Untermyer Urges B’nai B’rith Join Boycott; Criticizes Zionist Congress for Nazi Deal
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Untermyer Urges B’nai B’rith Join Boycott; Criticizes Zionist Congress for Nazi Deal

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Characterizing the present rulers of Germany as “fiends in human form who are leading a once great nation back into the Dark Ages,” Samuel Untermyer of New York, addressing the annual reunion of tri-state lodges of the B’nai B’rith, Jewish fraternal organization, in a speech broadcast over a Columbia network, called for an unyielding war against Hitlerism by means of a complete boycott of Germany until it overthrows the Nazi regime.

The noted attorney criticized the League of Nations for its “Rip Van Winkle” attitude in not having sent a commission to investigate conditions in Germany.

Negotiations reported to the Eighteenth World Congress at Prague, Czechoslovakia, providing for the removal of German Jews from the Reich and the export of part of their capital in the form of German goods, were roundly criticized by Mr. Untermyer as well as the failure of the congress to adopt the boycott.

“The Zionist Organization had no business to enter upon any such negotiations,” he declared. “If they accede to any such terms, or to any terms other than to offer to take care of the very limited number of German Jews whom they can locate in Palestine or care for, they will rightly destroy their organization in this country.”


Referring to the Congress’s failure to adopt the boycott, Mr. Untermyer ascribed this to a reason “unworthy, though doubtless well-intentioned.” The delegates, he said, “had been warned that if they voted for a boycott, the absurd abortive negotiations above referred to, now under way, to permit German Jews to be taken out of Germany, would be terminated. I wish they were. The sooner the better. Whilst I am unwilling to oppose them or any other movement that will put our helpless brethren out of their present misery, I am wondering whether the wellintentioned gentlemen who are championing this program realize its peril.

“First,” he declared, “it involves an abject surrender of the principle for which we are fighting and shall continue to fight to the bitter end and until Hitlerism and the hatred, bigotry and savagery for which it stands are obliterated from the face of the earth.

“Second, it is playing into the hands of the enemy and destroying the only opportunity that will ever come to us to liberate their victims by bringing about the certain economic downfall of the Hitler regime through the boycott, which I feel sure can be accomplished within six or twelve months, if vigorously prosecuted, and

“Third. Lastly and most important, let us consider what is going to be the effect upon anti-Semitism, anti-Catholicism and the many other forms of racial and religious bigotry and fanaticism throughout the world of such a contemptible surrender to the most evil forces ever aroused in the most violent form in which a recognized Government has ever dared assert itself within a thousand years.

“It would be a disaster almost equal in its proportions to the one we are now combatting,” he declared. “It is simply inconceivable that we should ever become parties to such an unholy compact.”


Appealing to the B’nai B’rith to adopt the boycott, Mr. Untermyer declared that “your representatives in the East, doubtless with the best intentions, made a grave mistake in aligning you with the American Jewish Committee in opposing the promotion of the boycott, which is the only weapon available to the Jews and non-Jews of the world against the incredibly barbarous campaign of extermination. You are thereby unwittingly denying to your stricken brethren in Germany what I shall try to demonstrate to you is our only hope of effective relief,” he pointed out.

“The fact that they were joined, assisted and supported by your great organization in this unfortunate venture would lend authority; but the leadership and support of the American Jewish Committee, in and of itself, means little. These gentlemen,” he asserted, “are a self-appointed, self-perpetuating body who represent no constitutents other than themselves. Unlike your organization, they have no specific mandate from any section of the Jewish people and are therefore accountable to no one for their self-appointed task.

He said that the American Jewish Congress had “seen the error of its ways and has had the courage to break away from its unfortunate alliance with the American Jewish Committee” to join the boycott ranks.

He paid tribute to the work of the American Jewish Committee in behalf of the Jews of the world and expressed admiration for “some of their plans to relieve the present

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