Editor, Jewish Daily Bulletin
Governor Norman S. Case of Rhode Island presented the first check to workers of the Providence Section, National Council of Jewish Women, for the purpose of financing their summer camp for needy children at East Greenwich, R. I. Governor Case’s contribution was given to five-year-old Audrey Priest Hirchberg of Providence. The camp will care for several hundred children from greater Providence.
MISUNDERSTANDING OF BIBLICAL PHRASE IN CONGRESSMAN’S SPEECH CAUSES UNJUSTIFIED CRITICISM (COMMUNICATION TO THE EDITOR)
It is really surprising how a misunderstanding of a Biblical phrase is responsible for an unjustifiable attack on an honorable Congressman who, in his remarks made in Congress on May 1st, 1929 and published in the Congressional Record, May 3rd, describes the American people in terms of the Jewish race.
The House had under consideration the question as to whether or not non-citizens should be included in the count of the population for the purpose of determining the size of Congressional districts. There is quite a sentiment in Congress which seeks to make each Congressional district dependent on the number of its citizen population rather than the number of its population including aliens. As a matter of fact the Constitution of the State of New York specifically provides that in counting the population of each district, only citizens should be counted and not aliens.
While I personally do not approve of this principle and do not intend to support it nevertheless, as I have said a large body of our Congressmen is in favor of this proposal. I do not, however, believe that the majority of members of Congress will support this measure. However, that is beside the point.
Let us get to Mr. Tucker’s remarks. Said Mr. Tucker, Congressional Record, page 856: “We merely desired to present the American principle upon which our objection to counting aliens is found, and we indorse most heartily the doctrine which most appeals to the hearts and consciences of the American people, that ‘aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise’ were never intended to be given participation in the Government of the United States.”
The words “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise” are used in the same sense as our Bible used it; that is to designate the foreigner or alien. Just as in the Old Testament, non-Jews were considered “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise,” Mr. Tucker used that term to designate a stranger from the American Government and a non-citizen. In other words the American people are to be considered as Jews and non-Americans will be considered as non-Jews or “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise.”
How any sensible persons can consider such a quotation from our Holy Bible in which the American people are likened and made equivalent to the Jews is beyond my understanding.
I suppose the next objection will be made to the Chairman of the National Republican Committee who finished his speech of welcome to the delegates in the summer of 1928 with the words: “Then to your tents, O Israel” as a slight on the Jewish members of the Republican Convention.
The American people have derived a great deal of their elevated speech from the pages of our Holy Bible and learned and cultured Americans will very frequently employ Biblical quotations to punctuate remarks.
I happen to know Congressman Tucker as a gentleman of great ability and learning and he would in no way attempt to cast a slight on the Jewish people but on the contrary has been brought up on the Jewish Bible and reverences Jewish traditions.
Representative to Congress, 12th District, New York
Washington, D.C, May 15, 1929
Congressman Dickstein has reference to an item published in the “Jewish Daily Forward” on May 13, in which it was reported that among the delegates attending the United Jewish Campaign conference at the Biltmore Hotel last Sunday much comment was provoked by the circulation of an excerpt from the Congressional Record of May 3, giving Congressman Tucker’s address. It was alleged that the paragraph quoted above constituted an attack on the civic status of American Jews.
The item also asserted that Jewish members of Congress were criticized in the conversations for failure to take notice and respond to the “attack.”-(Ed).
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.