Lady Astor, returning to England after a short stay in America,
announced that she was startled to witness how much anti-Semitism had
increased in the United States as a result of the Palestinian dispute.
Fortunately, the Atlantic Ocean, which she crossed to bring this information
to England, did not blush crimson. After all, the lady was not so much
a misinformer as misinformed herself, and the reason for this is that
so many of those with whom she associates are Jew-baiters. In her innocence
she decided that her thinning society is the American people.
The truth is that anti-Semitism is on the ebb in America.
And the cause isIsrael. The noble and honest stand of the Jews in
the United Nations in defense of their human rights has brought to their
side most of the nations and the overwhelming majority of Americans. Their
courageous fight in Palestine has evoked a spontaneous feeling of admiration
among all from the bottom to the top of American people.
* * *
Seven hundred thousand Israelis, constituting a two-weeks
old state amid the vast Arab area of the Middle East, fight against odds
in numbers and odds in weapons with unsurpassed courage and an unbroken
There are no Israeli refugees from Palestine. There are
no draft dodgers in the nation. There are no deserters from the field
of the battle. These people fight with small arms against fieldguns; they
go afoot against tanks; and when British fliers in Egyptian bombers bomb
the Israeli capital, children bask in the sun on the capitals beach,
paying little attention to the bombing.
Hundreds of Legion shells have fallen on Jewish sections
of Jerusalem for two weeks, Kenneth Bilty wires to the Herald-Tribune.
The Jewish weakness, as the Arabs well know, is lack of heavy guns.
No Jewish artillery has been fired within the Holy City. Their success
in withstanding the Legion to date is a tribute to their tenacity and
to the spirit of the individual soldier.
* * *
When, a year ago, Rabbi Korff, a New Yorker, hired in Paris
a two-seater passenger plane to fly over London and drop leaflets of protest
against the deportation of the immigrants of Exodus 1947 from
the shores of Palestine back to the German concentration camps, and the
rumor spread that the Rev. Korff intended to bomb London, the morning
papers carried dispatches from London saying that its population became
chilly with panic when the radio announced that Rabbis intention.
This was despite the fact that simultaneously it was broadcast that Rabbi
Korff had been arrested before the plane left the Paris aerodrome.
Apparently the nerves of the Londoners are anaphylactic
to bombings since the days of the war. Anaphylaxis is a medical term for
an exaggerated reaction to the second administration of a drug. But why
does this story crop up in this column?
I remembered it when I read about the Israeli city of Tel
Avivs being under incessant bombing for five consecutive days, a
city that had no fighters to intercept the planes and little other antiaircraft
protection, since only a week before the Israelis could not legally possess
any weapons at all. Most persons in the cafes did not even lift their
heads from their newspapers when bombs crashed into the streets. These
Israelisyesterdays Jewsalso had plenty of reason to
be anaphylactic to the danger of destruction. But instead of anaphylaxis,
they had immunity in their hearts.
* * *
In his book on anti-Semitism in America, A Mask for
Privilege, Carey McWilliams writes:
It is notorious that the sadist persecutes the weak
and defenseless not merely because it is safer but because it is somehow
more pleasurable than to persecute the strong.
The epic of the Israeli fight for their homeland enchants
all the peoples of the world, fills them with respect, and destroys anti-Semitism
together with its pathological roots. The Israelis are not defenseless
but instead deal blow for blow to seven armies of seven states. Even in
Arab countries anti-Semitism is on the ebb. And in America, in its stead,
a feeling grows against the Empire that cowardly hides itself behind the
backs of Arab states.
The respected educator, Alvin Johnson, in a letter to the
New York Times on June 1 wrote: They (the British) imagine that
the American policy of recognition of Israel is dictated by concern over
the Jewish vote. It is not. It is an American issue, the issue of republicanism
against the imperialsm which backs barbaric kings and emirs.
I do not find half the bitterness against England among Jews that I find
among my solid Declaration of Independence Yankees of the Middle West.
This is the message that Lady Astor should have brought
to the British shores.