The Jewish spirit of forgiveness, tried throughout the ages under all climes and conditions, was manifest in the attitude of the American Jewish community toward the apology of Henry Ford for the anti-Jewish campaign carried on in his “Dearborn Independent” since 1920. This apology is a complete renunciation of the anti-Jewish libels based on the forged protocols of the Elders of Zion which caused much harm to Jews in the United States and Europe.
The acceptance of the apology was made in a letter addressed by Louis Marshall, president of the American Jewish Committee, to Henry Ford. The representative of the “Jewish Daily Bulletin” obtained the text of Mr. Marshall’s reply to Mr. Ford, which was dated July 5. The letter read as follows:
MARSHALL’S REPLY TO FORD
“I am in receipt of your letter to Mr. Earl J. Davis accompanied by your statement regarding the long series of vituperative articles which, since May, 1920, has appeared in the “Dearborn Independent” and which contains the most violent attacks upon the Jews. You now declare that after an examination of those articles you feel shocked and mortified because of the harm which they have done, and you ask for our forgiveness.
“For twenty centuries we Jews have been accustomed to forgive insults and injuries, persecution and intolerance. hoping that we might behold the day when brotherhood and goodwill would be universal. We had fondly hoped that in this blessed republic, with its glorious constitution and its ? laws, it would be impossible to enounter the hatred and rancor to which our brethren haw been and still are subjected in other lands. We could not at first credit the information that the “Dearborn Independent” has permitted itself to be made the vehicle for disseminating exploded falsechoods and the vilest concoctions of vicious minds, invented by adventurers who had barely found asylum here when they attempted to introduce the exotic growths of anti-Semitism.
“Happily such excrescences could not flourish on American soil. Happily the enlightened press of this country treated them with contempt and as unworthy of notice. But we Jews none the less suffered the anguish of lortured memories, the nightmares of a horrible past, and the sorrow that, inspite of the progress of civilization, there were those who stood ready to misunderstand us. What seemed most mysterious was the fact that you whom we have never wronged and whom we looked upon as a kindly man, should have lent yourself to such a campaign of vilification apparently carried on with your sanction.
“The statement which you have sent me gives us assurance of your retraction of the offensive charges, of your proposed change of policies in the conduct of the Dearborn Independent of your future friendship and good-will, of your desire to make amends, and what is to be expected from any man of honor, you couple these assurances with a request for pardon. So far as my influence can further that end, it will be exerted, simply because there flows in my veins the blood of ancestors who were inured to suffering and nevertheless remained steadfast in their trust in God. Referring to the teachings of the Serman on the Mount, Israel Zangwill once said that we Jews are after all the only Christians. He might have added that it is because essentially the spirit of forgiveness is a Jewish trait.
“It is my sincere hope that never again shall such a recrudescence of ancient superstition manifest itself upon our horizon.”
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.