Page 18 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 8 (1949-1950)

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JEWI SH BOOK ANNUAL
12
cinating portrait of both the antisemite and the Jew. Nothing
of the antisemite, either in his subtle form of snob, or in his
crude form of gangster, is overlooked by Sartre. The Jew, too,
and the problem of his relationship to his non-Jewish neighbors
is examined in vigorous terms. The antisemite usually is one
who belongs to the group of small, frustrated people who need
to take up some inalienable warrant for considering themselves
superior to somebody. He is one who is afraid, not of the Jews,
of course, but of himself, of his conscience, of freedom, of his
instincts, of his responsibilities, of solitude, of change, of society
and the world; of everything except the Jews. “If the Jew did
not exist, the antisemite would invent him.” Sartre has some
tactical advice for the Jew. He is of the opinion that the Jew,
instead of trying to accomodate himself to the movements of
the Christian crowd, should stand on his Jewishness and strike
out at the two root causes of antisemitism — a class society
and the bourgeois doctrine of private property. He argues quite
correctly that though the Jew is “perfectly assimilable,” an-
tisemitism does not allow him to choose
not
to be a Jew. The
Jew who attempts assimilation inevitably becomes “ inauthentic,”
a haunted man “continually in flight from others and from
himself.” He also points out that no man’s freedom is secure
while antisemitism is abroad. When Sartre’s book was first
published in France, in 1946 as
Reflexions sur la question Juive
,
it aroused considerable public interest. Friends and foes of the
Jews assailed it largely because Sartre had broken with an accepted
tenet of the French Revolution that there are no different ethnic
or racial groups and that there is only Man
per se.
As long as Jews find themselves victims of social and eco-
nomic discrimination, so long is there need for action to bring
about a change in prevailing conditions so as to eliminate utter-
ly this obnoxious practice. I t is with just such action that the
publication entitled
How secure these rights
? by Ruth Goldstein
Weintraub (Garden City, Doubleday, 1949) deals. I t presents
a report of an Anti-Defamation League survey of antisemitism
in the United States in 1948, in which are discussed the patterns
of discrimination and the gains made for civic rights. A similar
report on
Anti-Semitism in the United States in 1947
(by Ar-
nold Forster and others) was issued earlier by the Anti-Defa-
mation League (N.Y., 1948). In its series of Freedom pamphlets
the Anti-Defamation League has given consideration to this
and other like problems.
Aiming to present for the general reader the accumulated
knowledge about minority group relations in the United States,
Arnold and Caroline Ross have written
America divided
(N.Y.,