On several recent occasions Hitler has contended that his anti-Jewish policy is similar to that of our own country, and that Jews are not wanted here either. Where he acquired his preposterous views, we do not know. Possibly they arose from the report that our State Department some months ago opposed special legislation to make express exceptions in favor of his German Jewish victims from our general policy to exclude all newly arriving alien breadwinners in these days of economic distress, when millions of our own people cannot support themselves. But it is hard to understand how any sane man can find support for his mediaeval brutality, from our countrys’ course. Even as to admission of newly arriving aliens, our laws and national policy in fact favor victims of religious persecution over his alleged Aryan supermen, exempting the former in terms from the literacy test, an exception avowedly enacted in 1917 in favor of Jewish and Armenian refugees.
Even if Hitler should himself be able to pass our immigration literacy test, which is not quite certain, in view of his ignorance even of German grammar, he clearly could not qualify as sufficiently literate to pass our New York State law for first voters. So much for the noble Aryan! Even as regards aliens, whose rights of continued residence here may be cut off because of an illegal entry or as a penalty for crime or pauperism or disease existing before entry, any such expulsion must be for valid individual grounds, to be established by due process of law against the particular alien involved.
But what a contrast between Hitler’s inhuman enactments and our own constitutions, which forbid even our legislatures from depriving any person, regardless of race, creed or citizenship, from engaging in any ordinary pursuits of life, and from enjoying full and equal civil, religious economic and cultural rights. No thought is more fundamental in American life than that the enjoyments of such fundamental equal rights even by aliens “are the monuments showing the victorious progress of the race in securing to men the blessings of civilization under the reign of just and equal laws.”
Going a step further, however, in analyzing the Nazi persecutions, no right-thinking American can be found to conceive even of a civilized country’s adoption of a program which sets aside constitutionally acquired Jewish rights of citizenship running back in many cases for generations, and degrades a whole class of citizens because of differences in race or creed from equality of rights to the status of serfs, and drives them from lines of business, industry and the professions, lawfully entered into and honorably filled. Our laws, on the contrary, in many states make it a crime to discriminate in various activities on the grounds of race, creed or color. Nor can we conceive of driving students because of race or creed out of schools, gymnasiums and universities, after they lawfully entered the same and honorably pursued them. And what would he say of the distinction achieved by Jews at the hands of their Christian fellow-voters in electing a Lehman and a Horner to the governorships of two of our most important States, and the selection by our chief executives of a Brandeis and a Cardozo to the most august court in the world! Such comparison can be commended to Hitler’s investigations. They would rapidly convince him that from the American point of view, his course has isolated Germany from modern civilization.
THE WEIZMANN PLAN
Dr. Chaim Weizmann, former President of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, and one of the greatest statemen world Jewry has today, is in the United States for the purpose of furthering a plan which has the double purpose of relieving the Jews of Germany from the Nazi terror and of enriching Palestine with human potentialities.
This plan, enunciated at a great gathering of Jews Wednesday night at Carnegie Hall, calls for the raising, through direct subscriptions, or through a bond issue, bearing the signatures of financially responsible Jews throughout the world, of a minimum sum of $25,000,000, to be used for the settling on the soil of Palestine of 50,000 Jewish families, or approximately 250,000 men, women and children, recruited from Nazi Germany and other centers of active anti-Semitism. The League of Nations, he suggested might undertake the sponsorship of a loan, the proceeds of which would be used to solve an international problem no less pressing than many that have come within the League’s province.
In substance, this is a development of the four-point plan, which has been endorsed by Zionists and non-Zionists in England and the United States, which plan also involves the enlistment of the League of Nations and the Mandatory Power for Palestine, Great Britain, in the working out of the plan.
All of this, incidentally, proves the prophetic vision of Dr. Herzl who, when he first proposed a National Loan for Palestine was laughed at.
Dr. Weizmann does not propose an immediate mass migration. “From what I have seen in Palestine,” he said, “I am prepared to say that it would be easy to bring into the country within a reasonable period of the next few years 25,000 Jewish families for settlement on the land. These would, in turn, automatically permit the absorption of an additionally 25,000 families…. It is not perhaps a very great number in comparison to the total of those who would like to enter the Jewish National Home, and yet it represents a goal which would command the interest and also the enthusiasm of the Jewish people.”
Details of the plan have not been finally worked out. There can of course be neither doubt nor debate of the fundamental necessity which the Weizmann plan is intended to meet. It is doubtful that the pressure of boycott or of public opinion on Germany will be so powerful as to bring to pass either a relaxing of persecution or a restitution. The Nazis have said for thirteen years that the Jew must perish. Afflicted with the bugaboo of consistency as they are, they are going to repeat the note of Jew-baiting. Jews outside Germany who are concerned over the fate of the Jews within Germany cannot wait with folded hands for Nazi mercy to become operative. They must do something, and start doing it soon.
The Weizmann plan offers a way out.
What is American Jewry’s response going to be?