Washington (May. 18)
The definition of an alien, as found in the Epistles of Apostle Paul, employed by Congressman George Tucker of Virginia, gave rise to a misunderstanding of the Congressman’s position, which was cleared away when Congressman William I. Sirovich of New York rose to the defense of the Jews in an address he made in the House on Friday.
Congressman Tucker, speaking on May 1 on the question of reapportioning Congress representation and urging that the count omit aliens resident in the respective states of the Union, used the following expression: “Aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the Covenant of Promise were never intended to be given participation in the government of the United States.”
This was interpreted in some quarters to mean that the Congressman believed Jews to be “aliens” whom it was not intended “to be given participation in the government of the United States.” What it actually meant was that aliens are in relation to the United States, in so far as the count for Congressional representation is concerned, in the same status as were those aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, when it existed. At best it was an ambiguous phrase.
Congressman Sirovich was frequently cheered by members in the House when he rose to answer Congressman Tucker’s address. “Since no religious test is required by our Constitution to hold public office to serve our people,” said Congressman Sirovich, “why pick out one group of people and say ‘aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenant of promise’ were never intended to be given participation in the government of the United States?
For twenty-five centuries these covenanted people from the land of promise have been persecuted and proscribed. They have been pillaged, they have been plundered. They have been burned at the stake. They have been driven from the land that God covenanted as their own.
“As wanderers in the world they have gone through pogroms, massacres and inquisitions, and while all these monarchies, emperors and others who have persecuted them have been forgotten in the ashes of time, these aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel lived on and will continued to live wherever the influences of civilization and humanity exist.”
At the conclusion of the speech of Mr. Sirovich, Congressman Tucker clasped his hand explaining he had not intended his remarks as a disparagement of the Jewish people. “No act or word of mine.” said Mr. Tucker “would ever be so construed by you who know me. To do so I would have to forget some of the sweetest friendships and most ennobling associations of my life with Hebrews. The words used were from the Apostle Paul-his language, not mine.”