Mr. Smith, Meet Mr. Cohen

ByJames W. Wise and Lee J. Levinger
THIS cheap and vulgar title disfigures an excellent book which aims, as the authors say, at making American Jews better known to their Gentile neighbors, and perhaps better liked by them. It is done in an admirable spirit, generous, straightforward, dignified. The authors are not attorneys; they have no case, hold no brief, and make no effort to put either the Jew’s or the Gentile’s best foot any further forward than it ought to go. For these reasons their work should be read widely, carefully, and sympathetically. There are one or two errors of fact in it, but they are not serious. Some of its statistics are incomplete. For example, it may very well be that out of nearly a million federal employees only 275 are Jews, but surely the important thing to know is how many of the 275, if any, hold key positions. Again, it may be that only 18 per cent of the members of the New York Stock Exchange are Jews, but how many Jewish brokerage firms, if any, have a Gentile front-office man who holds the seat? Again, the statistics of Jewish immigration are seriously vitiated by the fact that Jews have no political nationality, and therefore under our quota system they can come in under the name of any country whose government chooses to facilitate their transit. Complete statistics would take account of how many, it any, come in as Englishmen, Bolivians, Brazilians, or what not. There is obviously a large opportunity for governmental sharp practice and bureaucratic jiggery-pokery presented here, and it is of equal importance to Jew and Gentile to know what, it anything, is being done with it.
The authors’ chapter on anti-Semitism is the least satisfactory of all. Its analysis is superficial; but deepening it would risk defeat of the book’s: conciliatory purpose. Our readers will find a more competent analysis in Mark Twain’s essay Concerning the Jews, written in Vienna about 1898, and in the eleventh chapter of Salvador de Madariaga’s Christopher Columbus.