PARIS (Jul. 18)
Rabbi Stephen S. Wise termed Henry Ford’s retraction of statements against the Jews in his “Dearborn Independent” as “manly and honorable”, in an interview given the Paris Herald, European edition of the New York Herald Tribune, to-day before leaving for Geneva. He said he rejoiced for Mr. Ford’s own sake that he had seen fit to withdraw his “lamentable” charges.
“I am not prepared to discuss the question that has arisen in respect to the reasons that moved Mr. Ford to withdraw his libelous charges against the Jews,” Rabbi Wise said.
“It doesn’t seem fitting or even decent to question the integrity of motives of one whose words and acts are those of a penitent. In any event, the words have been spoken. Mr. Ford has made a manly and honorable retraction.
“Of course, there is no such thing as making amends when a people is libeled, for millions have given eredence to Mr. Ford who will pay little heed to his retraction. The Ku Klux movement in America doubtless was strengthened by the charges of Mr. Ford. I hope this retraction will serve to indicate to those lightly bent upon maligning a people that no graver injustice can be done than to make unsubstantiated charges against a whole people”.
Rabbi Wise praised the courage of Aaron Sapiro in challenging Mr. Ford and also that of Nathan Straus, saying he thought Mr. Straus’s challenge caused Mr. Ford to consider the gravity of his charges against the Jews.
“What amazes me, is not that he has just stopped it, but that a man of his national prominence would have continued so long to sell little fords of hatreds to the prejudiced public,” stated Dr. C. Everett Wagner at the West Side Methodist Church on Sunday, with reference to Henry Ford. “Organs of prejudice would not have a large audience provided people were not streaked with prejudice. When one of these organs stops it is a sign of better days for humanity”.
“A full blossom of racial prejudice is lynching. Legislation will help get rid of this barbaric trait. But the real change required to abolish lynching is a change of heart in public opinion in the sections where practiced, and change of hearts in individuals. These roots of intolerance are deep in human nature and are shot full with emotion.
“What are the sources of these bigotries? Where did we get the present prejudices that we now have? It is a long, tedious, complicated history. We have our present bundle of prejudices from our parents, school teachers, ministers, friends, newspapers, magazines, pictures, motion pictures, books, radio, politics, government, the social heritage and certain tendencies within nature itself.
“To eradicate these intolerances requires an intricate difficult and very long process. However, if every person who considers himself a good friend and lover of God should begin at once to refuse to give voice to action emotion and deed to any prejudice a superb start would be made.
“Roots of prejudices will only be destroyed when other roots grow in the same soil. The first of these seeds to germinate and grow is ‘God is no respecter of persons,’ which includes every race, religion, color and nation. The human race is the common denominator of all. Humanity has fundamentally more in common than in differences. When these seeds grow, the roots of intolerance will be stifled out”.