Nazis in the Ivory Tower – by Steven Plaut


tropas-nazis

Over the past two decades we have witnessed the emergence of a mass movement of political extremism and support for totalitarianism on Western college campuses. Large numbers of university professors and administrators today advocate politically extremist positions that combine support for totalitarian Islamofascism and its terrorism with deep hatred of Israel and anti-Americanism. The dimensions of the phenomenon vary by campus and also by academic discipline. Middle East Studies is arguably the worst. The pro-totalitarian ideology and the hostility towards Israel and the United States have been documented for years by campus monitoring watchdogs like Campus-Watch in the United States and by Isracampus in Israel, as well as by web magazines, notably Frontpage.

Reading the exposes about campus political extremism today is numbingly shocking. No doubt many a reader responds bewilderingly by asking how such behavior and fanaticism could have been invented in the early twenty-first century. Actually, it was not. It was around many decades ago.

Campus radicalism, support for totalitarianism, and general political extremism are not new on Western campuses. Indeed some of the worst political extremism in academic history took the form of enthusiastic support on American campuses for Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. This is a disgraceful chapter in American academic history and one largely unknown. Its story is the topic of a new book, “The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower,” by Stephen H. Norwood (Cambridge University Press, 2009). The author is a professor of history at the University of Oklahoma and holds a PhD from Columbia University (of all places; Columbia University is one of the schools whose ties with Nazism he documents carefully). Norwood is an accomplished writer and researcher, but I believe that this volume will turn him into an American household name. It is based on five years of his intensive research efforts. And it is already flaming controversies and debate.

None of what follows is my own original research. All of it is taken from Norwood’s seminal study and he deserves all the credit for uncovering these things. The simple lesson from examining the behavior on American universities in the 1930s is that that the appeasement, the support for totalitarian aggression and terror, the academic bigotry, and the anti-Semitism that today fill so many American universities were all predominant forces on many campuses in the 1930s, especially at America’s elite schools, including on much of the Ivy League. The Chomskies, Coles, Beinins and Massads of today could easily be fit into the campus atmosphere of the 1930s.

Norwood sums up the situation at American universities in the 1930s thus:

“The leaders of American colleges and universities remained for the most part uninvolved as others in this country forcefully protested the Nazis’ barbaric treatment of Jews. The Nazis anti-Semitic terror in 1933 precipitated demonstrations and boycotts (of Germany) on an unprecedented scale… But although academicians were the Americans most conversant with European affairs, few engaged in public anti-Nazi protest…. American universities maintained amicable relations with the Third Reich, sending their students to study at Nazified universities while welcoming Nazi exchange students to their own campuses. America’s most distinguished university presidents willfully crossed the Atlantic in ships flying the swastika flag, openly defying the anti-Nazi boycott, to the benefit of the Third Reich’s economy. By warmly receiving Nazi diplomats and propagandists on campus, they helped Nazi Germany present itself to the American public as a civilized nation, unfairly maligned in the press.” (Norwood, page 34)

Norwood’s book is a must-read, but also a sad and uncomfortable read. He details the reactions of America’s professors and universities to the rise of Hitler. The responses on American campuses ranged from complete indifference and refusal to join in campaigns against Nazi Germany to widespread support for German Nazism, including for German atrocities committed against Jews. This was not mere Yankee provincial ignorance of what was happening outside the country.

Starting in 1933 anti-Hitler mass protests were being held throughout the United States. Americans of all creeds joined in. So did labor unions, political parties, and others. Perhaps the most memorable anti-Nazi sign from the marches was that of the Undertakers Union, “We want Hitler!” American streets were filled with anti-Nazi protests every week. At the same time, “College and university presidents and administrators did not convene protest meetings against Nazi anti-Semitism on the campuses, nor did they urge their students and faculty members to attend the nationwide mass rallies held on March 27, 1933.” (Norwood, page 15).

