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August 14, 2009

100 Years Ago in the forward

The current strike of the 200 ladies waistmakers at the Rosen Brothers factory on East 10th Street in New York City has turned into an all-out war, with professional brawlers and rented bums attacking the striking workers on a daily basis. In the hallway where the strikers congregate, one sees numerous workers with bandaged heads and limbs. Any one of them who tries to make his or her way outside the factory is beaten mercilessly. Just yesterday, one Abe Abeles was set upon by the bums and beaten about the head with a steel pipe. The strike has been going on for some time, and the workers of this factory don’t know if they can survive like this.

75 Years Ago in the forward

The well-known Viennese-Jewish former communist leader Benno Karpeles has an unusual past. Born to a religious family, Karpeles received a traditional Jewish education. Regarded as an excellent student, he was sent to study at a yeshiva in the provinces. But Karpeles lost interest and joined up with Otto Bauer and the Viennese socialists. Eventually, however, he came to consider Bauer’s socialism too bourgeois, and as a result he joined the revolutionary communists, for whom he became a well-known leader. And despite his attempts, he never was able to build the Viennese communists into anything more than a small fringe group. So, Karpeles finally gave up; he went in the other direction and converted. The one-time yeshiva boy was now suited up as a Jesuit priest and happened to join one of the antisemitic orders. But the Jesuits soon smelled a rat and threw him out. What would Karpeles do next? What else? He joined the Fascists. Who knows what we’ll report next on the follies of Karpeles?

50 Years Ago in the forward

A stormy debate took place this week in Lebanon’s parliament, during which it was argued that the country’s 7,000 Jews are more loyal to Israel than to Lebanon. The debate came up because of a discussion over a law that would permit Lebanese who had left the country to buy and sell land in Lebanon. Deputy Kamel al Assad argued that such a law would permit Jews to buy parts of Lebanon and give them to Israel. He also claimed that Israel plans to take over all Arab countries by military force or by other means. After another deputy impugned Lebanese Jews’ loyalty to the country, Yusuf Chader argued that no Lebanese Jew had ever spied for Israel and that Lebanese Jews were much more loyal than other citizens.

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