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“u.s. Jews Will Not Be Blackmailed,” American Jewish Congress Replies to Lindbergh

The Governing Council of the American Jewish Congress in a Rosh Hashanah message addressed to American Jews expressing “confident hope that the day of deliverance from Hitler is not far off,” took the occasion to inform Charles A. Lindbergh that “American Jews will neither be bribed nor blackmailed into renouncing their just and equal status as citizens of the United States” and that they intend “to stand four-square for the defense of the American way of life, whatever the consequences with which Mr. Lindbergh dares to threaten them.”

The message, made public in behalf of the American Jewish Congress by its President, Dr. Stephen S. Wise, terms the Lindbergh Des Moines speech as “Hitlerlike if not Hitler-instigated.” Addressing itself “to our fellow-Americans of all faiths,” the message points out “that Jews have no view or attitude in relation to foreign affairs that is not dictated solely by American interests.”

“As Americans, Jews have naturally differed in attitude or viewpoint in relation to the war,” says the message. “Far from agitating for war, however, Jewish groups have, since the beginning of Hitler’s attack not only on them but on all religion and on humanity itself, exerted the utmost restraint.” They had hoped together with all peace-loving citizens that Hitler’s attack upon human freedom might be ended “without the involvement of this country in war.” However, American Jews believe, in common with the majority of all Americans,” that American freedom is threatened, that the democratic way of life is menaced. Not because Jews were the earliest victims, but because we fear that our country may become the last victim, we have instinctively ranged ourselves for the most part, though far from uniformly, with vast numbers of our fellow-Americans,” asserts the American Jewish Congress. “These without fear affirm that the battle for freedom, though it lead to death and war’s horrors, is better than life under enslavement, which is the fate of the Nazi victims.”

“Even if the Lindbergh threat were as real as it is false, ” the American Jewish Congress says, “we are prepared to take every risk, together with all other Americans to whom life without liberty is death.” The statement affirms that American Jews, “together with the overwhelming majority of fellow-citizens of every race and creed, join with the President and the Congress of the United States in the determination that Hitlerism shall not dominate the earth and that freedom shall not perish from the earth through the victory of Nazi arms.”

Deep satisfaction is expressed with the spontaneous repudiation by Christian leaders and the press throughout the country of Lindbergh’s allegations which are termed a “typically Nazi attempt at discrimination and intimidation against one group of Americans.” Those who repudiated Lindbergh understand that “the way to destroy our country is to divide it, to set up group against group, race against race, faith against faith and thus make impossible the unified and impregnable defense of American Democracy and its ideals,” says the American Jewish Congress. “American Jews,” the message affirms, “will count no sacrifices too great on behalf of our country’s security, Israel’s honor and peace through justice and freedom for all the sons of men.”

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