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“face the Facts” Zangwill’s Parting Message to American Jews

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On the even of his departure for England, Israel Zangwill, noted English author who came to this country four months ago to address the American Jewish Congress, and created a sensation by his utterances, issued a statement through the offices of the American Jewish Congress telling the Jews that they must play their part as the bearers of ideals. The statement follows:

“On the eve of my return to England and after four months of observation of conditions affecting the Jews of the United States. I can only say that it behooves American Jewry, in keeping with its dignity and numbers, to assume a more courageous attitude toward life, to face the facts before it and not to blink at realities, to work with more zeal and earnestness for the furtherance of its spiritual and cultural interests.

“The democratic organization of American Jewry for the advancement of common Jewish purposes, as exemplified by the American Jewish Congress, should be carried forward so as to include representation from all elements which instead of standing outside and complaining that the Congress is one-sided, should unite on and support a common and positive program intended to affirm what the Jews are and stand for rather than to remain merely on the defensive.

“A campaign of enlightenment should be carried on with all the vigor and resources of the greatest Jewish community ever gathered together to reveal the complete accordance of American principles with those Hebraic ideals which inspired the founders of the Republic. Any propaganda or proposal savoring of injustice or intolerance hurtful to the basic principles of America, should be abhorrent to the Jew, no matter whether it may or may not affect his welfare. Thus a narrow and reactionary policy with regard to the restriction of immigration should be opposed, regardless of specific interest of Jews and even, if it affects the least of the peoples who are taking refuge here, for generous hospitality is essentially of the American spirit of fair play and humanity. This is not the moment in human history in which any helping hand should be withdrawn.

“Discrimination in favor of a fantastic conception of Nordics against an alleged inferior race should be opposed on the ground that it violates the tradition of American equality. There is

of course, no irremediably inferior race, there is only a false theory of race which should be left to the Ku Klux Klan and other amateur scientists. It is incredible that America will consent to spell its name with a K.

“In brief, the Jews here must play their part as the bearers of ideals, which are, besides having a history of four thousand years behind them, fortunately identified with the highest aspirations of America and in the words of my Carnegie Hall address, I say again ‘For God’s sake, stand openly and assertively for something worth dying for. That, you will find, will make life worth living, and, if die you must, go down like your forefathers, flag in hand”.

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