Page 19 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 8 (1949-1950)

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13
BLOCH ---- THE YEAR ’S BOOKSHELF
Knopf, 1948). There are those who maintain that the hatred
of minority groups is “natural” and is caused by the obnoxious
qualities of the victims. The authors insist that prejudice is
acquired and that its cause is to be found in those who hate.
The haters, it appears, are also “victims” of prejudice. While
moderately optimistic about the future of minority relation
in this country they find growing tensions with respect to Jews.
There is little reliable data about the trends in attitudes towards
the Jews. Depending largely upon their own impressions, the
authors conclude that the status of such minorities as the Jews
is not improving rapidly; it is perhaps declining.
Among the men who were instrumental in zealously fomen-
ing antisemitism in this country, a leading role was played by the
late Henry Ford. His character and personality as revealed in
his speeches, writings and public acts throughout his life-time,
have been analyzed in
The legend of Henry Ford
by Keith
Sward, a practicing psychiatrist (N.Y., Rinehart, 1948). One finds
that the real purpose of the book is to discover how and why
Ford became a kind of American folk-hero and to sift the fact
from the legend. Ford’s record is full of hypocrisy and myth.
There is no doubt that he was directly responsible for the ini-
tiation, over a quarter of a century ago or so, of the most sordid
antisemitic campaign in
The Dearborn Independent
and there
is no question that his man Cameron’s acceptance of responsibi-
lity for it, was a part of the ever growing Ford myth. Although
Ford publicly retracted his charges against the Jews, the damage
he has done to their reputation is unfortunately durable; it
is not yet fully eradicated. The “Paper program” dealing with
Ford and the Jews which forms the seventh chapter of
The
last billionaire
,
Henry Ford
by William C. Richards (N.Y., Scrib-
ner, 1948) helps to corroborate Sward’s findings
Discrimination against Jews in the realm of academic en-
deavor is one of the well-recognized manifestations of antise-
mitism in this country. That it found its way into Harvard
University was not altogether surprising but it was shocking
to discover that it had open approval from official quarters.
Henry Aaron Yeomans, in his
Abbot Lawrence Lowell
(Cambridge,
Harvard, 1948), offers a discreet account of President Lowell’s
effort in the early twenties to establish a Jewish quota at Harvard.
On the other hand he tells also of Lowell’s magnificent defense
of Harold Laski’s right to his opinion on the Boston police strike
of 1919, and of other instances of his tolerance concerning liberal
opinions of Harvard professors, such as Felix Frankfurter, which
he did not share.
A striking collection of forty-eight
Sermons of goodwill
, edited