Some leading German Jewish scientists and professors managed to make it to the United States. The most famous was of course Albert Einstein. Some American schools went out of their way to hire these refugees. Harvard and Yale (which has a Hebrew slogan on its official coat of arms) were NOT among those! Yale’s President James Rowland Angell said he was “only superficially concerned with the plight of the German refugees” and reluctant to commit resources to finding them jobs.  Harvard refused to hire refugees even when the Rockefeller Foundation offered to cover half their salaries, not even as curators at the campus Germanic Museum (pages 32-33).  In contrast, the Nazi Professor Friedrich Schoenemann from the University of Berlin went on a speaking tour of American campuses in 1933 to great acclaim, where his talks were titled, “Why I Believe in the Hitler Government.”  He had taught at Harvard during and after World War I.

Some academics condemned those calling for a boycott of Germany in response to the atrocities committed against on Kristallnacht. They insisted it would be “hypocritical” on the part of those protesting the boycott of German Jews by Nazis to call for a boycott of Nazi Germany. This is worth noting because one hears the exact same claim today. Those today calling for boycotts of the anti-Israel academics that lead the “divestment” movement demonizing Israel are similarly denounced; they are accused of supposedly exhibiting “hypocrisy.” In other words, one must not oppose the evil use of boycotts to achieve evil totalitarian aims, especially not through a campaign against them of boycotts to achieve just and democratic aims, lest one be guilty of “inconsistency.”

Harvard University stood out above the rest in its moral failure and in its collaboration with Nazism. Many of the faculty members at Harvard were openly anti-Semitic, including Harvard’s president James Bryant Conant. Later, after the war, Conant served as US Ambassador to Germany and worked feverishly to get Nazi war criminals paroled and hired (pages 243-256). He lobbied for appointments of Nazis to various public posts in Europe and at the United Nations. Harvard’s law school Dean, Roscoe Pound, was openly sympathetic to Hitler, vacationed in Germany and attended anti-Semitic events there (pages 56-7). Harvard history professor William L. Langer strongly defended Hitler’s reoccupation and remilitarization of the Rhineland, which was the first step in launching World War II. More generally he served as a sort of academic apologist for the Nazis (pages 41-2).

Harvard went out of its way to host and celebrate Nazi leaders. The high Nazi official Ernst (Putzi) Hanfstaungl was invited as the Harvard commencement speaker in 1934. The wealthy Hanfstaungel had been one of Hitler’s earliest and most important backers. He was on record insisting “the Jews must be crushed,” and describing Jews as “the vampire sucking German blood.”  Hanfstaungel was invited by a Harvard medical professor to serve as the honored speaker in the Harvard commencement ceremony and class reunion of 1934 and used the occasion for anti-Semitic incitement (page 49). (He also showed up in Harvard at the 50th class reunion after the war in 1959.) He openly advocated the mass arrest or worse of German Jews. The student paper, the Harvard Crimson, defended Hanfstaungel (pages 49-50). Harvard called in the Boston police to arrest Jews and others protesting the visit, and they were charged with “illegally displaying signs” (page 52). When Hanfstaungel returned to Germany from Harvard, he was personally greeted by Hitler (page 55).

Harvard maintained warm intimate relations with many Nazi institutions, in particular the University of Heidelberg, even after it proclaimed proudly that it had expelled all its Jews and began promoting what it called “Aryan Physics” (page 62). Harvard’s warm relations with German universities were used by Nazi propagandists, including Joseph Goebbels, to lull the world into accepting and legitimizing the Nazi regime. In 1937 Harvard’s president was still saluting Nazi universities as playing a legitimate part of the “learned world” (page 70). Harvard President Conant pursued collaborative relations with Nazi universities throughout the 1930s and right up to the outbreak of war.

