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Proskauer Denounces Boycott and World Jewish Parley Plan

December 12, 1934
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A smashing attack on the organized world boycott of German goods and the proposed world Jewish Congress, advocated by the American Jewish Congress, featured a fiery address made by Judge Joseph M. Proskauer, in a symposium on anti-Semitism in America, at Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, 270 West Eighty-ninth street, Monday evening. The symposium marked the celebration of the 110th anniversary of the Congregation.

After expressing his admiration of Bernard S. Deutsch, the first speaker, Judge Proskauer branded the stand taken by the president of the American Jewish Congress, as a “doctrine of destruction for American Jewry.”


While some of the gathering cheered and others gasped at the unexpected denunciation of the world Congress, the speaker warned Jewish leaders that “you cannot stop anti-Semitism by fighting it. You must stop it by ideas and ideals.”

“Since Hitler came into power,” he said, “I have not bought five cents worth of German goods. That is my individual right. But when I go out and ask for an organized boycott which interferes with the commercial transactions of my country, I am letting my emotion as a Jew interfere with my duty as an American citizen.”

Commenting on the protest rallies and parades against Hitlerism which were cited by Mr. Deutsch as evidence of united action by the American Jewish Congress, Judge Proskauer asked: “Does it take any bravery to stand up in Madison Square Garden and make a speech with ample police protection?”

In his talk, Mr. Deutsch advocated a militant stand against Hitler and the spread of anti-Semitic propaganda. The keynote of his speech was a demand for united action. He warned that “the first victims of Fascism everywhere have been the Jews.”

He dwelt at some length on the forthcoming elections in April, 1935, of delegates to the world Jewish Congress. He stressed the importance of such a body in combatting anti-Semitism.


Rev. Samuel McCrea Cavert, secretary of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America, followed Mr. Deutsch on the platform.

“How far will anti-Semitism go in America?” he asked. “I wish I could say it would not go far, but as a matter of fact I cannot. Anti-Semitism is not primarily a matter of religion. The bitterest prejudice is not found among earnest Christians but among those who are nominally Christians but are not closely associated with the Christian Church.”

He urged a closer understanding of the major faiths and a greater respect for “our differences.”

Roger W. Strauss, co-chairman of the National Council of Jews and Christians, was the fourth speaker. “At the present time under the stress of the depression, and with the moral and financial support of the Hitler government, another attempt is being made to build up an anti-Jewish movement,” he said.

“The result has been that large numbers of people who have had prejudice against the Jews have been encouraged by these professional Jew-baiters to make their feelings more vocal and openly to discriminate against Jews socially, politically and economically; so that there is probably more open anti-Jewish activity in this country than ever before.”

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