Tale of a Polish Slogan

Here in Poland we have a party, the members of which are known as Endeks. The Endeks (Polish Hitlerites) are always busy considering the so-called “Jewish question” and virtually jump out of their skins to find means of attacking the country’s harmless Jewish population, which they look upon as a thorn in their flesh.

Day after day these Polish anti-Semites make new discoveries concerning the “danger threatening Poland” from the Jewish elements. Day in and day out they find new slogans to use in inciting the public against the Jews. And frequently they are not content with mere incitement but translate their hatred into action.

PAY LITTLE ATTENTION TO MANY ‘SOLUTIONS’

We Polish Jews have gradually managed to become so accustomed to all the “views” and “solutions of the Jewish question” presented by the Polish disciples of the racial theory that they no longer have any effect upon us and we pay little attention to then. Nor would we discuss the Polish anti-Semites and their new agitation today. were it not that the new agitation is extremely interesting and most symptomatic of present conditions in Poland.

During the last few days the Polish anti-Semites have begun a new series of attacks under a slogan which sounds like a living paradox. It is: “Jewish Palestine —A Threat to Poland.” In other words, the Jews of Poland must not be permitted to leave for Palestine, because in so doing they create a new threat to Poland.

SLOGAN CHANGED ALMOST OVERNIGHT

It seems that it was only yesterday or the day before that the most popular slogan among the Polish anti-Semites, as among anti-Semites everywhere, was: “To Palestine with the Jews!” Somehow or other this appeared to be a strangely violent curse-word in the anti-Semitic baggage. The motto could be heard from the lips of both the simple anti-Semitically minded person and the unconsciously anti-Semitic hooligan when he attacked a Jewish pedestrian on a dark street.

This slogan, “To Palestine with the Jews!” went like a red streak through all the anti-Semitic press and its wealth of literature. But apparently times have changed radically. New winds have begun to blow and new tunes made their appearance in anti-Semitic circles when these looked about them and saw that what they had considered an expression of abuse had become with the Jews—and particularly with the Polish Jews—the expression of a very strong desire. So they have seen themselves compelled to give it up as an anti-Semitic motto.

FEELS SITUATION IS LAUGHABLE

The fact that the Jews were really beginning to go to Palestine impelled the Endeks to turn their coats inside out, withdraw the slogan “To Palestine with the Jews!” and come out with the exactly opposite one of “The Jews must not be permitted to go to Palestine!”

As a matter of fact, the matter should be treated in a humorous, satirical manner. For does not such an attitude on the part of the stubborn enemies of the Jews arouse laughter? For years they have been writing “Jews, go to Palestine!” Now suddenly they have begun to shout “We must not let the Jews go to Palestine,” and want them to remain in the country. But the paradoxical phenomenon also has a serious phase and therefore we shall say a few serious words about it.

EXPLANATION FOR SHIFT UNSATISFACTORY

Certain Polish circles have recently begun to regard the steadily growing exodus of Polish Jews to Palestine with disfavor, an exodus which will, incidentally, continue to increase in magnitude and importance, along with the growth of emigration possibilities. When persons in these circles are asked the reason for their dissatisfaction, and why when they argue that there are too many Jews in the country, and when there is a crisis in the land, they have suddenly changed their attitude, they give a most unsatisfactory answer.

It is impossible to obtain a clear reply from these people. They stutter, and make wry faces, and there is no disputing such “telling arguments.”

PAPER ALSO FAILS TO CLEAR ISSUE

In the Gazetta Warszawska, too, the official organ of the Polish anti-Semites and a sort of Polish Voelkischer Beobachter with a long tradition behind it of incitement against the Jews, it is difficult to find any tangible or logical argument which might give foundation or to explain the dissatisfaction with Jewish emigration to Palestine. Indeed, it is difficult to find logic in any of the hysterical anti-Semitic articles which fill the newspapers of the little Polish Hitlers every day. All my efforts to find objective reasoning are in vain. The anti-Semitic publicists have but one argument and its lack of logic and coherence is patent to all.

NO SOLUTION TO PROBLEM, IS THEIR CONTENTION

According to the anti-Jewish spokesmen, their chief argument against Jewish emigration to Palestine is that such emigration is not likely to solve the Jewish question in Poland, since there is no probability that it will free Poland completely of its Jewish population.

“Instead of bringing us good,” they complain, “the Jewish emigration movement to Palestine is doing us much harm. It is not freeing us of the Jews, while at the same time it is building up a strong well-organized and consolidated Jewish center, which has an encouraging and invigorating effect upon the Jewish community of Poland.” And in order that these may not be empty words, they employ statisticians. They dig up figures which show, according to their interpretation, that the natural increase of the Jews in Poland is greater than the number of emigrants to Palestine. From these figures they draw the following conclusions:

CONCLUSIONS DRAWN FROM STATISTICS

The Polish population has no reason to applaud the growth of the population in Palestine through the influx of Polish Jews. Therefore the cry should no longer be, “To Palestine with the Jews!” The cry should now become: “Jews, don’t go to Palestine!”

The natural reaction of every serious reader of the objections cited above might well be as follows:

Indeed, if the increase among Polish Jews is so great, it is a good thing that the number of Jews going to Palestine is large, so that at least the number of Jews remaining in the country is not increased, and in time may, indeed, gradually even decrease.

AIM THEIR SLOGANS AT THE CREDULOUS

It is difficult to believe that the anti-Semitic ringleaders do not see the simple and elementary truth in this. But as always, they aim their arguments at their more lightheaded and more credulous readers, who accept all the anti-Semitic slogans and cries quite readily.

Whatever the case may be, the new line of attack of the Polish anti-Semites is symptomatic of conditions and relationships in Poland today. The phenomenon proves clearly and convincingly how strongly the urge to go to Palestine has taken hold of Polish Jewry—to the extent that it is even proving disconcerting to our dear anti-Semites and is forcing them to sacrifice the old slogan, always so popular and infectious, which has been the stock cry of anti-Semites all over the world: “To Palestine with the Jews!”

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