In 1935 the German consul in Boston was invited by Harvard to lay a wreath with a swastika on it in the campus chapel. Nazi officials were invited to Harvard’s tercentenary celebrations in 1936, held intentionally on the Jewish High Holidays as a slap in the face of Jewish faculty and students (page 39). A mock student debate held in 1936 was presided over by Harvard professors as judges. They acquitted Hitler of most of the mock charges (condemning him only for having a German general killed) and declared that German persecution of Jews was simply irrelevant (pages 40-41).  The Harvard Crimson, the student paper, ran numerous pro-Hitler articles. Its editors were among those coming out to celebrate the visit of a German ship with Nazi officials on board. MIT also helped host the ship. The Nazi “Horst Wessel” marching song was played by student bands. Meanwhile, the campaign to boycott German goods was condemned by rally speakers.

Yale was only marginally less friendly to the Nazis than Harvard. “President James Rowland Angell of Yale University refused the request by Rabbi Edgar E. Siskin to speak on March 27, 1933 at a community-wide mass meeting in New Haven called to voice ‘dismay and indignation at the anti-Semitic excesses now being carried out in Germany’” (page 15). Yale and Harvard presidents welcomed a delegation of Italian fascists to both campuses in October of 1934 (page 57). The student newspapers at both schools warmly approved.  Fascist Italy’s diplomats were often welcomed by Harvard.

Other parts of thee New England academic elite expressed similar sentiments. A protest rally against German anti-Semitism was planned for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for March 30, 1933. It drew only a small number of protesters after MIT President Karl Compton intervened to oppose it. Compton also opposed the sending of petitions to the German government signed by MIT faculty and students. Some MIT professors came out vocally in support of Hitler and Nazi Germany, including mechanical engineering professor Wilhelm Spannhake (page 16). His son Ernst was a student at the time at MIT; the son insisted that the Nazis had committed no atrocities at all and he defended the Nazi boycott of German Jews and Jewish businesses.

Professor Thomas Chalmers of the history department at Boston University publicly demanded a “hands off “ policy regarding Hitler and opposed American denunciations of Nazi Germany (page 17).  Public efforts were made to recruit leading university presidents to refuse to travel on German ships flying the swastika flag, and to refuse to attend German “academic” conferences, but most refused. Among those who demonstrably insisted on traveling on Nazi ships was Nicholas Murray Butler, president of the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace, and Harvard’s President Conant. President Robert Maynard Hutchins of the University of Chicago insisted on traveling on the same ships until the summer of 1937 (Pages 17-18). After the war the University of Chicago hired one of the leaders of the Romanian genocidal fascist organization “Iron Guard” as a faculty member.

Norwood’s own alma mater of Columbia University is a major target in his book (pages 75-102). Columbia was an active collaborator with Nazi Germany in many ways. Months after Germany started book burning, Columbia’s President Nicholas Murray Butler went out of his way to welcome Nazi Germany’s ambassador to the US for a lecture circuit at the school, and praised the Nazi emotionally as a gentleman and a representative of “a friendly people” (page 76).  Shortly afterwards, when a man who had escaped from a Nazi concentration camp lectured on campus, Butler refused to attend (pages 77-8). Butler frequently praised Germany and Fascist Italy. He would have approved of Joseph Massad getting tenure this year at Columbia.

Columbia University itself had been officially discriminating against Jewish students since the beginning of the century. A Columbia Dean named Thomas Alexander praised Hitler’s Nazism sycophantically and visited Germany himself (page 83). He especially approved of the Nazi policy of forced sterilizations. More than one Columbia faculty member was fired for taking an anti-Nazi stand. These included a Jewish professor of fine arts, Jerome Klein, who dared to protest the campus visit of the Nazi ambassador. Columbia built and maintained extensive connections with Fascist Italy.

Many other universities were little better. The “Seven Sisters,” meaning the seven elite women’s colleges in America, were decidedly unwilling to take any anti-Nazi stands (pages 103-132). Professors and students served as apologists for Nazism. So did some of the college presidents. Collaboration with the Nazis continued at some campuses even after Germany invaded Czechoslovakia and Poland. The oppression of women in Nazi Germany made no more impression upon them than the oppression of women in Islamic societies does on today’s campus extremists and feminists.

