Rome (Mar. 27)
Professor Tedeschi, who recently proposed (in the J.T.A. Bulletin of February 3rd.) a movement to obtain an International Convention against Antisemitism, to be worked under the auspices of the League of Nations, tells the J.T.A. representative here that he has received a large number of communications from important individual Jews and Jewish bodies expressing approval of his plan.
The Committee for the Protection of Jewish Minority Rights in Geneva has discussed the plan at a meeting presided over by Mr. Leo Motzkin, Professor Tedeschi said, and it has also been considered by other organisations. My proposal to obtain an International Convention which will bind all States to take measures by law to combat the antisemitism which is endangering the peace of the State, does not conflict in any
way with the aims or tactics of any section in Jewry. The “Haolom”, the organ of the Zionist World Organisation, which does not regard the combating of antisemitism as one of its specific tasks, has emphasised in an editorial that my project is in the direction of Herzl’s idea that the Jewish question is an international problem and must be solved on international lines. In the same way as it was possible to convince the European States of the necessity of a Jewish Home in Palestine, we must be able to convince them also that the creation of an International Convention to deal with those who incite to anti-Jewish hatred and to pogroms is in the interests of the cause of peace among the nations and of internal peace in each country.
There is naturally no intention to restrict liberty of speech. Every antisemite will retain the right to express his views about the Jews in books and articles. The intention is to make it possible to punish antisemitic actions. People making statements which are in the codex classed as insulting to the honour and the religion of the Jews would be liable to a penalty. Incitement of one section of the population against another, desecration of cemeteries, or the insulting of a religion, would be more severely punished than ordinary political offences, because they constitute a menace to public order. The Governments must have the same interest in suppressing such incitement in the interests of the security of the State as in putting down the trade in opium or cocaine, or white-slave trafficking.
An International Convention binding Governments to take legal action against violent antisemitism under the control of the League of Nations would not be altogether the same thing as the Treaties for protecting minorities under the control of the League of Nations, Professor Tedeschi said. The protection of minorities applies only in certain countries, and aims at guaranteeing to the minorities the protection of their rights. The International Convention against antisemitism, however, would have to be effective in all countries. All Governments would have to bind themselves to include this International Convention in their legislation.
There are several such International Conventions already in existence, for putting down the trafficking in girls and women, opium-trafficking, etc.
If the big Jewish organisations adopt my plan and mobilise Jewish public opinion in its favour, Professor Tedeschi concluded, it will mark the beginning of the creation of a world-wide feeling in favour of a Convention against Antisemitism, which I believe will ultimately come into being.