Rev. James W. Fifield Jr., minister of the First Congregational Church and leader of “Spiritual Mobilization,” was severely criticized here for a radio broadcast in which he stated “it was a matter of historical record that Benjamin Franklin denounced the Jews at the Constitutional Convention in 1787.”
A demand that he should publicly apologize for spreading anti-Jewish fraud was addressed to Rev. Fifield by I. Benjamin, Los Angeles member of the national commission of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith. “Anyone professing a familiarity with America and its history would know, from the most cursory examination of the public record of Benjamin Franklin, that this speech could not be genuine,” Mr. Benjamin said.
Expressing “terrible shock” that Rev. Fifield could give credence to a proved forgery, the Anti-Defamation League leader called his attention to articles and statements by the Saturday Evening Post, the Franklin Institute, and Liberty magazine, all of which carefully documented the fact that this alleged “speech” by Benjamin Franklin was originally made up in its entirety to serve anti-Semitic purposes. The Post termed it “a stupid lie” and its authors “clumsy forgers.” It was Nazi Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels who invented this “speech” as part of his campaign against the Jews.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.