Freedom of speech was selectively defended on campuses in the 1930s, as it is again today in the 21st century. The President of Queens College prohibited an anti-Nazi speaker from giving a lecture on campus as late as spring 1938 (pages 223-46). Harvard suppressed student efforts to aid Jewish refugees from Germany. For many years Catholic universities in the United States were strongly pro-fascist (pages 196-219).

Phony symmetry, the condemnation of fascism together with condemning Western democracies, is not the innovation of the past decade’s campus campaign to defend Islamic terror. In the 1930s academics and university presidents signed statements that protested German behavior but at the same time gave it legitimacy. For example, in one attempt at “even-handedness,” a petition claimed that Nazi actions were “in large part the result of the lack of fair play to Germany” on the part of Western countries and their “slighting of German rights and needs.”  It added that “minorities are suppressed and discriminated against to some degree in every land.” They knew so well – at the time most Ivy League universities and many other colleges officially and openly discriminated against Jewish applicants. (They still do under affirmative action quotas.)

Does all of the above sound familiar? It does to Norwood, who says he sees frightening similarities between what has been happening in American campuses since the early 1990s and what transpired in the 1930s.

  • FabioPBarbieri

    Just one minute. I am sure this all happened and that it was as disgraceful as you say. But if by “a member of Antonescu's Iron Guard” being hired by Chicago after the war, you mean Mircea Eliade, may I make the point that Eliade was one of the greatest scholars in his field (comparative religion) that there have ever been, that any university in their senses would have snapped him up, and that under his leadership the School of Divinity of Chicago became the greatest centre for research into comparative religion outside France? And he was not the only instance. A number of musicians, scientists, and even writers and philosophers, were essentially forgiven their collaboration with Nazism on the grounds of their brilliance, from Herbert von Karajan to Wernher von Braun. And while one must take into consideration individual situations (did the individual concerned have a choice, did he or she commit crimes in person or closely support criminals in their work, etc?), I think that on the whole civilization gained more than it lost by not confining such men to jail or obscurity. Which, in the case of really brilliant people, was anyway apt not to work. One of the few people who were really effectively boycotted, film-maker Leni Riefenstahl, built herself up a whole new career as a photographer. You cannot keep such people permanently in the shadows.

  • Proxywar

    comparative religion? With a straight face you think of this as a creditable field?

  • FabioPBarbieri

    Someone ignorant enough to write the opening sentence probably thinks that auto shop is the height of human endeavour.

    As for Mircea Eliade, his political past was well known – the Communists who took over his country made sure that everyone heard about it. It is likely exaggerated if not downright falsified – such was their way.

  • razi

    Let's not start making exuses for the pro-Hitler Romanian genocidal fascists!

  • wildjew

    Adolf Hitler might also be regarded as one of the greatest in his field; politics. Hitler proved himself a consummate politician / strategist, both political and military. Maybe there would have been a place for Herr Hitler in your pantheon of great men?

  • kshapero

    Mircea Eliade was great scholar but was a member of the Iron Guard up to1982. I studied under him and admired him (I did not know his past at the time). I went back thru his works recently. They are all rife with sublimal anti-semitism. He was the scum he pretended to be.

  • rolling thunder

    I've encountered anti-semitism on American campuses. It wasn't Moslem inspired either. It had to do with a underground movie of a Jewish student caught in a sex scandal. The blast of disgust (from students and others) that was directed at the screen was remarkable. At the time, it struck me as a double standard. After all, all sorts of sleazy things go on in America. For instance, we have a navy where pregnancies put lots of female naval personnel out of commission at any one time on the various “loveboats”. College is a strange place anyway, its often not really a healthy place for the people who come in to it. I don't know why there should be such an attraction to totalitarianism, and general nastiness.

  • Questioner

    “Things changed only after 1936 when Edward R. Murrow took over as president.” What can this possibly mean? Murrow was never president of Columbia.

  • sflbib

    Can we look forward to another play by Rolf Hochhuth who portrayed the pope as a Nazi collaborator in the play “The Deputy”?

