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June 19, 1987 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-06-19

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Anti-Semitic Trends Force Japan Onto The Defensive

Unbelievable as it sounds, the
spread of anti-Semitism in Japan has
become a shocking reality. It appears
so extensive that the government is
being forced into apologetics. The
hate-spreading books are compelling a
sense of shame, but their circulation is
growing. So much so that their dis-
tributors appear to be compelled to at-
tempt to stem that tide.
Therefore the very important an-
nouncement that the Seibu Department
Stores of Japan cancelled a scheduled
Tokyo forum with the participation of
an author of two of the presently
popularly-circulated books. The cancel-
lation was the result of a protest that
was lodged by Abraham Foxman,
executive director of the Anti-
Defamation League.
The prejudicial development in
Japan may be a normality insofar as
anti-Semitism is concerned. It is an
echo of the ages. What it proves the
Japanese way is that it is an echo of
the ages and it does not necessarily
necessitate the presence of large num-
bers of Jews. As was previously invited
for consideration when the subject first
came up: if necessary, in the realm of
hatreds, if haters who desired to fan
anti-Semitism needed an excuse for
prejudice and there were not enough
Jews available, they might import
them out of necessity. The fact that
there are less than 1,000 Jews in Ja-
pan, perhaps only 600, proves the wild
There is an encouraging note in
the official Japanese rejection of prej-
udices. In another report of the shock-
ing "literary" occurrences, in a cabled

report from Tokyo to the Washington
Post, John Burgess gave an account of

Japanese friendly acts and World War
II demonstrations in rescue efforts
negating Nazi Holocaust plans. His re-
port about "Familiar Scapegoat" occur-
rences in Japan in the Washington Post

Jews have evoked fascina-
tion in parts of the Japanese in-
tellectual world for decades. By
some accounts, it began in the
late 19th Century, when Japan
was exposed to anti-Semitism in
the flood of Western ideas it im-
ported for modernization.
In the 1930s, the Japanese
military came up with an idea
to populate occupied Manchuria
with a million European Jews
seeking refuge from Naziism.
Had it gone anywhere, it might
have saved many lives. The
plan's motivating factor, how-
ever, seems to have been a be-
lief the newcomers would draw
capital and learning from the
United States to that im-
poverished area.

There is evidence, too, of
feelings here of a special affin-
ity with Jews. Perhaps it is due
to perceptions that Jews have
the same sense of purpose and
group loyalty that the Japanese
admire in themselves. Tiny reli-
gious sects have even sprung up
here preaching that the
Japanese are one of the lost
tribes of Israel.
In Israel there is a forest

named in honor of Chiune
Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat
stationed in Lithuania during
the war, who ignored his gov-
ernment's regulations and is-
sued visas that enabled an esti-
mated 4,500 Jews to escape to
Japan ...
After the war, some
Japanese saw a spiritual
brotherhood with the Jews as
innocent victims of war. One
side had Hiroshima; the other
had Auschwitz. Anne Frank's
story has always sounded a
strong chord with the Japanese.
Over a recent two-week period,
35,000 of them lined up to see a
Tokyo exhibit of objects from
the girl's life.
Proud of their "one-race
society," The Japanese are
forever treading unaware on
the toes of other people's ethnic
pride. Prime Minister Yasuhiro
Nakasone last year remarked in
a speech that blacks and His-
panics have dragged down the
United States' educational level,
and many people here still can't
figure out why his comments
caused such a fuss across the
Most Japanese who buy
conspiracy books probably
have no notion that they pre-
sent warmed-over versions of
theories that the Nazis used to
justify the murder of millions...
"People buy the books
thinking it will give them an in-
ternational outlook," says Akira

Mizuguchi of the Middle East
Institute of Japan. "Unfortu-
nately, it makes a very strong
impression on those with little

Burgess' revelations preceded this
account about positive attitudes in
Japanese government practices. His ac-
count of the "Familiar Scapegoat" tac-
tics indicate the following:

Masami Uno's book, If You
Understand the Jews, You Can
Understand the World, was so
successful that last fall he
brought out a sequel that has
sold 250,000 copies. Other
Japanese authors have joined in
with such works as Miracles of
the Torah Which Control the
World, Understanding the Pro-
tocols of the Elders of Zion, and
Make Money With Stocks Targeted
by the Jews.
The books by Uno and the
others are just one part of a
boom in Japanese interest in all
things Jewish. Tokyo's
Kinokuniya book store recently
held a "Jewish fair" that as-
sembled 150 titles on the sub-
ject. Most are intended as paens
of praise, depicting Jews as
dynamic models of success in
business, the arts and human
The few Jews (around 1,000)
who live in Japan report no
sense of personal danger de-
spite the anti-Semitic tone of
some of the books. "Ninety-nine

