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The Reader’s Forum

(The editors reserve the right to excerpt all letters exceeding 500 words in length. All letters must bear the name and address of the writer, although not necessarily for publication.)

To the Editor, Jewish Daily Bulletin:

In the September issue of The New York Times, there appears an interview with Mr. Samuel Untermyer, President of the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League to Champion Human Rights, in which he challenged the Secretary of State Cordell Hull’s “ill-considered and short-sighted opinion on the economic soundness or unsoundness of the boycott.” He goes on to say: “It is not the first time that mild-mannered gentleman has unwisely surrendered to the pressure of the propagandist who is masquerading as an Ambassador.” Since the appearance of this interview, Mr. Untermyer has presented an official protest to the Secretary of State upon the subject of the latter’s attitude toward the boycott.

It appears to me that Mr. Untermyer does the Secretary of State an injustice, particularly when one recalls that Mr. Hull in an official statement to the German government stated its policy did not have the approval of many of the nations of the world. In the face of such an official representation of the policy of the State Department, it is a most extraordinary thing to accuse Mr. Hull of having “surrendered to the pressure of the propagandist who is masquerading as an Ambassador.”

It is unfortunate that one who has boycotted the Jewish religion all of his life, should attempt to exploit the sufferings of his people in the interest of his own undisguised and exaggerated passion for publicity. His attempt to mass the Jews in a blocade of the German people, and in an economic war against the Nazis, does not have the support of many religiously-minded in Israel. His constant proclamation from the housetops that the American people should boycott the Nazis, is an undemocratic and un-American attempt to trespass upon the liberty of the individual. It is the right of the individual to boycott German commodities, and that right is being wisely, quietly and dignifiedly used by a great many people who thus silently protest against the insane policies of the Nazi government, but that individual is not attempting to mass the American people into such a boycott, nor is he exerting pressure upon the liberty of other individuals or of commercial organizations. It is his belief, in consonance with the dictates of the Jewish religion, that if we shall pray for and assist with dignity and with peaceful methods, in the elimination of wrong, the wrongdoer will quite naturally disappear. It is high time that those who believe in the religion of Israel should protest against the publicity-seeking of the boycotter who all his life-long has boycotted the Jewish religion, and who if he were not a stranger to the history of Jewish thinking, would be much more interested in its dignity, than he apparently is in his own self-dramatization.

Rabbi Louis Wolsey Philadelphia.

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