November 14, 2008

Looking Back

Published November 05, 2008, issue of November 14, 2008.
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100 Years Ago in the Forward

In response to a query about the religious views of president-in-waiting William Howard Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, the outgoing president, has declared that a president’s religious orientation should not play a role in his ability to perform his duties. The query noted that Taft is a Unitarian and alleged that such religion is tantamount to being a nonbeliever. Although Roosevelt argued that it would be difficult to get elected president of the United States as a nonbeliever, he added that Abraham Lincoln refused to belong to any church of any kind. He added that in his Cabinet there are Protestants, Catholics and Jews, all of whom perform their duties without connection to their religious beliefs. He also said that one day, there will even be a Jewish president.

75 Years Ago in the Forward

The Jewish World Congress for German Jewry opened in London recently, with hundreds of delegates from nearly every country in Europe and many from the United States in attendance. The conference, the purpose of which is to unite the wide variety of Jewish organizations in order to provide aid to German Jewry, offered major plans for the future of German Jews. One such plan, offered by Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann, would be to concentrate on bringing the growing number of German-Jewish refugees to Palestine, where they would be settled permanently. At the same time, there were major riots in Jaffa and Jerusalem by groups of Arabs protesting the possibility that the number of Jews the British permit to enter Palestine would be increased.

There’s no question that Jews have it bad in today’s Germany. And at least German Jews are aware that much of the world protests against the treatment they are suffering at the hands of the Nazis and that they have brothers in many other countries who are willing to help them. But some Germans — half-Jews, and quarter-Jews —— are in a bad way and are being hounded by the Nazis. Worse yet, there is no one holding out a brotherly hand to help them. Their position is completely pathetic. Just like the Jews, they have been shut out of society and fired from their jobs. They are treated as if they are diseased. Many of these pathetic creatures don’t even know why this is happening. Huge numbers of Germans don’t even know that they had a Jewish grandmother. Many of these pure blond Aryans come from the aristocracy or had even been supporters of Hitler. They probably never thought that one day they might be considered Jewish.

50 Years Ago in the Forward

More than 10 Israeli Arabs were arrested this week in what is considered to be the break-up of the largest known spy ring in Israel. All arrestees are fluent Hebrew speakers and residents of Israel. Armed with weapons allegedly smuggled through Lebanon, some were said to have been recruited by Burham Bulus, head of the Israel section of Syria’s intelligence services. Others were known to be in contact with agents of Gamal Abdel Nasser’s United Arab Republic. The head of the spy group, as of yet unnamed, is said to hail from a prominent Arab family from the Galilee. He allegedly recruited his brother and a number of other family members to gather information on Israel and hand it over to the Syrians and the Egyptians.

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