the Right
Honorable Emanuel Shinwell having be-
come a centenarian.
On the occasion of his having reached
the age of 100, it is recalled that at the
height of his career as a parliamentarian,
having been told to "go back to Poland" in
the course of a debate in the British House
of Commons, he did not hesitate to slap his
fellow MP.
It. became an inerasable story in
British parliamentary history, detailing it,
and recording a personal Shinwell incident
about a catapult in his life, the London
Jewish Chronicle needs to be quoted again,
from its issue of June 5, 1970:
When the redoubtable
Emanuel Shinwell bade farewell to
the House of Commons last week,
after a parliamentary career dat-
ing back to 1922, he received a most
unusual parting gift — a catapult.
Mounted on varnished wood, it
was presented to him by Rear-
Admiral Gordon Lennox, the
Sergeant at Arms.
This presentation is intended
to compensate for an unhappy ex-
perience that Manny had as a
child. He says: When I was aged
six in 1890, I was walking along a
very narrow street in Leeds. I was
minding my own business, wition,I.

"Roosevelt emerges from the book as
having been . . . a curiously frivolous fig-
ure (though he took electoral considera-
tions seriously enough). On the one occa-
sion when he was persuaded to meet with a
Jewish delegation to discuss the
Holocaust, he 'immediately launched into
a semi-humorous story about his plans for
post-war Germany' and spent some 80 per-
cent of the time talking rather than listen-
ing."
Severe critics of FDR often resorted to
such antagonisms to the late President as
to refer to him as a "playboy" with political
and other issues. The Wyman episode in
The Abandonment invites the telling of a
related incident. It had not been publicized
previously, although it may have been re-
told numerous times. The story:

It was in the mid-1930s, when the Hit-

noticed a commotion on the other
side of the street.
"There was a policeman, an-
other man, and a little girl. She was
pointing at me and accused me of
having stolen a bar of soap she had
bought for her mother.
"I didn't know what they were
talking about, and anyway at the
age of six I had no use for soap at
all.
"However, they took me to the
nearest police station when I was
thoroughly searched. They didn't
find any soap. Although I left the
station without a stain on my char-
acter, they confiscated, to my hor-
ror, my catapult."
Shinwell, undoubtedly among
the greatest figures in Parliament
during this century, has clarified
the famous incident involving him
and the anti-Semitic MP, Com-
mander Bower.
Manny says that he did not
hear commander Bower's remark,
"Go Back to Poland" (Manny was
actually born in London) but an-
other MP drew the House's atten-
tion to it. Bower was asked to
withdraw but refused. Manny then
went up to him and invited him to
go outside the chamber. When
Bower refused, Manny hit him in
the face.
Only later did Shinwell learn
that Bower had been heavweight
boxing champion of the Navy.
"Had I known this I would not
have challenged him," Manny
modestly explains. But I doubt it.
Manny, who had himself been a
pugnacious little boxer, was capa-
ble of challenging even a Joe Louis
in such circumstances!
Serving 48 years in the House of
Commons, and intermittently holding
some of the most important cabinet posi-
tions in the British government,
Proletarian-Socialist Emanuel Shinwell
resigned and was made Life Peer in the
British House of Lords.
The Rt. Hon. Manny item would be
incomplete without some excerpts from
another reputable British Jewish weekly
newspaper, the Jewish Telegraph of Man-
chester. In its way, the Telegraph matches
its London journalistic confrere, the
Chronicle. In an Oct. 10 article, the Tele-
graph recalled:
Lord "Manny" Shinwell's
political career could have been
one of the shortest of the century.
Instead, it has become the longest
... and certainly among the most
turbulent.
In 1913, he was organizing a
breakaway seaman's union in

',

ler threat was becoming a calamity for
Jews, when it was so vital to promulgate
the Zionist ideal, to seek havens of refuge,
to plead for an open door to what was then
Palestine. President Roosevelt granted an
audience to a group of Zionist leaders. The
late Louis Lipsky, a former president of the
Zionist Organization of America and one of
the leading activists in Jewish life at the
time, Stephen S. Wise, the eminent
spokesman for world Jewry who was then
president of the World Jewish Congress,
and others whose names this writer can not
recall at this time, were with FDR.
Mr: Lipsky was a guest here a week
later of the ZOA Detroit District. A small
group of us met with him in the small
Zionist office in the Penobscot Building.
There were no more than five or six of us at
that private session, and he related:
FDR had granted the national Jewish

group ten minutes for an urgent audience
on Palestine, Zionism and securing an
open door for the settlement of victims of
Hitlerism. The President opened the ses-
sion by relating an anecdote. He said that a
Palestinian kibbutz wanted to honor him.
A calf was born and the kibbutzniks named
it Franklin D. Roosevelt. From that point
he laughed and laughed at his anecdote
and the session ended.

