In answer to its inquiry concerning the attitude of American Jewry towards the fight against the Ku Klux Klan, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency has received the following statements.
Rev. Dr. H. Pereira Mendes, Minister Emeritus of the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation of New York, says:
“Where discords exist, it is more divine to seek to remove the cause than to use violence.
“When efforts to remove the cause have been patiently tried, and have failed, and public morality and public well-being have their by become endangered, then it is time to use violent methods, vided the Courts have been invoked and have failed to contest.
“The popular idea of the Ku Klux Klan is a secret society, weaning masks, branding, injuring, even slaying Catholics and Jews, because Catholics and Jews are a menace to American institutions and to the very existence of America.
“The more divine way to meet this Klan is to remove the apprehensions by showing and proving that the apprehensions are haseless.
“In what way are Catholics a menace to America, to the United States?
“Is it because they are getting powerful here and therefore when they shall be sufficientlypowerful, we shall have the Pope claiming temporal power and we shall have the Inquisition, with its cruelties, crimes and curses, re-introduced?
“If the matter is so serious, if there be the slightest ground to imagine such a folly and such a horror, why not memorialise our Government to obtain a categorical denial from the Pope himself, personally and officially, and from his College of Cardinals?
“If there be the slightest hesitation in their pronouncing and publishing such denial, then, and then only, is it time to threaten; and further if our Government prove unable to bring the Catholics to reason, then will it be time, wither with or without our cousins, the English, to take repressive steps. And the real Catholics, the better class of Catholics, will help to keep Church and State separate.
“As for Ku Klux Klan opposition to Jews, the answer is Jesus was a Jew.
“That there are some Jews who do not live up to the ideals of conduct which Moses, Micah, Amos, Jesus and other Jews held up, is true.
“But do all Protestants live up to the ideals of Christianity?
“The recent oil-scandals in Washington should disgust Ku-Kluxer, Catholic and Jew alike. Those scandals have smirched the American name, the American flag, the American world-honor as has never occurred before in all American history.
“There was not, and is not, a single Jew mixed up in those scandals!
“Take any newspaper of any State in the Union, of any day, and read the list of people charged with this, that or the other crime.
“Are there no Protestants or Catholics among them? But who is so silly as to condemn all Christians because some Christians sin?
“If the Ku-Klux leaders refuse to study, and study deeply, these phases of human thought, and still brand, torture, injure and murder, then since they menace public welfare, the State must interfere and Protestants and Catholics and Jews, as good American citizens, must at all costs, support Law and Order as interpreted by the State. And they must do so, whole-heartedly.
“But to Ku-Kluxer and to anti-Ku-Kluxer I would say ‘Search out and calmly; judge first before you act; let the fear of God, reverence for Kim, away your soul; and let Love, even His Love, fill your heart, while you judge and after you judge.’
“God Himself refrained from punishing the vileness of a Sodom and a Gomorrah until He examined for Himself.
“As for the disguising, masking, etc. the Ku-Kluxers should not conceal themselves. They should have the courage of their opinions. They are Americans.”
David A. Brown of Detroit declares on the same subject:
“Your question with reference to the Jews participating openly in the fight against the Ku Klux Klan strikes me as one that naturally answers itself. If we are to participate at all, we certainly must do so openly; otherwise we would be as guilty as the Ku Klux Klan is itself.
“I have felt right along that the agitation of the Ku Klux Klan is one that should interest all of American citizenship. It is not only that this organization has taken a negative attitude to the Jew, the Catholic and the Negro, but the whole has is for their organization is so un-American that it becomes not only the problem of any group, but the problem of all right-thinking citizens who are vitally interested in preserving the traditions of this country.
“Of course the Jews should participate, protesting against the activities of this organization, not merely as Jews, but as citizens of this country.”
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.