CINCINNATI (Aug. 14)
A vicious anti-Semitic hoax was brought to light by the Jewish Community Relations Committee here after the influential daily newspaper, The Cincinnati Enquirer unwittingly reprinted the hoax which is obviously geared for use by haters of Jews, Negroes and all who believe in racial and religious equality.
As a result of the facts brought out by the JCRC, the Cincinnati Enquirer published an editorial retraction, expressing its regret for “making use of an erroneous piece of information.” The hoax consists of a statement purportedly printed in a book, allegedly published in 1912, entitled “A Racial Program for the Twentieth Century.” The author of the book was said to have been “an English Communist, Israel Cohen.”
The Enquirer here has now summarized its retraction in an editorial which it entitled “No Book, No Author.” The non-existent “book” by the fictitious Israel Cohen had allegedly included these quotations:
“We must realize our party’s most powerful weapon is racial tension. In America, we will aim for a subtle victory. While inflaming the Negro minority against the whites, we will endeavor to instill in the whites a guilt complex for their exploitation of the Negroes, and begin a process which will deliver America to our cause.”
Declaring the very existence of the book, its alleged author, and the quotation, “a piece of journalistic fakery,” the JCRC said “the hoax was clearly calculated to revive the old ‘Communist-Jewish plot’ libel, long used by enemies of American democracy.”
HOAX TRACED BY ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE AND WASHINGTON NEWSPAPER
A history of the development of the hoax, and of efforts to perpetuate it, was developed by the JCRC, many of the facts having been obtained from The Washington Star which had printed the story in March, 1957 — and retracted the report, calling it “a hoax,” nearly a year later. The Star had based its retraction on its own extensive research, after the fake report had been analyzed by Herman Edelsberg, director of the Washington office of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.
Mr. Edelsberg pointed out that:
1) There is no record of a Communist leader, philosopher or pamphleteer by the name of Israel Cohen, in England or elsewhere; 2) No book or pamphlet entitled “A Racial Program for the Twentieth Century” is known to the Library of Congress, the British Museum or the National Union Catalogue which summarizes the holdings of 800 libraries in the United States; 3) No United States Executive or Congressional agency concerned with combating Communis m, all of which have extensive biographical and bibliographic data, have a record of an alleged Communist writer known as Israel Cohen; 4) The term “Communist Party” could not have been used by any Communist writer in 1912, since the term was not coined until 1917, when it was first used by the founder of the Russian Communist Party, Nicolai Lenin.
The Washington Star did establish, by contacting Israel Cohen, a well-known Anglo-Jewish writer living in London, that the real Mr. Cohen had never written such a book. The real Israel Cohen was general secretary of the World Zionist Organization from 1922 to 1939, and is the author of at least two dozen books, not one of which deals with Communism. Among Mr. Cohen’s works are a history of Zionism, travel books, and books dealing with contemporary Jewish affairs based on his broad experiences in Jewish work dating back to 1909, when he was secretary of the British Zionist Federation:
The Washington Star stated editorially, after tracing the hoax: “Certainly one innocent victim of this fraud has been Israel Cohen, of London, a journalist and writer of excellent reputation, whose name seems to have been gratuitously exploited as part of the fabrication.”
HOAX WAS INSERTED IN CONGRESSIONAL RECORD BY MISSISSIPPI CONGRESSMAN
According to the JCRC and The Washington Star, the hoax was first made public in a letter to the Star by R. A. Hester, then chairman of the Montgomery County Chapter of the Maryland Petition Committee, Ine. Later, the Hester letter was inserted in the Congressional Record by Rep. Thomas Abernethy, of Mississippi. When the Star asked Mr. Hester to give the source of the alleged quotation, the newspaper reported, Mr. Hester “said he had read it in some newspaper, but could not remember which one.”