Thus, the Wyman Abandonment re-
collection and the Roosevelt calf relate.

Any wonder that the FDR name is now
the source of the abominations that inter-
fered with efforts to rescue Jews from the
Nazi crematoria? This is one of the most
disheartening experiences in American
and human history — that when the U.S.
could have rescued, the heads of state shut
the doors to Jews who fled from Nazism.

"A photo exhibition featuring scenes
of the Jewish autonomous region (Birobid-
zhan) in the USSR will be displayed at the
Rogers Park Branch of the Chicago Public
Library, 6911 N. Clark St., Nov. 14 to 17,
sponsored by the Council for American-
Soviet Friendship."
Sovietish Heimland, the Yiddish mag-
azine published in Moscow and hailed as
the pride of the Soviet ruling classes in the
claims that Jewish rights in Russia are
fully protected, and Soviet Life and other
periodicals had begun a campaign to
popularize the Birobidzhan matter. It was
not successful until now, when the entire
matter earned the attention of the Chicago
Sentinel.
A factual record of current conditions
in Birobidzhan was outlined in a most in-
teresting and revealing essay by Allan L.
Kagedan, research analyst with the inter-
national relations department of the
American Jewish Committee who is a doc-
toral candidate in Soviet nationality prob-
lems at Columbia University. Writing in
the Herald Tribune May 7, 1984, Kagedan
called attention to the movement inaugu-
rated at that time by the Soviet Union for a
celebration of the 50th anniversary of what
had been proclaimed as the Jewish Auton-
omous Region in an area bordering on
China. The Soviets began to play up that
anniversary date by issuing a book on
Birobidzhan and in radio broadcasts.
In his article, which was entitled "Sta-
lin's Bogus 'Home' for Jews Still Touted,"
Kagedan states:
The Soviet regime created
Birobidzhan on May 7, 1934 to sub-
stitute for a partially successful
program of colonizing Soviet Jews
in the south Ukraine and the
Crimea. Funded by American
Jews, the program of settling Jews
generated enthusiasm in the Soviet
Jewish community and led leaders
of the community to call for the
founding of the Jewish Soviet
Socialist Republic.
Stalin and other Soviet leaders
were troubled by this demand for
recognition of Jewish rights and
they decided to detail the program
and direct the settlement to the
remote and forbidding Birobid-
zhan. By granting land to the Jews
in this Far Eastern area,, Stalin
hoped to dampen Jewish interest
in ethnic rights. Few Jews would
journey to this distant, sparsely
populated region, which had little
arable land, uneven precipitation
and was located on the tense bor-
der with China.
By attracting few Jews,
Birobidzhan could serve as a pub-
lic relations ploy, and garner

Rt. Hon. Manny's slap was heard around
the world.

Glasgow's dockland when one of
his opponents produced a revolver
and tried to shoot him. The bullet
missed, and killed the man stand-
ing next to him.
Few parliamentary careers have as
rich a record of activity and courage as has
been registered by Emanuel Shinwell.
Frequently, it was debated whether he had
aligned himself properly and sufficiently
with the Jewish people. His friends and
admirers prove that he has fought val-
iantly in support of Zionism and Jewish
statehood, that his pro-Israel stand is
staunch.
There is no doubt about it. The Rt.
Hon. Manny was and remains one of the
most dramatically illuminating per-
sonalities of this age. The greetings to him
on his 100th birthday come from sources
that embrace the British, the Jews, the
fellow proletarians who admire fearless-
ness in statescraft.

Birobidzhan spotlighted
as an exaggeration
and monstrous mirage

In certain circles in the USSR, includ-
ing the Jewish propagandists of the Krem-
lin ideology, there were attempts made
earlier this year to create anniversary
glory for the 50th year of the creation of the
Communist-sponsored Birobidzhan
"Jewish state claim." They didn't gain
much attention, except for an important
article in the internationally - circulated
N .Y . Herald Tribune. It fell to the lot of an
English-Jewish weekly newspaper to
bring the matter to public light. The
Chicago Sentinel, in its Nov. 15 issue, car-
, ried this .item:

A

4

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