The Anti-Semites (Cont'd)

Surely the history of extremism and Jew-hatred in the relatively brief period of time since Jews became a meaningful economic, political, and social force in this country holds within it a grave warning for the future.

Should we not remember the Leo Frank case that saw a young Jewish Atlanta resident convicted of murdering a young girl in a trial that was blatantly anti-Semitic and which saw a leading Populist and political leader declare,
�Jewish Libertines take notice�?

Should we forget Henry Ford and his
Dearborn Independent which became a cesspool of anti- Semitism and from whose pages came forth a whole series of articles including the �Protocols of the Elders of Zion� and �The International Jew�? Should we forget the fantastic growth of a fascist movement during the 1930s that saw a man like Father Charles E. Coughlin of Detroit whose weekly radio program reached ten million and who acquired countless devoted followers of his Populist and anti-Semitic teachings? Shall we forget the tremendous following of a man like Gerald L. K. Smith and his national directorship for that most charismatic and dangerous threat to American democracy - Senator Huey Long of Louisiana?

Should we forget Long himself who, had he not been assassinated, would surely have been the man on horseback most needed by the nascent fascist forces to mount an truly powerful attack on American democracy? Should we not remember William Dudley Pelley and his Silver Shirt storm troopers? Should we overlook the America First movement and its ability to attract Charles Lindberg and his admiration of totalitarian fascism as the �wave of the future�?

Should we forget the fascists and anti-Semitic hatemongers like Lawrence Dennis, the Iron Guard and its leader, James Banahan, Yorkville fuhrer Joe McWilliams, George Christians, and all the other hoodlum and terror types who gained dangerous support during a decade when Americans had no jobs and went hungry?

Above all should we forget that so much public support for these groups came because they were Populists who called for power to the people and attacked the Jews because they �exploited�  people? That Coughlin's movement was known as the Social Justice movement and that Long spoke in working-class terms?

And for those who will - predictably and superficially - ask whether the demise of these groups and their failure to attain power does not prove that the American democracy is a guaranteed defense against them, the answer is obvious. It was not American democracy that curtailed the power and influence of the anti-Semitic Haters in the 1930s. It was not the good sense of the �people� that brought the disastrous social and economic conditions of the Depression to and end. Ironically enough it was another human disaster that ended the disaster of unemployment and discontent that had threatened to bring to America a fascist, Jew-persecuting regime. It was World War II with its need for war materiel and its opening of defense plants and jobs that suddenly took from the Haters their most powerful weapon. It was Pearl Harbor that destroyed fascism in the United States. What madness! The Jew in America was aided by Hitler. The American Nazi was defeated by his German counterpart.

We must remember this history of recent American times lest we succumb to the pleasant myth of American exception to the general rule of �Hate the Jew.� That which was once such a terrible specter and which was ended only by the �fortune� of war, has been prevented from reoccurring only by a spectacular period of economic good fortune. The vast majority of Americans, the children of those who were breadless and jobless and potential followers of the fascists of the �30s, were recipients of the good life for twenty-five years. Such people are not dangerous in an era when their stomachs are filled and their minds empty of fears and worries. Should this change, however, in times when agonizing tensions and personal economic problems loom menacingly, that which once almost occurred can return to plague the Jew.

The Haters understand this very well, far better than do many Jews. As far back as March, 1963, the late head of the American Nazi Party, George Lincoln Rockwell, wrote:

�Our battle is not planned for today when the White man has two cars, a power lawnmower with a little seat for his lardy bottom, bathrooms with hi-fi and all the rest of the easy living of today's white American, but for the inevitable day when our phony, debt-ridden war scare and �foreign aid� economy blows sky-high� When Americans have nothing they have nothing to lose.�

By Rabbi Meir Kahane
Never Again
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