  • sflbib

    A few quotes are in order:

    “It is a common mistake to regard National Socialism as a mere revolt against reason, an irrational movement without intellectual background. If that were so, the movement would be much less dangerous than it is.” Hayek, F. A., “Road to Serfdom”

    Best of all:

    “…Professors are in a position of enormous power and authority in front of the classroom, in molding and shaping young minds, and there is a corresponding responsibility that comes with this position of authority that can leverage the passion and raw energy of youth for good or for evil. To abuse this power is the greatest evil that can lead to horrific consequences as it has since the early 19th century in Germany. The maxim that “ideas have consequences” is well known. Moreover, dangerous ideas and the manner in which they are disseminated can lead to dangerous consequences. Accordingly, their purveyors should be held accountable for the results, when the results are world war, mass-murder, genocide, or Holocaust. … Victor Klemperer, a professor of Literature at the University of Dresden, … wrote the following in one of his published diaries, ‘I Will Bear Witness: A Diary of the Nazi Years 1933-1941’:

    ‘If one day the situation were reversed and the fate of the vanquished lay in my hands, then I would let all the ordinary folk go and even some of the leaders, who might perhaps after all have had honorable intentions and not known what they were doing. But I would have all the intellectuals strung up, and the professors three feet higher than the rest; they would be left hanging from the lampposts for as long as was compatible with hygiene.’”
    “Heil Professor!”
    By Phil Orenstein
    http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticl

  • steven plaut

    APologies – I mis-read and confused with someone else who took over as Prez.

  • RobW

    Umm – Fabio…

    Care to reply to Shapero's statement ?

    If what he says is true – that he actually studied under Eliade – then you need to heed indeed his post.

    Now's not the time to go to sleep on us!

    RobW

  • RobW

    Yes indeed.

    Simply because someone was the greatest in their field – does not make him worthy of respect – let alone honor.

    This is the classic mistake intellectuals make. To them – academic achievement is the sole measure of a man.

    Which is why so many lunatic Phd's get tenure and life long adulation. Like Chomsky. The man's love of the Khmer Rouge and his blithe dismissal of their atrocities is a disgusting case in point.

    Instead of being honored – the man should have been tossed out of MIT onto the street – and treated like the moral degenerate he is.

    We live in perverse times – where advanced degrees (not love) covers a multitude of sins.

    RobW

  • wildjew

    I think this is more common on the political left. Intellectual distinction is the end all, be all of a man's or a woman's worth. I'm not saying it is unimportant – knowledge is imperative – but as you point out, intellectual achievement is not everything.

    Some of America's greatest leaders were not intellectuals. George Washington is a case in point.

    We've got a nationally syndicated conservative radio talk show host here in our area who reminds his listeners almost nightly about the degrees he has earned. After a while, I've got wonder why? He certainly has no need to engage in this exercise.

  • Guy Fou

    I didn't get the impression that Fabio necessarily disagreed with the student's assessment of Eliade. i.e. The guy was scum (and his continued membership in the Iron Guard is a matter of public record at this point), but he really was also a great and influential scholar in his field despite his biases. It is practically not possible to study in comparative religion today without building in some way on Eliade's work, though one must take the good and leave the bad.

  • USMCSniper

    For an in depth analysis, read Leonard Peokoff's “Ominius Parallels”

    The ideas of the Third Reich can be exemplified in a single statement: “We have to be strong enough to live in contradictions;” a quote by Arthur Moeller van den Bruk. The first group to back Hitler was the university professors, and it was through education that the people accepted Nazism as the surrender of I to thou; socialism is sacrificing the individual to the whole.

    Piekoff introduces the idea that Nazism took root in Germany as the result of generations of philosophers promoting the principles of Plato. He puts forward the notion that from Plato comes the driving thrust for collectivism and the subsequent evolution of thought that an individual must surrender himself to the State. He draws contrast between Plato and Aristotle and creates a Yin and Yang argument, yet in the introduction spends the majority of his argument on the Patio heritage. He summarizes the basic argument of prominent German philosophers Kant and Hegal. Each philosopher provides an interpretation of Plato, which unconsciously clouds his argument when attempting to put the Aristotle school of logic as the viable alternative. Of which leaves the reader on 2004 pondering a “third way” or possibly a balance between the two or finally the urge for a little cherry picking of both.

