Nothing reflects the true condition of any people as clearly as its press. The vitality of a race or movement will be brilliantly echoed in the things they like to read.
Similarly a chaotic, timid, undisciplined point of view will be demonstrated in a press largely dignified by its paucity of ideas.
Without being able to read Yiddish, I rather suspect that the Yiddish press shows a considerable power and vibrancy which the Anglo-Jewish press denies itself.
JUDGES BY READERS
I am led to believe this because of the very considerable circulations of these newspapers and the fact that it is not uncommon to see bearded gentlemen absorbed in reading them on the street cars. Evidently these papers represent something in tenacity and bold treatment which finds its counter-part in the souls of its readers.
The English language press on the other hand, read by a generation which has had the advantage of freedom, economic liberation, and education, should reflect a high level of Jewish purposefulness, intelligence and creative spirit. If these qualities existed among their readers it would be difficult to show any other spirit in the publications serving them.
WHAT IT WANTS
When after looking through a long list of Anglo-Jewish periodicals I find that each one is apt to set a new low in staleness, spinelessness and general inadequacy of idea, it seems entirely probable that the assimilationist, weak-kneed, temporizing bulk of American Jewry is getting exactly what it wants.
If a man is dominated by a futile escapist psychology, it is highly improbable that anything but platitudes and masochism will appeal to him.
How is it possible to believe that these people have hopes and dreams, convictions, courage and a design for the future when everything that is done and said for them exists on the basis of innocuous platitudes? It seems that the attitude is that it is better not to organize even the mind for any purpose since the more weakly disorganized they are the better they can hide.
MERELY WEAK LIE
Wherever a condition cannot be transformed into something purely inane, it is recreated so that in effect it becomes merely a weak lie.
Thus we read in the American-Jewish press long-winded statements about how Booth Tarkington and others say that prejudice is on the wane, despite the fact that the opposite is strictly true. You can find the usual folderol about the unparalleled development of Palestine, although Palestine at the present moment only admits a few thousand Jews and is a first-class sinkhole for Jewish money for English and Arab advantage.
FIGHT ON ENGLAND
If these papers, instead of helping Jews delude themselves, would add another idea besides serving as advertising mediums, they might put up a creative fight to mass the Jews against our unquestionable opponent, England. We must have Palestine but we are not getting it, and all the foolish mouthings which are being uttered in regard to it and “its unparalleled development” will ultimately end in a tragedy which will sever the Jewish soul from its moorings. In effect, all these moon-eyed orators, in transforming the fact into their own dream wish, are actually helping to sabotage the Jewish hope for the future.
With England bending every effort to create a situation where the Jewish state in Palestine will be effectively stopped, the idea of the Jewish press in perpetuating the legends that Palestine is ours and the British our friends, is little less than legerdemain. This whole sleight-of-hand performance might be amusing if it were not so close to home. It is an indication of something woefully sad and wanting in the Jewish mind and soul.
IN “SPIRITUAL VACUUM”
If the Jewish people will get out of the spiritual vacuum they are in, possibly instead of reading about drives for this and that, banquets for the purpose of that and this, messianic wish fulfillments and other weakling sops to self-delusion, we might see a strong, creative spirit. We might see an active campaign for united Jewry; for a reconstructed, brave Jewish soul; for action against our unquestioned opponent, England; and for courage and intelligence and dignity, which the Jewish mass structure now badly lacks.
There are probably many people in existence who still believe that it isn’t nice of me to tell the truth in this matter. However, I never claimed that the truth was necessarily nice.