NEW YORK (Sep. 11)
The extension of its program of scientific research and experiment in the extent and nature of anti-Semitism in America, study of the measures that are being applied to combat at and new experimentation with tests for the effectiveness of these measures was announced today by Judge Joseph Mr. Preskauer, president of the American Jewish Committee, in making public the appointment of Dr. Max Harkheimer, directer of the Institute of Social Research at Columbia. University, as Research Consultant in Domestic Defense for the American Jewish Committee.
“One of the world’s outstanding social scientists,” said Judge Preskauer, Dr. Horkheimer and a special staff of sociologists, psychiatrists, political scientists and economists will seek to develop a workable hypothesis for anti-Semitism upon which can be built a civic protective program for American Jewry that will be scientifically valid and the basis for a more effective and psychologically sound weekday program for our practical public relations experts. This procedure.” Judge Proskauer pointed out, “is urgently needed in the problem of inter-group relations just as so-called ‘scientific charity’ was needed thirty or forty years ago to make the profession of social service a successor to the good intentions of the Lady Bountiful of that era.”
Dr. Horkheimer and some of his associates from the Institute of Social Research were among the group of twenty-five scholars who participated last spring in a Conference on Research in the field of Anti-Semitism sponsored by the American Jewish Committee. It was on the basis of the findings of this group–which included Dr. Gordon Allport, professor of psychology at Harvard; Dr. Mark A. May, director of the institute of Human Relations, Tale University–that the American Jewish Committee decided to extend its program in the field of scientific research on anti-Semitism. This work–its experiments, tests and surveys–Judge Preskauer announced, will be conducted by Dr. Horkheimer and his associates under the supervision of Dr. John Slawson, executive vice-president of the American Jewish Committee. Dr. Horkheimer cures to the American Jewish Committee from a long and successful career as a social philosopher in the universities of Europe and the United States.
ABSENCE OF SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY LEADS TO COMPLACENCY. DR. SLAWSON SAYS
In supplementing Judge Prasimmer’s announcement of the appointment of Dr. Horkheimer to the staff of the American Jewish Committee, Dr. Slawson said,
“It should be clearly understood that the scientific approach to the problem of anti-Semitism is supplementary to and not a substitute for techniques presently usually neither is it a substitution for common sense or experience. We are demitting with a problem of sickness in the area of group relations on the part of the American public. The furtherance of inter-group relations will be facilitated by the employment of our developing knowledge of individual and group reactions, of our knowledge of our limitations, and of our ability to see crystal clear objectives. Dr Inhering anti-Semitism, the Nazis have used pseudo science, through its Institute for the Study of the Jewish Problem whereas we, on the other band, have failed to moralize the scientific resources at our disposal to strengthen and preserve the forces of good and to counteract the forces of aril. Our scientific approach carries with it three major objectives.
I, Investigation of the extent and special nature of anti-Semitism in American, This involves the supplementation of the poll technique with intensive psychological investigation of the subconscious of individuals and groups.
“2.-Experimentation with tests for evaluating the effectiveness of current techniques for combatting anti-Semitism
“3.-Study of the measures that are today being applied to combat anti-Semitism with a view towards enhancing their effectiveness. This includes the testing of experimental and demonstration activities on more intensive levels than now reached by our public relations technicians.
“It is quite evident that a general strategy needs to be mapped out for defense activities of American Jewry. It is a well-known truth that in no field of social pathology–and anti-Semitism must be viewed as a pathological aberration–can progress be made without an all-inclusive strategy and without mapping out specific objectives. It is because the absence of scientific inquiry tends to lead to complacency and smugness, and tends to close minds to new developments and new methods, that we have asked Dr. Horkheimer and his associates to join the American Jewish Committee.
“Although it is easier to debate and continue our work on the basis of intuition and one’s prejudices than to engage in scientific research that might possibly prove the error of one’s past ways, we feel that the American Jewish community in the grave situation it faces deserves no less than that the best minds in America be assigned to the work of preserving the democratic way in America which is threatened by the cause of anti-Semitism that so thoroughly destroyed the last vestiges of decency in Germany.
“We are hopeful also that we will be able to create a profession skilled in techniques and procedures for the promotion of positive inter-group relations. From these research projects and scientific inquiry, material will be evolved that will constitute the content by means of which persons so skilled can be trained. This has happened in the field of social work and in other areas of human relations; it will similarly be a development in the field of Jewish civic protection. There must be a correlation between the public relations worker who has been so important in our past defense activities, and that of the social scientist. The scientist must be assigned the function of diagnosis and general planning, and the public relations man must continue to carry on his shoulders the practical responsibility for executing and administering the therapeutic treatment recommended by the social scientist.”