Rome (Feb. 1)
A movement to secure an International Convention against Antisemitism to be worked under the auspices of the League of Nations has been proposed here by Professor Guido Tedeschi, the author of a number of standard works on civil law and on international law, who is himself a Jew, and Jewish opinion in Italy is showing great interest in the idea. The Jewish weekly “Israel”, which appears in Florence, publishes a number of favourable opinions by prominent Jews in Italy.
In an interview here with the J.T.A. representative, Professor Tedeschi has explained his plan as follows:
The laws existing at present in various countries for punishing persons inciting one section of the population against another have proved entirely inadequate for the purpose of beating back the attacks made on the honour, life and property of Jews. Apart from the objective reasons, there is also the feeling of the judges who try the cases, and who cannot bring themselves to apply the full rigour of the law where the aggrieved party appears to be a Jew.
This evil state of affairs can be met only by special legislation based on an international convention of the Powers. Such special legislation would be nothing new in history. Many of the Popes have issued special laws against anti-Jewish persecution, as, for instance, Pope Innocent IV., who issued a number of bulls threatening those who persecute Jews with excommunication and the confiscation of their possessions. The decrees of Pope Gregory X., and Pope Paul III. on the same subject were similar in tendency. The Polish King Kasimir IV. in his Privileges to the Jews went so far as to provide the death penalty for persons found guilty of tormenting Jews.
Whatever opinion one may hold about the Soviet regime in Russia, we must recognise that antisemitic manifestations of any kind are there proceeded against with exceptional severity. In the same way as antisemitic excesses in Soviet Russia are dealt with as anti-revolutionary sabotage, the other States of the world must declare antisemitic excesses to be anti-State, for in actual fact antisemitic acts undermine the security of the State within, and its prestige without. It would be a difficult matter for many States because of internal political reasons to set up such a code of legislation on their own account, but if the matter is put on an international basis it will be easier for individual States to enact such legislation against antisemitic excesses.
The privilege of taking the initiative in the creation of an International Convention against Antisemitism belongs to Anglo-Jewry, which has for many years shwon great courage in the protection of our co-religionists who have been persecuted in various countries. Anglo-Jewry also possesses a strong, active and influential organisation for the protection of Jewish rights, and it has, moreover, among its members such important political personages as the present Minister of the Interior, Sir Herbert Samuel.
Many Governments which are seriously perturbed because of the antisemitic activities in their countries, which do harm to their interests, would welcome such an international convention, because it would make it much easier for them to put down this destructive antisemitism.