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March 16, 1990 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-03-16

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

PURELY COMMENTARY

Outrageous Forgery Demands Continuing Exposing

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Editor Emeritus

S

ick minds are deplor-
ably too often in evi-
dence even in the most
progressive human centers.
That is why it is necessary to
repeat condemnations of the
lies, after their initial ex-
posure as the products of the
"sick minded." Therefore,
racial slurs must never be
silenced. That is why anti-
Semitism is confronted as the
bigotry of the mentally and
morally poisoned. The conti-
nuing resort to the blood
libel, the so-called "Protocols
of the Elders of Zion" and
similarly faked documents,
remain as anti-Semites' texts.
Therefore the repetitive
resort to spreading the Ben-
jamin Franklin forgery may
not be surprising, although it
is expected that every decent-
minded American will be
outraged by the fakes in such
sickening pamphlets.
Spreading of the vicious lies
— their circulation — is trac-
ed in the accompanying ad-
dendum now found in a
Florida college. Clare (Mrs.
Robert) Tucker, daughter of
the late Cantor Jacob H.
Sonenklar, now residing in
Marco Island, Fla., sends us
the facts about attention
given to the Franklin forgery
at Edison Community Col-
lege in Naples, Fla. It appears

that the lies about Franklin
are being given a wide
reading and discussion in
that school. Thus the necessi-
ty for action to counteract the
lies and the menacing
hatreds that accompany
them.
Clare Tucker is pursuing
the shocking spread of the
Franklin forgery with con-
tacts to the Edison College
and the presentation of the
exposure of the libels to the
history department where
they are being discussed.
It is urgent that bigotries be
condemned in religious
ranks, that anti-Jewish fakes
be especially exposed in
Christian ranks. Therefore
the importance of the revela-
tion of the facts leading to
truth in the case of the
Franklin forgery. There is
great significance in the
statement that was released
by the Religious News Service
sponsored by the National
Conference of Christians and
Jews in its treatment of the
Franklin forgery. In a ques-
tion and answer column
released more than 60 years
ago, the RNS made available
the following statement:
Q: Is it true that Ben-
jamin Franklin expressed
an antipathy toward the
Jews?
A: According to Charles
A. Beard, noted historian,
Franklin's alleged "Pro-
phecy" which savagely de-

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Benjamin Franklin

nounced the Jews has no
foundation in fact and is a
"pure fabrication:' This
view is also concurred in
by Carl Van Doren,
biographer of Franklin.
Mikveh Israel Synag-
ogue, oldest in Philadel-
phia and second oldest in
the United States, has
made public its 150-year-
old subscription list which
contains Franklin's signa-
ture and the amount of his
contribution toward build-

ing the synagogue. Follow-
ing his signature Franklin
wrote, "5 pounds. Paper,
paid."
There is a duty in every
generation not to be silent in
matters relating to bigotries,
racial and religious prejudices
and outrages like Franklin
forgery. The concerned among
us must not be kept unaware
of the sick-mindedness that is
really never-ending. There is
certain to be shock in hearing
and reading about the man-

ner in which the memory of
Ben Franklin is being besmir-
ched. Therefore all the facts
must be made available.
There is seldom a period in
Jewish experience when we
are spared agonies. Libels of
all sorts keep haunting us.
We have to confront bigotries
in the United Nations, and in
the Russian confrontations
there is a continuing demand
for action to assail the moun-
ting prejudices. The Franklin
forgery was among the
bigotries that needed the ac-
tion that was discussed in the
"Purely Commentary" ap-
peal for concern and
knowledge of the facts in the
issue of June 23, 1967:
The vilest lies that have
ever been uttered against
the Jewish people are
being incorporated in
speeches by Soviet and
Arab spokesmen at the
United Nations and wher-
ever they can find a
platform.
Most amazing is a revela-
tion that comes from
Rabat, Morocco. A report
from the Moroccan capital
to the New York Times
reveals that anti-Jewish ar-
ticles in Arabic and French
newspapers — Ai Alam and
L'Opinion — which also
carried anti-American pro-
paganda, revived an old
canard. The Times cor-
respondent stated in his
Continued on Page 42