    I believe it is worth pointing out that many readers will find their own foundations challenged in the beginning. But completing the book is a must. My personal reaction at the beginning of the book; vested largely on 48 years of surrender to the whole, due to the experience of learning through discovery, and that the premise for which I based my logic was errant; which then draws on the selfless character espoused in Plato and flies in the face of Aristotle. However the intriguing element of the book is not in the individual analysis but in the connection of philosophy to politics as he applies ethics and to social questions. So while the reader may have an induced undercurrent of his own individual views of I, he is compelled by the notion that one not only could surrender to society but also to a supreme ruler, right or wrong in his philosophy. To see where the larger picture is going as Piekoff leads you through the history of western philosophy to provide a lesson for today. The challenge is to look at history through the lens of philosophy and analyze of the minds of leading men put into practice. If ethics is adherence to laws we cannot enforce and politics is a construct of ethics on a scalable social playing field; then how does one discern an absolute aspect of truth through cognitive reasoning when the author requires the absence of the observer in the reality equation? Piekoff with the aid of history makes a very good argument in answering this question.

    In a caption: The Fuhrer did this by the uniting of god's representative(s) with the nihilism of a Machiavellian skeptic, and a new phenomena, new at least in its brazen openness, enters the world scene: the absolute of the moment, or the immutable which never stands still, issued at an omniscience that ceaselessly changes its mind.

  • kshapero

    My friend I pray that you will be wrong.

  • sensible

    The only thing I can hope for, and I say this sincerely, is a resurrection of the JDL , or a similar organization, in current times. It is too late to exact justice (yes, and vengeance as well) upon the scumbags (on BOTH sides of The Pond) from the 20's thru the 50's (since they're mostly dead) but it's certainly prime-time now, to show the contemporary scumbags just what it means to be on the receiving end of the types of treatments of Jews by rabid anti-Semites that they so applaud, both in the past and in the present. Sign me up first! Or, as they say, “Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition.” I particularly like, and endorse, the idea of hanging the most offensive and dangerous of the scum [the intellectuals and professors] from the nearest trees, where they “would be left hanging from the lampposts for as long as was compatible with hygiene.” [thank you for that quote from Klemperer, sflbib]. I would rather the world had learned its lesson from the previous outrages in anti-Semitic history, but alas, some idiots never learn . . . oh well! I am not one who shrinks from employing violent means to address and repel the violence directed against me by others who both commit it and condone it. As I've just said, I'd have preferred that the world had learned its lesson well, and that none of what is inevitably about to happen would have been necessary. But it did not [learn its lesson] and now, what will be, will be. Any system clogged with filth must be backflushed, and the offending scum ejected — so it must be with the universities as well as all the political bastions of power which promote and nurture rabid, violent anti-Semitism. After all, it is only another instance of the application of Newtons' Second Law of Thermodynamics: all actions will be met, and countered, by forces of equal and opposite reaction [paraphrased here]. In this case, however, given the history of the situation, I endorse not an equal reaction, but a greater, MORE forceful reaction. Unfortunately — sadly — it is the ONLY way to finally, once and for all, rid the world of the scum who do not deserve to live.

    • Seth

      you need to take a breather, extremist nut. Maybe you d fit in in Gaza, killing innocent palestinians :)

  • clark81

    Man, college must have ROCKED in the 30s!

  • CBDenver

    After reading Jonah Goldberg's “Liberal Fascism” it is no surprise that the supporters of fascism here in the USA (i.e. academics) also supported national fascism in Germany.

  • Steven L

    The claim that massive anti-semitism cannot take place in the US is a farce and the left and liberal American Jews will live to regret it and be among the victims just like it was in Europe.

