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William Gorman

Boston, Montreal and Washington

Anti-Semitism on the March

(November 1943)

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 45, 8 November 1943, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The latest wave of anti-Semitism has occurred in the suburbs of Boston. Name-calling, Jew-baiting and finally brutal physical attacks have been experienced by many Jews and, in some cases, helpless women and children.

The local police have been indifferent to the pleas of the Jewish victims for action against the attackers. Indeed, to one case the Boston police beat up Jewish boys for trying to defend themselves against the attacking hoodlums! These same boys were arrested and then convicted by a prejudiced judge.

The pattern is the same everywhere: In Detroit and Harlem the police acted provocatively against the Negro minority. Whenever any trouble occurred, the Negroes not only failed to receive protection against attacks but were themselves mercilessly beaten and manhandled by the Jim Crow-minded police force.

An investigation into the New York police force before the war disclosed that a large number of them were members and sympathizers of the anti-Semitic Christian Front. There is no question that the same situation exists in Boston, that the police force is a stronghold of anti-Semitic prejudice!

When Governor Saltonstall of Massachusetts was asked at a press conference about the anti-Semitic attacks, he threw the reporter out of the State House! With an amazing: glibness he denied everything! But less than twenty-four hours later, the extent of anti-Semitic pogromism in Boston was confirmed by the Jewish press, Jewish leaders, the CIO Council of Boston and the CIO Ladies Auxiliary!

Once the truth came out, the Governor became absent-minded about his vehement denial and “took action.” He ordered an investigation and organized a committee of Jewish, Protestant and Catholic clergy.

This will in no way frighten the pogrom makers. The Christian Front is a power in Boston, and the Jews have always been a political football in all elections. This explains the Governors strong denial of any anti-Semitism existing at all.

Jewish members of the City Council correctly charged that no investigation would have any effect unless it fully unearthed the power of organized anti-Semitism in the political parties.

And to top it off, a dinner was given in Boston last week-end to “honor” the arch anti-Semite, Father Coughlin. The anti-Semitic elements are arrogantly showing off their strength!

The Affairs in Montreal

Across the border to the North there lives a large Jewish community in the city of Montreal. The social and political atmosphere is dominated by the Jew-hating French clergy. During the plebiscite on conscription a year and a half ago, organized gangs terrorized Jewish neighborhoods to keep the Jews from voting.

In the summer, an anti-Semitic riot broke out in a dance hall in the resort city of Plage Laval, near Montreal. If there is any question about what the police were doing at the time, we need only mention that the leader of the anti-Semitic outbreak was the son of the police chief!

The police chief thereafter refused to arrest his own son, saying he could not be found. When the anti-Semitic hoodlum was found, he was promptly acquitted. A Jewish victim of the attack (boxing champion of the Canadian Air Corps) has lost the sight of one eye. The attacker is going around scot-free!

Anti-Semitism in Congress

It is equally important to note that anti-Semitism of an “official” character is increasing steadily. That doesn’t mean that all capitalist politicians have thrown caution to the winds to engage in anti-Jewish phraseology. But members of the State Department and the Southern poll-taxers who do not have to rely on public elections have of late let their anti-Jewish prejudices be heard.

Secretary of State Hull parried a question of a reporter by pointing out that the reporter’s real name was once “Feinstone.”

When an Army commission was given to a former deputy OPA administrator, congressional halls rang with the anti-Semitic cry, “I don’t want my son to serve under any Goldberg.”

Congressmen Rankin, Schaeffer and Hoffman, enemies of the Negro and enemies of the labor movement, keep up an endless ranting about “Jewish Communists.”

Poll-tax Senator Eugene Cox has had anti-Semitic testimony in his investigation of a government agency. (How it must have worried the heart of all bigoted reactionaries to hear the city of Washington described as a “ghetto” and “without being a Jew, you could hardly get a job there.”)

And now we have the latest addition to this anti-Semitic crew, Representative Elmer, a “Democrat” from Missouri, who explained that “if all the European countries drove out the Jews ... there must have been a good reason.” While the heart-breaking murder of Jews goes on in Europe, Hitler’s unhired apologists open up their mouths here!

The stubborn refusal of the State Department and Congress to do anything substantial for the refugees merely reveals their EXTERNAL anti-Semitism. All the promises about “freedom from want” made by the capitalist politicians on one day are forgotten the next, when they have “start explaining” why homeless Jews shouldn’t be allowed into this country. It will bring depression and unemployment, they say.

The decrepit private enterprise system which these gentlemen so adore will not be able to provide mass employment after this war. So the “Jewish foreigners” are already being set up as a scapegoat!

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