“Discrimination is the wrong word. The division between Gentiles and Jews comes only from lack of understanding.”
This is the opinion of George Gordon Battle, eminent New York lawyer, as expressed in an interview with Evelyn Seeley in Friday’s New York Telegram. As ignorance diminishes the barriers which divide races will gradually break down and complete assimilation of the Jew into New York life will come in time, Mr. Battle believes.
“This discrimination against the Jewâ€”or misunderstanding, ratherâ€”comes chiefly from ignorance,” said Mr. Battle. “Ignorance on the part of both Gentiles and Jews. They don’t sympathize with one another because they don’t really know one another. Christians, accepting an old prejudice, have not tried to know the Jews. The Jews have consciously held themselves aloof from the Christians.”
Mr. Battle does not believe that there is any discrimination against the Jew in the legal profession in New York. The trouble with New York Gentiles, he believes, is that they are exceedingly provincial, being “as afraid of the new and unknown as if we lived in an isolated village and had never met a stranger.”
Pointing out some good Jewish qualities, Mr. Battle said:
“The Jew is heir to an old civilization, compared to which you are just an upstart. He has centuries of culture back of him. He was a civilized man when you were just a savage.
“The Jew has a fine mind, the ability of quick perception.
“Adverisity has sharpened the Jew’s wits. That is fair enough. The Gentile must sharpen his.
“And finally, is he not a fellow-New Yorker up against the same difficulties that you are? ‘Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?'”