  • clark81

    Congratulations, you're an unhinged sociopath. How does it feel to be an impotent loser?

  • clark81

    What you describe is merely the basic underlying principle of conservative thought: a society's traditions and institutions are the aggregate sum of its wisdom, and the considered and selfless submission to eternal principles and the acceptance of one's place in the organic tapestry of the life of a people is to be preferred to the selfish, restless and reckless pursuit of individual 'freedom' and autonomy. Real conservatism has always had a “collectivist” bent because its fundamental tenets are fidelity and fealty to tradition and the subordination of personal goals and desires to the concept of divine order.

  • clark81

    And the classic mistake of unhinged idealogues is to make fealty to the “right” beliefs the measure of a man. Do we then dismiss every thinker who has ever backed the “wrong” end of a political dispute? How then should we evaluate Jefferson, Washington, Madison – slaveholders all? How about Martin Luther? Is his thought reducible solely to anti-Semitism? You speak against imagined totalitarianism with the ruthless simplicity of purpose of a totalitarian mind.

  • kshapero

    True enough, this is the dilemma that all good people face. But in the final analysis Eliade was just another ethno-centric bigot.It always came back to Christianity(which I have no quarrel with). He was just the country preacher with a lot of smarts and degrees. I was duped the whole time. Read his books now and you can see for yourself.

  • clark81

    Riiiiiiight.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eric-Roth/1065726286 Eric Roth

    Detailed, depressing, and illuminating. I'm afraid that the “oldest hatred” remains far too strong in far too many places – including too many U.S. campuses.

    It's worth reflecting on the popularity of fascism on the “best” American college campuses in the 1930s. Eugenics certainly played a role. The desire for peace at any costs was another.

  • diginess

    I honestly don't think Jewish people are in much danger in America today. When I think of skinheads, I think black people are in more danger from them by far than Jewish.
    It is true that there are real dangers of totalitarianism today. We should pay close attention to the expansion of powers of the presidency. Also, elect people to congress who like to cut costs. Watch out for the slow degradation of individual rights to information by the media industry. Protect government whistle blowers.

  • 080

    All of the above is true but one must remember the climate of opinion. About 80% of the American people were opposed to our entry into WWII. Those were the days that Father Coughlin held forth on the air waves. His constituencies were largely Irish and German, two ethnic groups that had their own reasons to oppose the Jews. It would be very interesting to track the ethnicity of all these presidents of universities. Remember that Charles Lindbergh was challenged to identify the forces that were drawing us into war. He named three: The Roosevelt Administration, the British, and the Jews. With the benefit of hindsight I can only say Good for Them.

  • sensible

    Breathtaking imagination, that comment of yours. I'm overwhelmed.

    As for the answer to your question: just look in the mirror, and ask it. Then come back and post your response; I'd genuinely like to know.

    Thanks for your vital contribution. I'm sure we're all the richer for it.

  • sternlight

    Antisemitism wasn't just an aberration. It was official policy. Many Ivy league colleges had a Jewish quota as recently as the 1950's, until it was exposed by a front-page article in the New York Times. To my own alma mater, MIT's credit, it was one of the few top New England colleges and universities without such a quota system by then.

    Let's not forget that much of American opper class society was virulently anti-Semitic during this period; there were many hotels, resorts, and country clubs with a “no Jews, Blacks, or Dogs” policy. This persists to this day in certain upper-class clubs even in such “enlightened” major cities such as Los Angeles, where one mayor was denied the traditional honorary membership in the Jonathan Club because he was black. The other major elite club, the California Club, had a no Jewish members policy until relatively recently. Jews had, in fact, to start their own country clubs in order to play tennis and golf, and socialize. I, myself, as a senior executive of a major oil company, would have been automatically accepted as a member of those two key Los Angeles clubs, but was not because I was Jewish.

    Despite a veneer of liberalism,antisemitism is still alive and well in America's upper classes to this day; this is no long-dead historical artifact. And it has nothi8ng to do with Israel.