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Labor Action, 22 April 1946


Jessie Kaaren

X-Raying the Menace of Anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism Is an Anti-Labor Weapon


From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 16, 22 April 1946, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


“Ninety-five per cent of the founders of the Russian government were apostate Jews.

“The (United States) government is dominated by Jewish bureaucrats.

“Newspapers cannot be free as long as they are dependent on department store advertising and 75 per cent of the department executives are Jews.”

These remarks are offered as a sample of the testimony given by Gerald L.K. Smith at a recent Congressional investigation into his America First Party. Perhaps “investigation” is too harsh a word, the interrogator being Representative John Rankin of Mississippi, a man who uses a sharp tongue when filibustering against Negro rights but who was very gentle when he questioned Smith.

We quote these remarks because they are the typical catchwords of fascist movements and potential fascist dictators all over the world. It would be a very simple matter to prove that these remarks are lies and designed to appeal to the prejudices of discouraged and poverty-ridden people who are thus diverted from a true analysis of what is wrong with the system which breeds their discontent.

A Dangerous Phenomenon

But unfortunately anti-Semitism cannot be dismissed that lightly. There are too many people in the United States who cling to anti-Semitic concepts. There is anti-Semitism even among the workers in the more progressive trade unions and there are too many people who are ready to fall for the Coughlins and the Smiths. With the United States heading for an unemployment crisis, it is more than ever imperative to use a surgeon’s knife to root out as much of the cancer as possible.

Anti-Semitism exists wherever there are Jews who can be made into scapegoats for what is wrong with the economic system. According to a Roper poll recently published in Fortune magazine, the people interviewed in the Northeastern cities and in the Middle West Showed more anti-Semitism than those in the Far West and South, where there are few Jews. This poll revealed that anti- Semitism increased with the wealth of the people questioned and that those people who were most anti-Semitic were also most against unions!

Because anti-Semitism is so widespread, because it is so little understood by the people who practice it and because it is so dangerous, it must be sharply x-rayed to show what causes it and where it leads.

The fascist orgies in Germany during the last decade serve to give us a preview of what will occur in the United States if capitalism is not replaced with a socialist society. If we follow the trail of Germany, we will see how the theory of “socialism or barbarism” works out in practice. It is not enough to be shocked at discovering that a human being can sink so low as to use a live child for target practice, as German SS troops did. It is more important to link such degradation to the system which produces it, to understand that we ourselves will sink to the same level unless a sane, ordered society which is based on the well-being of all mankind replaces a capitalism which is no longer able to provide a decent existence for the vast majority of people. Only then will the need for a scapegoat disappear.

There is scarcely a country in which Jews have settled that is free from anti-Semitism. The groundwork for this vicious hatred is established by the fact that the Jews always represent an alien strain in contrast with the native element. There have been many periods in history when anti- Semitism was dormant for a long time, when the Jewish people of this or that country almost became part of the national scene, assimilating into the population, raising their children as Germans, Russians, Turks, etc., rather than as Jews and in many ways proved that there were no INHERENTLY disturbing factors in Jewish settlement in Europe, the Middle East or the Western hemisphere. Conditions might be peaceful for a few hundred years, many of the Jews lost their distinctive characteristics, they had leading positions in the country, intermarried, etc., but when the need for a pogrom arose their assimilation was no protection.

The Spanish Inquisition is a classic example. The Jews were very well integrated into Spanish life. But the Catholic Church was undergoing a crisis. It was tremendously rich, powerful and degenerate. A strong reform movement was brewing. King Philip headed it off by whipping up mass fury against the Jews. Killing Jews became a sacred mission. Heresy hunting was profitable. The masses of peasantry in Spain were desperately poor, most of the land being in the possession of the church and the nobility. Hatred is engendered by poverty and insecurity. By torturing, killing and confiscating the property of Jews, the monarchy and the church diverted the people. Anti-racial slogans served more purposes than religious slogans had served before.

The history of Czarist Russia is a long checkerboard of pogroms which were inspired by the Czarist secret police and soared to most violent heights when the peasants were in an angry mood against the regime. The famous Protocols of the Elders of Zion were concocted by the Czar’s secret police to prove that “the world is ruled by an occult King of Jews.” Though it was exposed as a forgery a dozen times over, the Nazis used them again, introducing them into Germany at a mass meeting in Munich in 1919. It was said to be Hitler’s favorite reading matter.

The Fascist Evil

The twin evils of fascism and anti- Semitism in Germany received a mass birth in the defeat of that country suffered in the First World War. As the shaky captalist economy of Germany responded less and less to the hypodermics shot into it by the Allied powers, and the workers’ movements became a real threat to capitalism, the master puppeteers of Germany started pulling the strings of anti-Semitism.

It made no difference to the inflamed mobs that their own scientists, among them the best in the world, proved that the concept of racial purity was a sham. Anti-Semitism ran its course until the rivers of Europe were red. On Hitler’s assumption to power, comparatively mild anti-Semitic laws were passed. Jewish children were removed from school. Later come the expropriation of Jewish property. In 1938, mass arrests of Jews became general. By 1941, crematories had to be built for mass disposal of bodies. By. the end of the war, almost 6,000,000 Jews were killed. The road to barbarism was clearly indicated!

(To Be Continued)

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