Continued on Page 30

Octogenarian Klutznick Rose High In Jewish Leadership

Philip Klutznick climbed the lad-
der of Jewish leadership firmly, with
courage, with deep devotion to the
causes he espoused. He reached the
mountain top. There were obstacles. He
hurdled them.
When he reaches his 80th year in
mid-July there will be encomia from all
corners of the globe. He became a world
figure and therefore there also will be
Restrictive age could never be an
obstacle in the life of a man destined
for Jewish and civic leadership that
commenced as a youth. He enrolled as
a youngster in the second chapter of
Aleph Zadik Aleah — the AZA youth
movement of B'nai B'rith — and he
rose to the presidency of the B'nai
B'rith in this country and then as head
of the International B'nai B'rith.
(AZA's first chapter was organized in
Omaha, Neb., in 1923.)
These are mere details in the life
of one of American Jewry's most dis-
tinguished personalities. His record in
B'nai B'rith includes notable contribu-
tions to the Zionist cause and therefore
to Israel. Later he became a critic of
some of Israel's policies. It should be
emphasized that he never deviated
from admiration for and devotion to Is-
rael. That is why criticism of Israel as
well of much of the Jewish hierarchy in
this country was a normalcy.
When he was chosen to succeed the
most eminent Jewish leader of our
times, Nahum Goldmann, as head of


Friday, June 19, 1987

the World Jewish Congress, he reached
the peak of his career on the Jewish
Nahum Goldmann was the genius
of the century. When he was chosen by
his equal in leadership, Dr. Stephen S.
Wise, the founder of the World Jewish
Congress, to head the movement as his
virtual successor, he was granted the
highest mark he could attain from his
Dr. Goldmann gained many oppo-
nents and severe critics. In his last
years he made many enemies in Israel
— for his proposals that were deemed
dangerous, for refusing to settle in Is-
rael where he had a home he occupied
only on his frequent visits there. He
was the Zionist maverick. As his heir
in WJC leadership, Klutznick also be-
came a severe critic. He, too, became a
maverick, matching his predecessor.
Yet it would be unfair to say he was
disloyal to his people's causes and
needs. It was his loyalty that also jus-
tified frequent criticisms.

Klutznick's WJC leadership ended
with his appointment to President
Jimmy Carter's Cabinet, as Secretary
of Commerce. He retains leadership in
the important Jewish Memorial Fund
which provides support for Jewish cul-
tural and other movements on a na-
tional and world scale.
There is a devotion in the char-
acter of Philip Klutznick that explains
his successes. He was also motivated by


Philip Klutznick:
Reaching a milestone.

a craving to know his fellow Jews, to
know our history and background, to be
aware of our qualities and shortcom-
ings. That is why he was able to
criticize when necessary, to commend
when vital.
He did not hesitate to criticize his
closest associates, always with a high
view in mind. I had occasion, when he
was still Internatonal B'nai B'rith
president, to receive a call from him,
from Washington, to the shop where-
fore we then operated on Detroit's

Brush Street. It was regarding the
seriousness of a boycott that was then
being conducted against a leading cigar
manufacturing concern that then joined
the Arab boycott of Israel. There were
threats of lawsuits and we chatted
about our planning at the time to have
the issue resolved, as it soon was, with
justice to Israel. Having ended that dis-
cussion about Israel, the Arabs, ciga-
rettes and a boycott, I told Phil
Klutznick about a personal experience.
I told him that only a week earlier my
son Carmi warned his B'nai B'rith
lodge that he would quit the movement
if they went ahead with sponsoring a
dinner on a Friday night which also
was on Shavuot. His fellow B'nai
B'rithnicks saw the light and changed
the dinner date, pledging to Carmi they
would never again dare desecrate
Shabbath or a festival. I suggested the
issuance of an admonition to all B'nai
B'rith lodges to respect Jewish tradi-
Whereupon Klutznick said to me:
"The trouble with some of my B'nai
B'rith members is that they are more
concerned with bowling than with
A leader who can criticize his own
immediate members so severely can,
understandably, be equally critical of
other involvements. He was not and
could not be considered a saint. But his
commitments are devotional. He has
earned the respect and admiration of
his generation.

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