London (Dec. 9)
The anti-alien agitation today in England, whatever it may accomplish, is di##ed not against aliens as such but quite unashamedly against Jews, and not only those Jews who are actually aliens. I do not think the anti-alien crowd who are conducting this agitation are powerful enough to achieve anything of the kind they would desire. But they are decidedly noisy and they make no bones about their intentions. Alien and Jew are synonymous terms with them. Whitechapel and the Ghetto are in every second sentence of theirs.
When the deputation from the National Citizens’ ##ion headed by Lord Askwith visited the Home Secretary, Sir William Joynson-Hicks, the one man in the new Conservative Government who may be taken as being in agreement with the anti-alien agitators, and the Minister, sobered by the responsibilities of office, produced figures to show that the number of aliens in England did not justify try more drastic regulations than those already in force, the objection was raised that the figures do not show the real number of aliens in the country. The inference was plain. Alien and Jews is to the objectors one and the same thing-only those technically aliens are registered, they complain. But there are other Jews in the country, Jews who are naturalized British subjects, native-born British subjects, British-born subjects of the second, third and fourth generations, who are all, to them, aliens, because they are Jews. These are, of course, not registered as aliens and consequently, they say, the then figures to them do not give the real numbers of aliens in the country.
That great newspaper, the “Times,” talks of the descendants of the East European Jewish immigrants-their descendants, not the immigrants themselves-being still aliens, even after thirty years. “Mixed marriages,” it writes, “between orthodox Jews and Gentiles are forbidden. These people remain an alien element in our land.”
Another paper tells us outright that what it complains of “are the aliens already here. We are not concerned when they came. Some have been here for years. There are parts of London where the English population is outnumbered by the foreign population, which is mostly Jewish.”
Not an irresponsible nobody, but one of the greatest living mental authorities, Dr. Bulkeley Hyslop, for twenty years head physician at the Bethlem Royal Hospital for the Insane, writes of us as “degenerates who are literally drinking the life-blood of the British people.”
And that fine thinker and scholar, Dean Inge, asks: “How long shall we tolerate constantly spreading Ghettos in London, the breathing places for the offscourings of humanity?”
“The offscourings of humanity,” “degenerates drinking the life-blood of the British people” – if we are such, why then, we are to be exterminated-the pogromists of Russia and Hungary are benefactors of humanity, and the anti-alien agitators here who do not likewise are weak and pitiful fools who only talk and do not do the deeds to which their talk should lead, as day to night.
To hold such opinions and to rest content with writing articles in the press and going as deputations to cautious slow-speaking Ministers-I am ashamed of such faint-hearted folk.
For what is that they are told by their Ministers in reply to their representations? That “there are only 272,862 aliens in the country, less than there were in 1923, and in 1922.” The deputation know that this answer is all wrong. What they object to are not the 50,000 Americans registered as permanently resident aliens in London alone, not the 50,000 or so more Americans registered as aliens te##nporarily in London on business, nor the many the usands ## of Frenchmen and Italians and other regist####ens in the country. They do not object to the ## merous colored natives from the British colorless who are settled here and are good British subjects. They are making it quite clear that their objection is solely to the Jews, alien or British. What ## can phrases like “Britain’s Ghetto” or “English##an or Jew?”mean? Or “a race of aliens whose religion, temperament and habits are foreign to our own”?
I have no love for unmeaning words in regard to the relations between men, words like culture and liber##lism and enlightenment. I do not believe it possible or advisable to take the clash and conflict out of our lives and make them colorless with a benevolent neutrality. I can understand certain citizens not liking some of their fellow-citizens because they are Jews. I am no merger myself. And I have no particular desire to associate with people I do not like. But for some of the inhabitants of a country not to care to associate with their Jewish fellow-citizens in their private lives, and for them to set up a cry as it they were the whole country, taking the line that Jews are alie##s, those are two entirely different things. Citizenship and the fact that a citizen is a Jew are matters altogether unrelated. By English common law nationality depends on the place of birth. Aliens are those born in a land not subject to the Sovereign of this country.
Of course, it is well not to exaggerate the numbers or the power of these anti-alien, anti-Jew agitators. And in the very height of their agitation we have the Canon of York Cathedral, Rev. Chancellor Aust##, reminding us that Jews were in England before the English. “We cannot say for certain when Jews first set foot in Britain. Some may have landed with the Phoenicians or in the navy of Solomon that traded to Tarshish. But Caesar Augustus issued an edict in favor of Jews in England in the seventeenth year of his reign. And it is fairly certain that there were Jewish soldiers in the Roman Army of Occupation. The first mention of Jews in our annals appears in Bede’s Ecclesiastical History. Therein he tells us that the native priests once in seven years concurred with the Jews in ##lebrating Easter. This accounts for the Eclict published by our Archbishop Egbert in 740, which for ##ade Christians being present at any of the Jewish ##casts; a clear proof at the time of the Amglo-Saxot Heptarchy, that Jews were celebrating their fe##ts according to their law, and further, living peaceably with their Christian neighbors. King Willi## Rufus, the son of William the Conqueror, was so impressed with the consistent life of the Jews that he summoned in London a convention of Christian Bishops and Jewish Rabbis to discuss the evidence of their creeds, and swore that he would embrace Judaism if the Jews got the better of the dispute. Each side claimed the victory. The influence of the Jews over Rufus throughout his life was so great that he appointed Jews to take care of vacant benefices and farm them for his benefit.”
Then came the Crusades, and the expulsion of the Jews in 1290. Not ti## 370 years after, in 1650, were the Jews again permitted by Oliver Cromwell to settle in England. But today, the Canon remarks, “the Jews enjoy e##al civic rights with the rest of the King’s subjects”
It is true. But we are being called aliens nevertheless. Whatever the anti-alien agitation may actually be worth, it is making a lot of noise, and there is no attempt on the part of the agitators to disguise that by aliens they mean us Jews.
Rabbi Aaron Klein, resident of Cleveland for fifty years, and spiritual director for many years of B’nai Jeshurun temple, died at the age of 80.