Plans to organize and concert activities leading to a complete boycott here of products of German manufacture until the Hitler regime in Germany restores the political and civil rights of the Jews of the Reich and “until all the anti-Jewish laws, edicts and policies have been renounced,” were under way here yesterday. New York City is being divided into fourteen regional districts, each of which will have a chairman and boycott committee to further the work within its area. A national council, composed of the delegates of the 288 Jewish organizations which were represented Sunday afternoon at the boycott conference called by the American League for the Defense of Jewish Rights, will work through trade and industrial groups. The boycott will be conducted along lines similar to those employed in England by the group headed by Lord Melchett.
Justification of the boycott as a defensive weapon was voiced by Samuel Untemyer, James W. Gerard, former Ambassador to Germany; former Representative Fiorella H. LaGuardia, Henry T. Hunt, former Mayor of Cincinnati; Col. Morris Mendelsohn, head of the Jewish War Veterans; Louis Lipsky and others who addressed the conference. Jewish leaders who objected to use of the boycott were severely criticized.
“To the few timid, credulous, well-intentioned souls among the American Jews who have no defensive plan whatever to offer but who are unwilling to commit themselves to a boycott,” said Mr. Untermyer, whose appearance was greeted by an ovation, “I repeat the question: If not a boycott, what are you going to do? Are you going to sit idly by whilst your brethren in Germany are humiliated, degraded, deprived of their rights of citizenship and kicked out of their professions and employment and left to starve by this Austrian upstart and his band of ruffians?
“That is not my conception of your right and duty. You are no more peace-loving than the rest of us. The only difference between us is that you lack the will and courage to fight. It is so easy to counsel ‘peace’, when there is no peace. What you recommend is virtually a counsel of despair and surrender to the most inhuman forces that have dominated government in centuries.”
QUESTION OF HUMANITY
Mr. Gerard pointed out that the question now transcends the question of relief for the Jews of Germany and has become a question of humanity and civilization.
“This question that now confronts the world,” he said, “is higher than any question of relief. It is a question of humanity and civilization.
“I want you to know from me as a Gentile that there is only one kind of Jew the Gentile despises and that is the Jew that denies that he is a Jew. If I were a Jew, whether a Sephardic or Ashkenazi with all your tradition and history behind you, I’d be damned proud of it. I lived in Germany for four years and I saw during the World War the cold, calculating cruelty of Prussian-ism and that it was something new, that is, since the old Germany.”
Mr. Gerard stressed the need of unity among the Jews and warned that “the important thing is not to make the word Jew synonymous with Communist.” He said that Jews would have the support of the rest of the country in their fight against Hitler.
“We are in this fight for humanity,” he declared, to cheering from the audience “but first of all your people will have to hang together. You have to show your power and you have to do it in an economic way. The Gentiles of this country are for you.”
He severely criticized some “wealthy American Jews” for sailing on a German ship. “The only good thing about it,” he commented, “is that they may convert some of the Germans to humanity.”
BOYCOTT A WORLD SERVICE
Both Mr. Gerard and Mr. LaGuardia were roundly cheered and applauded when they insisted the fight against Hitlerism was more than a fight for the protection of a number of Jews but was an alignment of the forces of civilization against a menace.
Mr. LaGuardia, citing the League of Nations covenant, said that boycott action was provided for there and that effecting a boycott on a national and international scale would “render a great world service.”
“I am here not as a Jew, not as a ‘goy’ but as an American to join in a world movement for the purpose of putting Adolf Hitler out of power,” he said. The “American people can by their action protest against this menace to world peace.”
It is a question of whether world peace will be destroyed, Mr. LaGuardia said. “There is but one way we can get the people of Germany to realize that we are willing to help them rid themselves of the menace of Hitlerism. While the civilized governments of the world are making up their minds as to what they are going to do about this menace, we are here today to launch a boycott against all German goods. I am sure if this boycott is successful in the United States it will be followed in other countries. This is the first opportunity the peoples of the world themselves have had to smash a menace to world peace. You are fighting for a just cause, for every mother who does not want to see her sons die in another war.”
Methods of procedure were discussed by Mr. Untermyer, Jacob de Haas, Dr. S. Margoshes, Dr. A. Coralnick, who opened the conference, Isaac Allen, grand master, Order Sons of Zion, who presided, and others.
CAN BE EFFECTIVE
“This boycott can and must be made so effective that it will strike at the very foundations of the campaign that is being waged against the Jews in Germany,” Mr. Untermyer asserted.
“To those of you who are familiar with the records made by the elements now in power in Germany, the books and pamphlets they have written, the speeches they have made in Parliament, and the platform of the Nazi party, it must be apparent that there is nothing left for us in decency, for the preservation of our self-respect and the protection of our brethren who are threatened with annihilation, but to strike back with such lawful weapons and with all the force at our command.”
Dr. Margoshes called on Jewish governors and congressmen and others to participate in the fight against Hitlerism. In this struggle,