Williamstown Institute of Politics Discusses Anti-semitism
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Williamstown Institute of Politics Discusses Anti-semitism

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(Jewish Dally Bulletin)

Anti-Semitism in Central and Southeast Europe was discussed yesterday at an open conference at the Institute of Politics here.

The subject of the conference was ‘Dictatorship versus Democracy in Europe” and was under the leadership of Professor Henry R. Spencer of the Ohio State University. Both an opponent of the present regime in Hungary and a member of the Hungarian Legation discussed conditions in Hungary. The spokesman for Roumania was Andrei Popovici, Secretary of the Roumanian Royal Legation at Washington.

Mr. Popovici attempted to whitewash Roumania of the charges of race-hatred. He said: “Roumania takes a most enlightened attitude to the minorities. It is regrettable that falsehoods are spread by the enemies of Roumania which have gained the ears of distinguished Americans. The Jews have many schools of their own, while the Jewish students enjoy the same rights as the Christians and suffer much less material distress than do the latter.”

Mr. Popovici then denied the “rumor” of anti-Semitic outbreaks, saying that “only one Jewish student was killed and here and there windows were smashed. Furthermore these excesses were limited only to the radius of the universities.” He added that by their false propaganda the American Jews nearly caused an outbreak of anti-Semitism in Roumania.

Rabbi B. Leon Hurwitz of the Bay Ridge Jewish Center, Brooklyn, who is a member of the Institute, was given an opportunity by the chairman of the conference to reply to Mr. Popovici.

“Mr. Popovici need have no fear about distinguished Americans lending ear to false rumors nor to false denials,” Rabbi Hurwitz declared. “Most of them ‘come from Missouri’ and are not subject to infantile credulity, swallowing every word which they may hear. It is for that very reason that I now have in my hand a copy of the Jewish Daily Bulletin, a ‘fact newspaper,’ of August 3, carrying a letter from its correspondent in Bucharest dated July 20, mentioning facts which Mr. Popovici very likely had no time to include in his paper. True that we have Jewish schools but according to the Bulletin information, all the schools in Bessarabia were closed on the pretense that they are not on par with the government schools.

“Not a single Jewish teacher passed his examinations this year. Very strange indeed that all incapable Jewish students suffering from a mental inferiority should have been placed by Providence in one territory. And as to their suffering less material distress.” Rabbi Hurwitz continued, “that is an old, outworn phrase. Unless Mr. Popovici had in mind that due to their ‘stupidity’ of which their failures in one final axamination is to serve as proof, they don’t realize the tax oppresions continually multiplied so as to make it impossible for their fathers who are shopkeepers to remain in their businesses.”

Rabbi Hurwitz then read from an issue of the Bulletin the incident of the Kishinev shop-keepers, fourteen of whom are under arrest for requesting of the Mavor an opportunity to present their grievances to the municipal council, and of their danger of being imprisoned for ten years. Rabbi Hurwitz pointed to Mr. Popovici’s minimizing the excesses when he said that only one Jew was killed.

“Taking another’s life.” said the Rabbi. “is not the only criminal act against which a civilized world rebels. The life of Job was spared by Satan, yet we all sympathized with his untold sufferings when he was deprived of his possessions and of the opportunity to train and to rear his children. It is no less ridiculous to find comfort that the excesses take place only among the university students. On the contrary just because anti-Smitism emanates from the universities, the shock is greater. Society or social life, like the tree, rots from the top and woe to any people whose source, whence you expect moral excellence and a wholesome example, is rotten.

“Distinguished men in America will no less look with approval upon ‘mere smashing of windows.’ Americans consider golf, tennis, and other forms of athletics among students far more preferable form of sportsmanship and amusement.”

Rabbi Hurwitz closed his address with an optimistic view, pointing to the fact that the members of the faculty of Jassy University themselves realite the danger which faces Roumania in permitting its future to be in the hands of a youth so badly trained, whose success in life is attained by means of the club, window smashing, intimidation and race-hatred and appealed to the government for strict measures Rabbi Hurwitz also referred to the appeal against anti-Semitism issued by “The Student World.” organ of the Christian Student World Organization, and expressed his hope that “some day, and not far off, the golden rule will be observed among all peoples, including all parts of Europe” and that the moral illness known as anti-Semitism will be a thing of the past.

Among those present at the conference were Count Sforza of Rome, Dr. Harry A. Garfield, son of President Garfield, Dr. Solomon Foster of Newark and Bishop Nicholai of Serbia, with whose remarks the conference was closed.

Max Reinhardt has decided to enter motion picture production. The famous producer will begin work in America in December with the United Artists Corporation, it was learned from despatches from Salzburg, where Mr. Reinhardt now is.

Mr Reinhardt’s decision, it was stated, was due to the persuasions of Gest, who brought Reinhardt’s production of “The Miracle” to America.

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