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John Spargo Attacks Zangwill’s Views

October 17, 1923
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John Spargo, in the course of a luncheon of the Jewish center campaign, made, what was generally taken to be, a reply to Israel Zangwill’s plea before the American Jewish Congress for Jewish group action and a specific Jewish vote.

Spargo declared that a Jewish vote would prove a great menace, and would lead to an unwholesome reaction on the part of the general public.

“I feel an abundant sympathy for the aspirations of the Jewish people and am entirely in sympathy with the movement to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine, but I hope that here, in the United States, we will not have Jewish Americans but American Jews.”

Mr. Spargo gave evidence throughout the speech that he deplored all separatist movements.

He praised the Jewish community center movement and declared that it “will foster Judaism which is a valuable spiritual element in American civilization.”

The best answer to anti-Semites, Spargo said, was not the presentation of historical or other data concerning the Jews and their accomplishments but so “organizing the life of their sons and daughters that they will best express the faith of Israel”.

Jewishness is religious and not racial or national, Spargo said. “The Jew is no more a race than are my own ancestors the Anglo-Saxons”, he concluded.

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