May 7, 2004
100 YEARS AGO
• Reports from the Pale of Settlement indicate that already bad conditions for the Jews are worsening. In Bialystock, hundreds of unemployed Jewish laborers have been reduced to begging in the streets for crusts of bread. From Vitebsk comes news that local storekeepers are no longer able to buy on credit and are barely able to sell any of their wares. In Lodz, the poverty is so bad that a horde of hungry Jewish laborers descended on the market and stole bread right off of the bakers’ tables. This led to chases and fistfights. Police and Cossacks showed up and arrested about half of this group. The situation has fed the continuing mass emigration from all corners of the Pale of Settlement.
75 YEARS AGO
• Rabbi Samuel Levinson of Temple Beth Emet in Brooklyn has strongly condemned Jewish theater producers Morris Gest and David Belasco for staging a production of the antisemitic Passion Play. Belasco has been involved in previous productions of the same drama. The rabbi declared that the Passion Play will spread antisemitism and Jew-hatred. Additionally, he noted that this particular production presents a false depiction of historical events from beginning to end.
50 YEARS AGO
• While Arab U.N. delegates rail against Israel using the most caustic of terms, secret peace talks are going on between Arab heads of state and the Israeli government. The Arab rulers, who fear their citizens will react angrily to negotiations with Israel, continue to say publicly that they will never recognize Israel’s right to exist. Behind the scenes, however, the same rulers have proposed a nine-point plan, the first of which is a symbolic repatriation and compensation of roughly 700,000 Arab refugees, which the rulers of the Arab countries do not want, especially since it is evident that the U.N. will not continue to fund them forever.