Boston (Feb. 8)
The charge that Gen. Giraud “is by no means pro-Semitic” and that “the character of the Jewish problem in North Africa has been greatly exaggerated by anti-Semitic interests” is made by the Algiers correspondent of the Christian Science Monitor in a cable to that newspaper passed by the censors in Algeria. The correspondent insists that Gen. Giraud told journalists that the Jewish problem in North Africa was “his and France’s affair.”
(Robert Murphy and Harold Macmillan, American and British Ministers in North Africa, yesterday told correspondents at Allied Headquarters that they back the recent actions of Gen. Giraud as moves in “the right direction.” Mr. Murphy predicted “more progress” in the solution of the Jewish question and emphasized that Gen. Giraud must move slowly because of the complexities of the situation.)
“The question of the Jews,” the Christian Science Monitor correspondent, R. Maillard Stead, reports, “is a serious one. According to an expert whose life work has been intimately connected with the administration of the native population – comprising about 90 percent of the entire community – the character of the Jewish problem here has been greatly exaggerated by anti-Semitic interests. But it has wide ramifications.
MAJORITY OF ARABS IN NORTH AFRICA ARE NOT AGAINST JEWS
“The worst enemies of the Jews are not the general run of Arabs and Barbers who comprise the vast majority of the population of North Africa but rich Arabs and French colonists whose enmity to the Jews is due to financial considerations,” the correspondent writes. “There are many Jews among the refugees in the European segment of North Africa’s population and they are assailed mainly on the same grounds. Their name is usually mentioned in the same breath as Freemasons who are anathema to the Roman Catholic Church to which Marshal Petain gave devoted allegiance.
“General Giraud himself is by no means pro-Semitic,” he continues. “War correspondents who saw him recently found the General very touchy on this question. He described the Jewish problem as his and France’s affair and, when it was pointed out that the rest of the world was very interested too, replied tartly, ‘It is not the business of the rest of the world.’ General Giraud did say later, however, that property rights lost by the Jews are to be restored and their children to be admitted into schools here without discrimination.
“The matter of the vote for the Jews is unsettled – at least publicly – and this is a tricky problem with specific local difficulties because the Arabs don’t have citizenship rights and are subjects without the vote unless they elect to forfeit Islamic religion, customs, and ties. Jews here were given the vote by the French Jewish statesman Cremieux in 1875, but it was removed by Marshal Petain in 1940. Only about 2,000 Arabs have exchanged Islam for the French vote, but the Arabs are very jealous about the Jews having it if they themselves do not.”