Jewish Leaders Indignant at Relegation to Letter Column of Protest Against O’donnell
Menu JTA Search

Jewish Leaders Indignant at Relegation to Letter Column of Protest Against O’donnell

Download PDF for this date

Jewish leaders today expressed indignation at the fact that the New York Daily News relegated their protest against an anti-Semitic column by the News’ Washington columnist, John O’Donnell, to its letter column, instead of placing it in as prominent a position as the offending column. It was pointed out that since O’Donnell’s column does not appear on Saturdays, the letter could have been run in his regular spot.

The letter, which was signed by the following heads of leading Jewish organizations, Joseph M. Proskauer, President American Jewish Committee; Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, President American Jewish Congress; Henry Monsky, President B’nai B’rith; Adolph Held, Chairman Jewish Labor Committee; Archie Greenberg, National Commander Jewish War Veterans of the U.S., and Frank L.Weil, President National Jewish Welfare Board, read as follows:

“In the Daily News of Oct. 3 there appeared a column by John O’Donnell. The content of this column was as flagrantly anti-Semitic as anything which has ever appeared in a metropolitan newspaper.

“Proceeding upon a totally false premise, Mr. O’Donnell attempts to trace a sinister pattern of events leading to the recent action on Gen. Patton by his superior, Gen. Eisenhower, Mr. O’Donnell attempts to demonstrate that this was the result of Jewish efforts provoked by the “slapping” by Gen. Patton of an American soldier in a hospital in Sicily. To lend plausibility to his fantastic conclusion, Mr. O’Donnell alleges that the victim of the slapping was of Jewish descent and that this was what prompted several prominent American Jews to work secretly toward the “disgracing” of Gen. Patton. These are the facts: Carl Herman Kuhl, the slapped soldier, is not Jewish. His family belongs to the Christian Church of the Nazarene in Mishawaka, Ind.

“No other evidence of the irresponsibility of Mr. O’Donnell’s statements should be required. You are undoubtedly aware that at the time of this writing Mr. Morgenthau and Mr. Niles, mentioned by Mr. O’Donnell, have already issued public statements characterizing his charges as “wholly untrue.” The entire content of Mr. O’Donnell’s column is reminiscent of the bigotry which marked the propaganda of Hitler’s Reich, an enemy whom the United Nations defeated and against whom all Americans were aligned in common purpose, regardless of race, creed, or color.

“As the publisher of a newspaper with a circulation of more than 2,000,000, you are undoubtedly aware of the grave responsibility that is yours in respect to the formation of public attitudes. We are informing you of the facts, which obviously you did not previously ascertain, in order that the public may be correctly informed. The necessity for the avoidance of false or sinister propaganda in order to preserve the foundation and the traditions of our democracy must be apparent to you.

“We therefore request that you print this letter in the same prominent position in your newspaper in which you featured Mr. O’Donnell’s column.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund