(By Our Shanghai Correspondent)
The influence of the “Dearborn Independent’s” propaganda has made itself felt even here in far away China. Strange as it may seem, agitators, who very obviously derive their inspiration from Ford’s organ, which they quote copiously, have been at work for several months now trying to stir up racial hatred by preaching anti-Semitism and linking the Jews with Bolshevism.
These agitators have not had easy sailing here, but one paper, the “Central China Post” of Hankow, has opened its columns to them and in a number of communications, one of which alone took almost three columns, all the scurrilous charges of the international anti-Semites, chiefly that of the infamous “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” have been reiterated and rehashed.
A Jewish resident of Shanghai took up the cudgels in defense of his people and his letter was published by the Hankow “Post.” The writer ably disproved all the false accusations, but this was followed by further contributions from the anti-Semitic propagandists. Other communications from a Jew of Shanghai, signing himself “Mentor,” appeared in the “North-China Daily News.” Of particular significance is the attitude of this paper, one of the leading organs in China, on the whole matter, as expressed in an editorial evoked by one of “Mentor’s” letters.
“There are signs in Shanghai of an attempt to work up a wave of anti-Semitism,” the paper wrote. “They may mean nothing; we phoe they do. But in these days when passion and prejudice run so high in all directions, we wish to make the “North-China Daily News'” position clear. The anti-Semitic party need expect no help from us. Letters containing reflexions on Jews occasionally reach us. They go back to the writers and will continue to do so. The whole movement, which plasters an entire race with the misdoings of a few, is so grossly unfair. That is not done with any other people. The Italian colony of New York, for instance, used to have a bad name for turbulence, probably because most of them came from Southern Italy where, for climatic reasons, blood is hot and quarrels fierce. But no one immediately condemns the whole Italian people, who indeed are generally recognized as frugal, industrious, of a high standard of ormality and firm believers in family and domestic virtues. The faults of the Jew are condemned; but how many pause to inquire to what extent those faults are only the irepsessible human reaction to the prejudice he too often encounters? It is a case of the dog with a bad name. Let it be admitted that the Jew may be a very bitter enemy. But admit also that he can be the warmest and loyalest friend, as he has proved again and again. Once, in the present writer’s presence, a leading London Jew gave an extremely interesting historical sketch to show how the nations that had maltreated the Jews had suffered for it, not from any operation of the Jews themselves, but, as it would seem, through some mysterious fate or Providence, call it which we may; while those countries in which Jews had been alloked a fair chance and the equal rights of ordinary citizens had, as notably, prospered. Anyone with a taste for history will recognize how true this is. As we said above, passion and prejudice run wild nowadays. Why should the volume of that torrent be swelled, for a cause to unnecessary and unjust?”
An interesting development was disclosed when it was learned that one of the agitators is a member of the staff of the Constitutional Defense League, an organization formed last year for the purpose o fcombatting Bolshevism in China. The president of the League, L. M. ff. Beytagh, on being questioned, made public in the “Shanghai Times” of July 21, a letter in which he disclaimed, in the name of the organization, any responsibility for the activities of the member in question. His letter stated:
“In order to avoid possible misunderstandings brought about by correspondence and comments published on the 17th inst., in the local press, my Committee desire me to state that the Constitutional Defense League is not concerned in any way whatsoever with proposals or arrangements for the publication locally or in any other place of the book ‘The Protocols of the Wise men of Zion’ or with any other anti-Semitic propaganda.”
In a lengthy article appearing in today’s issue of “Israel’s Messenger” of this city, we read in connection with the foregoing: “The Constitutional Defence League was formed in December last year, with a view to combat Bolshevism in China. It is unfortunate that a member of its staff, who poses himself as an authority on Bolshevism, has started an actual anti-Jewish propaganda in the local press and abroad, accusing the Jewish people as being responsible for the present Soviet regime in Russia, thus lending color to the belief that the League is shielding this traducer of the Jews and supporting his policy. We are, however, pleased to note that this is not the case, and this assurance coming as it does from the President of the League, who has done much to popularize the objects of the latter in Shanghai, should remove all misunderstandings.”
It is doubtful whether the anti-Semitic movement in China will prosper. But its appearance and the very apparent influence of the “Dearborn Independent,” are significant.
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.