Berlin (Jun. 13)
The “Juedische Rundschau”, the official organ of the German Zionist Federation, has a long editorial article in today’s issue beginning with a reference to the article in the “Voelkischer Beobachter”, signed A. R., which, it says, we may assume was written by Alfred Rosenberg, editor-in-chief of the paper, and head of the Foreign Political Office.
The “Voelkischer Beobachter” says in this article, it writes, that the Bernheim case reopened the whole question of the Jewish minority in Germany and the Jewish question as such. It quotes an article in the “C. V. Zeitung” declaring itself against the designation of the Jews as a national minority, and says that since the Central Verein embraces over 500,000 German Jews, the overwhelming number of the Jews in Germany have again declared themselves as against recognition as a national minority.
The Bernheim case, the “Rundschau” proceeds, can be left out of account. We have to do here with a man who, according to our information, is no longer a Jew at all, but only of Jewish origin, who has been prejudiced by the Aryan paragraph, and whose right of petition in the matter of the Upper Silesian Convention has been recognized by the League of Nations. But how does that affect the much more far-reaching question whether the German Jews are a minority or not?
THE JEWISH CONTENTION
Not only the Central Verein, but all other Jewish groups in Germany, including the Zionists, have always contended that the Jews in Germany cannot be regarded as a national minority in the sense of the Peace Treaties, since they lack all the distinctive signs of national minorities in a Democratic State.
The Zionists are distinguished from the assimilationists by the way they stress their Jewish distinctiveness and the recognition of the Jewish question. They regard the strengthening of Judaism as an inevitable requisite for full humanity and work for the regeneration of the Jewish people, but the whole of this Jewish sphere of work was, so far as the State was concerned, of no political relevance. In their attitude to the State, the Zionists stood exactly where the assimilationists stood, on the basis of the existing Constitution, which made no distinction in principle between the citizens of the State on the ground of face or religion.
SEGREGATION THE STATE’S
How do things stand today? the “Rundschau” asks. Has not the situation fundamentally changed? We are astonished to find the “Voelkischer Beobachter” writing as if we still lived in a Liberal State. How can the “Voelkischer Beobachter” quote a statement from Jews whom it describes as “assimilationist” that belongs entirely to the world of the Liberal State? We cannot ignore what has happened since.
The State has made Jews, whether they wished it or not, a segregated group, marked out by the law of the State. They are no longer as they were in the Liberal State, individuals who have equal rights before the law, but are characterized legally and politically by their adherence to their group. That signifies nothing else but that the Jews today, whether they wish it or not, are in actual fact a minority in Germany.
A member of a minority cannot be content with the protection afforded to every other citizen. By virtue of his special situation, he requires a plus in protection.
FOR ASSURANCE OF RIGHTS
A great many misconceptions and inaccuracies have arisen around the problem of minorities. There is an idea for example that one who recognizes himself as belonging to a minority thereby surrenders his rights of citizen equality, or subordinates himself to the League of Nations instead of to his own Government. There can be no question of that. The legislation relating to minorities is designed rather for the sole purpose of assuring complete equality of rights for the members of a minority.
The German representative on the League of Nations Council said that it is doubtful whether the Jews in Germany can be considered a minority. But a minority need not be a national minority. The minority treaties refer to racial, lingual and religious minorities. The Jews are certainly a group with a distinctive character, and as a result of the measures taken by the Government they have become a group in Germany, placed under special laws, and consequently they must be described as a minority.
SUPREMACY OF NATIONHOOD
This brings us to a still more far-reaching problem. The idea exists in Germany that there is a relationship of people and makes the idea of nationhood supreme. It is immediately realized that membership of a nation cannot always correspond to the political affiliation, and vice versa, territorial and political membership can make of diverse national groups a political unity The German groups in Hungary or Roumania must of necessity be loyal to their States, and they rightly demand full equality as citizens Nevertheless they retain their German culture, participate honorably in Conferences which represent the German nationality as a whole, and if Germanism in any country is attacked, all Germans everywhere will spontaneously react.
The situation of the Jews cannot be entirely compared with that of the German minorities. There are very essential differences, but there is also something in common. The Jews are bound up indissolubly with the State in which they live and they share its fate irrespective of their membership of Jewry.
JEWISH INFLUENCE MODERATE
The German Press has been reproaching the Jews recently because of their world-wide associations. The anti-Jewish attitude of National Socialism has not been created by anti-German activity by Jews abroad, but the other way round. The feeling among Jews abroad. when they see reports of what is happening in Germany, is very similar to the feeling of every German when it is a matter of the well-being of Germans in Transylvania or Latvia. It does not need a non-existent political organization to achieve that.
Where official Jewish bodies abroad have occupied themselves with the anti-German boycott, they have in most cases (there are, of course, exceptions) exercised a moderating influence. Besides, it is impossible to influence such activity for the simple reason that there is no central body. When the “Voelkischer Beobachter” goes on to speak of the International Zion and the Zionist Congress, it is necessary to say this:
Zionism recognizes the existence of the Jewish question and wishes to solve it on a large and constructive scale. It seeks to gain the cooperation of all nations, both those that are friendly to Jews and those that are hostile to Jews, because it is not a question of sentiment, but a real problem, in whose solution all nations are interested.
ZIONISM SEEKS NO WAR
If individuals Jews in different countries react to a manifestation of the Jewish question by petty acts of revenge or boycott propaganda, it is therefore thoroughly un-Zionistic.
Zionism as a world movement seeks no such conflicts. It does not wish to have conflicts at all, but to convince and to build. And German National Socialism above all does not need much convincing that there is a Jewish question and that it needs to be solved.
Zionism points to the only road out of the present-day cul de sac. It was from the Zionist side that the proposal was made, that in the emigration of German Jews to Palestine the transfer of property should be carried out without endangering the German currency position, by taking it in exports of German machines, goods, etc.
If such an agreement can be reached, it would be of much greater significance than appears at the moment, for not only would German industry be given work, which is not to be dismissed, but the existence of such an agreement would undoubtedly act in a restraining manner on the whole of Jewry.
IN THE GERMAN INTEREST
In view of the boycott agitation which is being conducted against German goods, a mutual agreement providing for an export of German goods organized by an authoritative Jewish body would be an event which would constitute the beginning of a new orientation in economic relations. In this respect, too, Zionism provides a positive solution, which is certainly in the German interest.
The conclusion of the Four Power Pact has calmed the international atmosphere. The German Government is so strong that more than any previous German Government it can enter into international agreements. It has already shown that it desires to work internationally in a spirit of conciliation. The Jewish problem in Germany must be taken in hand in the same spirit.
The nations are confronted today at the Economic World Conference with a tremendous constructive task. The London “Times” has pointed out that while the foreign creditors have complete understanding for Germany’s need, they also expect that certain steps should be taken by Germany to remove conditions which now hinder German export, and among these is the anti-Semitic agitation.
We believe that the German Government has the opportunity by undertaking a constructive regulation of the Jewish question, to create a new situation in spite of everything that has happened till now. It is not necessary for it to go back on any of the principles of the National Revolution, but to go forward to the new aims. To help in this matter is the greatest service that the Jews can render the new Germany.