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Turkish Chief Rabbi Takes Issue with Louis Marshall in National Minority Rights Controversy

September 26, 1926
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(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

The criticism against the leaders of Turkish Jewry voiced by Louis Marshall, president of the American Jewish Committee, for their action in renouncing their claim to the national minority rights guaranteed under the treaty of Lausanne, is still stirring Turkish and Jewish public opinion throughout the country.

The Turkish newspaper “Djunhauriet” publishes an interview with the Chief Rabbi of Constantinople, Bejeranu Effendi, who played a prominent part at the meeting of the Jewish National Assembly of Turkey which took the momentous decision.

When asked by the Turkish representative of the newspaper what was his opinion of Mr. Marshall’s criticism, he exclaimed: “I don’t want to hear anything more concerning this question! Who can say anything when the entire Jewish population has renounced its minority rights? If I gave you a gold watch and you refused to accept it, can I compel you to accept it? We, the Turkish Jews, refuse any foreign intervention in matters of our own concern. The Jewish community of Turkey can well rely on the Turkish government to safeguard its rights. It needs no foreign help. The Turkish Jews are pleased with the provisions of the Swiss Civil Code which our country has adopted,” the Chief Rabbi stated.

“The Jewish religion commands obedience and respect for the government. We bend before the laws of the republic and whatever might be said abroad does not interest us. We want no meddling in our affairs,” he declared.

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