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Democratic Party Chiefs Charged with Anti-semitism in Candidate Choice

September 26, 1926
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A “Jewish issue” was projected into Democratic politics in New York state prior to the choice of the Democratic candidate for United States Senator, and certain leaders of the Democratic party were charged with anti-Semitism, when a delegation of several New York Jews, members of the party, lodged a protest with Judge George W. Olvany.

The protest came as the result of the omission by Democratic party leaders of the name of Hon. Carl Sherman, former Attorney General of New York, from the list of candidates.

The charge that Mr. Sherman was ordered to withdraw his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate and was told that a Jew could not run for that office was presented by the delegation.

The committee, which was received by Mr. Egan, Judge Olvany’s secretary, was composed of Benjamin Winter, Jacob de Haas, Morris Margulies, Rabbi Jacob Sonderling, Sol Liebes-kind, Dr. S. M. Melamed, Samuel Blitz, Alex Bernardick, Max Levy, L. M. Neikrug, Jacob Ish Kishor, George I. Fox, Dr. Mordecai Soltes, Samuel Caplan and Col. Maurice Simmons.

The delegation submitted the following memorandum: “In April, 1926, Judge George G. Berg, one of the leading Protestant laymen, John W. Henry, a leading Catholic layman and Henry A. Naylon, Chairman of the Democratic County Committee, all of Buffalo, publicly endorsed the movement favoring the nomination of former Attorney General Carl Sherman for the Democratic nomination for U. S. Senator.

“Within a few days thereafter Norman E. Mack, of the Democratic National Committee, brought word to Buffalo that a Jew must not run for that great office, and served notice on Mr. Sherman that unless the movement in that direction was abandoned he would be politically punished. We have investigated these facts and believe them to be true.

“We do not now quarrel with the decision of the leaders to nominate Judge Wagner, but we do resent the apparently successful attempt to mete out such political punishment as threatened by Norman E. Mack.

“At the conference of state leaders held last week at Albany, Mr. Naylon of Buffalo had in his possession the endorsement of practically every leading Democrat in Erie County, including the support of most of the 700 members of the Buffalo City Committee–all for Mr. Sherman. Yet at the behest of the local member of the national committee, the comptrollership was unexpectedly given to Erie County in order to eliminate Mr. Sherman and thus make good the threat uttered in April. The fact that at the eleventh hour a Jew was put on the ticket in order to create a balance does not stay our protest against these proceedings.

“We are not pleading for tolerance. A series of events, not unconnected with judicial appointments, during the past few years, indicate that some Democratic leaders in the state think of the Jewish voters in terms of toleration but not in terms of equality. Jewish voters in this city and in this state are entitled to more than the afterthought of tolerance by political leaders, and that your organization has as great a reason to resent discrimination however devised, as we have.

“We know you have been no parry to this punishment of a Jew because he presumes he has the right to aspire for any office within his capacity. But we come to you because as the leader of the dominating group in the state democracy it is within your power, within your own party counsels not only to right this wrong, but to demand that an end be made to the kind of discrimination which with all the fair words that are uttered, is exercised against the large and growing mass of Jewish voters in this state.”

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