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How two Jews refused to tolerate Henry Ford's anti-Semitism.
ELIZABETH APPLEBAUM ASSOCIATE EDITOR
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Q: With all the anti-Semitic
Q: How did that primitive, twangy
little instrument, the Jew's harp, tirades Henry Ford made against
Jews, I was wondering if anyone
get its name?
A: No one is sure. Some believe ever actually did anything about it?
it is a corruption of "jaw's harp,"
A: In fact, on two separate oc-
derived from the German
Others say it is a corruption of
the French jeu d'harpe ("play of
the harp"). The French them-
selves, however, called it rebube,
and later guimbarde.
In his study of music and mu-
sical instruments, the early 17th-
century French mathematician
and theologian Marin Mersenne
stated that the Jew's harp "serves
the lackeys and people of low po-
sition." This has led other schol-
ars to speculate that the Jew's
harp was a contemptible instru-
ment named for a hated people.
The Jew's harp is found in
many cultures around the world.
Except for its name in English,
the instrument is not identified
in any way with Jews. -
0: Is it true that a famous jour-
nalist had a crush on Richard
A: Well, I don't know if you
could call it a crush, but Barbara
Walters certainly thought the
late president was something
In 1971, Ms. Walters (the orig-
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Tom Cruise, move over.
Richard Nixon is here.
final name was Volters) wrote an
article for Family Weekly in
which she described Richard
Nixon as one of the 10 most at-
tractive men around. She further
labeled him "rather sexy."
casions Jews sued Mr. Ford for
remarks in the Dearborn Inde-
pendent, in which he claimed that
Jews were trying to control the
The most famous was a $1 mil-
lion suit filed in 1927 by attorney
Aaron Sapiro (1884-1959) that
essentially put an end to Mr.
Ford's anti-Semitic articles in his
In 1924, Mr. Ford claimed that
Mr. Sapiro, a California attorney
who specialized in labor law and
farm cooperatives, was the head
of an international ring of Jew-
ish bankers working to
gain control of Amer-
The case went to
court in what would
be a lengthy battle
(the transcript covered zz:
5,000 pages). It also was
costly. Mr. Ford's attorney,
Seri James Reed of Missouri, 5
received a $100,000 retainer
plus $1,000 a day for every day
he spent in court.
In the end, Mr. Ford dis-
avowed his attacks on Mr.
Sapiro, who subsequent-
ly dropped his case and
settled for what report-
edly was a tremendous
amount of money, in
large part to pay for court
costs. The Dearborn In-
dependent also published
a statement reading, in
part, "Mr. Ford did not
participate personally in
the publication of the ar-
ticles (about Mr. Sapiro)
and has no personal
knowledge of what was
said in them. He, of
course, deprecates great-
ly that any facts that
were published in a peri-
odical so closely associat-
ed with his name in the
minds of the public
should be untrue."
A second lawsuit
against Mr. Ford was
brought by Herman
an author, politician (he
served as U.S. envoy to Al-
bania from 1931-1933)
and journalist who founded the
Yiddish daily Der Tog and served
as a World War I correspondent
for the New York Herald. A na-
tive of Lithuania, Mr. Bernstein
also was one of the first to pub-
licly expose The Protocols of the
Elders of Zion as a fraud.
Mr. Bernstein filed suit after
a story in the Dearborn Inde-
pendent charged that he had sup-
plied Mr. Ford with material
used for his anti-Semitic articles.
Mr. Bernstein sued for $200,000,
saying he had been repre-
sented "as a sort of spy in the ser-
vice of your mythical combina-
tion of international Jewish
bankers, against whom you have
been directing grotesque re-
Mr. Ford also apologized to Mr.
Bernstein, and the case never
went to court. Details of the set-
tlement were not made public.
Q: Are there any bears in the
wilds of Israel?
A: For many years (until the
end of World War I, in fact), the
Syrian brown bear could be seen
throughout the Middle East —
in Eretz Yisrael, in Lebanon and
in Syria. These days, though, the
only bears one is likely to see in
Israel are at the zoo.
The Bible makes mention of
bears as creatures dangerous to
man — especially in the case of
a mother bear separated from her
cubs. Bears were common dur-
ing the time of the Mishnah,
which directs Jews not to sell
them to gentiles.
Q: Recently you ran a question
about famous Jews from Utah. But
you didn't mention Roseanne. Isn't
the famed comedienne a native of
From reader S.B. in Atlanta
A: Indeed, Roseanne Barr or
Roseanne Arnold or just plain old
Roseanne — who knows what
name she is using this week —
was born in Salt Lake City.
Roseanne, who once proudly
sported a tattoo of her second
husband Tom Arnold, just mar-
ried her third husband and for-
mer bodyguard. ❑
Send questions to "Tell Me Why"
c /o The Jewish News, 27676
Franklin Rd., Southfield, MI
48034 or send fax to 354-6069.