Franklin Forgery Assailed Here 53 Years Ago

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

Editor Emeritus

B

igotry and hatred
have a way of circling
the globe. Therefore
the vilest of them also reach
Detroit. The Benjamin
Franklin forgery also struck
our community.
One of the most distin-
guished American historians,
Prof. Charles A. Beard,

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
(US PS 275-520) is published every
Friday with additional supplements
the fourth week of March, the fourth
week of August and the second
week of November at 27676 Franklin
Road, Southfield, Michigan.

Second class postage paid at
Southfield, Michigan and additional
mailing offices.

Postmaster: Send changes to:
DETROIT JEWISH NEWS, 27676
Franklin Road, Southfield, Michigan
48034

$26 per year
$33 per year out of state
60' single copy

Vol. XCVII No. 3

2

March 16, 1990

FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 1990

helped remove the disgraceful
association of the Franklin
name with the filthiest type
of prejudice.
The haters in mankind kept
resorting to the forgery for
their purposes. It became a
tool of Nazi leaders and was
utilized by Josef Goebbels in
Der Angriff and other
Hitlerite anti-Jewish
journals.
The renewed spreading of
the outrage libeling the name
of a great American now
recurring in Florida, as ex-
plained in the introductory
article on the subject
demands the continued con-
demnation of such un-
Americanism.
By calling attention to the
recurrence of the lies in
Florida, as indicated above,
Clare Tucker assists in dam-
ning the stupidities and the
insults to the Franklin name.
The Franklin forgery was
spread as a vile prejudice in
our community 53 years ago
and our morning newspaper

revealed the outrage under
the headline "Franklin 'Slur'
Called Forgery — Anti-Jewish
Remark Refuted by Histo-
rian." The Detroit Free Press
in its issue of Nov. 10, 1937,
published the following:

Refutation of Nazi pro-
paganda attributing anti-
Semitic remarks to Ben-
jamin Franklin was
presented Tuesday by
Philip Slomovitz, chair-
man of the American
Jewish Congress' Detroit
Committee, who cited the
researches of Dr. Charles
A. Beard, eminent
historian and student of
Franklin's life. . . .

"Dr. Beard first became
suspicious of the authen-
ticity of the document after
seeing it printed as the
secret diary of Charles Pin-
ckney, one of the framers of
the Constitution, in the
Liberation, a paper run by
William Dudley Pelley, of
the Silver Shirts (a Fascist

organizaiton in this
country.").

"He came across it again
as a release sent out by
Robert Edward Edmonson
who, Dr. Beard said, has
been termed a Nazi agent
in this country, through the
Edmonson Economic Ser-
vice of New York."
Dr. Beard decided to in-
vestigate the authenticity
of the diary when quota-
tions from it began to ap-
pear in German and Swiss
papers. He wrote Edmon-
son, asking the source of
the Franklin anti-Semitic
quotations, and learned
that they had come from
Madison Grant, of New
York.
According to Dr. Beard,
Grant admitted that he
"had no information
whatever as to the authen-
ticity of the paper." It had
been given Grant as a
reputed survival of the Pin-
ckney library, Dr. Beard
ascertained.

Examining the Franklin
prophecy, said to have
been taken down in the
form of notes by Pinckney,
Dr. Beard noted obvious
anachronisms of speech
and style, which could not
possibly have been an
authentic transcript of
Franklin's words.
"Franklin not only did
not utter the sentiments ex-
pressed in the prophecy,
but there is positive
evidence that he held Jews
in high regard," Dr. Beard
said of his investi-
gation....
Dr. Beard who devoted
an article published in the
Jewish Frontier to the sub-
ject of the forgery which
Nazi propaganda agents
have seized upon, conclud-
ed his article with a plea
that Franklin's name "be
cleared of the crass pre-
judices attributed to him.
There is in our historical
records no evidence
whatever of any basis of
the falsehood." ❑

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