History 388, Winter 2011
Professor Susan A. Glenn
Office: 316-B Smith, ph.206-543-9429
Office Conference Hours: Tuesday and Thursday after class and by appt.
THE JEW AS “OTHER”: ANTISEMITISM IN AMERICA
“Whether we like to admit it or not, the result of the mixture of two races, in the long run, gives us a race reverting to the more ancient, generalized and lower type....The cross between a white man and a negro is a negro...; and the cross between any of the three European races and a Jew is a Jew.”
--Madison Grant, The Passing of the Great Race (1916)
“No part of said property hereby conveyed shall ever be used or occupied by any Hebrew [Jew] or by any person of the Ethiopian [African], Malay[Filipino] or any Asiatic Race…excepting only employees in the domestic service on the premises of persons qualified hereunder as occupants and uses and residing on the premises.”
--Racial Restrictive Covenant, Property Deed, Seattle, Washington, Broadmoor Neighborhood, (c. 1928)
“The Jews are a people who are `lost,’ wandering over the face of the earth as parasites...They are a pestilence which has forced itself upon our attention.”
--Liberation, [Published by William Dudley Pelley] Asheville, North Carolina,
December 2, 1933
“Jew is only the name we give to that stranger, that agony we cannot feel, that death we look at like a cold abstraction. Each man has his Jew; it is the other. And the Jews have their Jews.”
--Arthur Miller, Incident at Vichy (1965)
“Ah, the American Establishment! I marvel at the dirtiness of its cold, cruel, filthy, dirty, evil, rotten, corrupt whore’s heart. The `Establishment’ today is of course primarily a Jewish Establishment.”
--Common Sense, [Publication of the Christian Educational Assn.]
Union, New Jersey, November 15, 1967
"The Jews have been kicked out of nearly every country they have ever been in for crimes against the people of those countries and made up the Holocaust for their own financial gain."
--Interview with a member of a contemporary American white supremacist group, quoted in Kathleen Blee, Inside Organized Racism (2002)
Historians frequently refer to the United States as the great “exception” to the general historical pattern of anti-Jewish persecution in Europe. The Jews of the United States were never the victims of state-sponsored inquisitions, expulsions, pogroms, or holocausts. Yet as we shall see in this course, even in the relatively free and more inclusive society of the United States, Jews faced considerable prejudice, discrimination, and, at times, outright violence. Many of the same ideas and attitudes that culminated in the extermination of Europe’s Jews contributed in less catastrophic ways to Jew-hatred (antisemitism) in the United States. This course examines the history of anti-Jewish ideology and anti-Jewish activity in the United States from the end of the nineteenth century to the present, the relationship between antisemitism and racism, and the response of Jewish organizations and individuals to patterns of anti-Jewish prejudice and discrimination.
Class Participation. Your contribution to class discussion counts for 30% of your course grade. It is vital that everyone comes to class each week prepared to discuss and critically engage the issues and questions raised in our assigned readings. A good way to prepare is to select three key passages from the reading and write out a few thoughts about these passages that you can share with the class. Bring these to class (I may occasionally collect them at the end of class). What do you find especially significant and compelling about these passages, what do you find puzzling and why? Consider author, intent, audience, and historical context. Whom was the author trying to convince? What was the message? What rhetorical and/or ideological strategy did the author deploy?
Writing Assignments. This is a W (writing) course. You are required to write three essays on topics growing out of the assigned readings. The first two essays (20 % each) should be 5-6 pages (double-spaced, 12 pt font, in Times New Roman). A paragraph under or over the specified page length is fine. Essay due dates and instructions are indicated in the syllabus. The final essay (30%) should be 10 pages and covers assignments for the last three weeks of class. Instructions for the final essay will distributed later in the quarter. You are permitted to re-write the first essay and your grade will be adjusted for significant improvement. If you opt for a re-write, please turn in the original with the new version. All re-writes are due one week after your first paper is returned to you.
A note on essay form:
Avoid using excessively long quotations. Select brief passages that powerfully and vividly convey key ideas and attitudes. Attribute all quoted statements! When you quote a passage, tell us who is speaking and cite the original source of the statement.
Remember that quoted passages never speak for themselves. Analyze the meaning of all quoted passages. Cite the documents and sources you use. You may use either endnotes or footnotes. If you use Microsoft Word, and have never used the footnote or endnote function, click on "Insert" on the tool bar. Please ask me if you need help with this!
For the form of endnotes or footnotes, follow the “Chicago Manual of Style.” A convenient on-line summary can be found on the University of Wisconsin website http://www.wisc.edu/writing/Handbook/DocChicago.html
Warning! More than one absence, repeated lateness, or failure to complete all writing assignments will result in a failing grade for the course. Except in cases of illness or emergency, late papers will be graded down. If you are ill, or are unable to meet required deadlines, please contact me immediately and explain the circumstances.
*Xeroxed Reading Packet: (The packet must be purchased at Ave Copy Center, located at 4141University Way. Phone (206) 633-1837.
The following required books are available at University Bookstore and on reserve at Odegaard:
Neil Baldwin, Henry Ford and the Jews (2001)
Leonard Dinnerstein, Antisemitism in America (1994)
Arthur Miller, Focus (1945)
Kathleen Blee, Inside Organized Racism (2002)
Other readings posted on https://catalyst.uw.edu/workspace/glenns/9007
SCHEDULE OF READING AND WRITING ASSIGNMENTS:
Please come to class having read the assigned material for that due date.
*Readings with an asterisk are in the Xeroxed Reading Packet.
**Readings with a double asterisk are posted as pdf files on the Catalyst webpage for this course: https://catalyst.uw.edu/workspace/glenns/9007
WEEK 1: Stereotypes: Theory and Practice
(1/4) Read: In-Class handout, ** Preface and Chapter IV, The International Jew, vol.1 (l920)
(1/6) Read: *Sander L. Gilman, “What are Stereotypes and Why Use Texts
to Study Them?” from Difference and Pathology (PDF Catalyst)
Leonard Dinnerstein, Antisemitism in America, chapters 3-4.
Questions for discussion:
What are the key images of and fears regarding Jews in The International Jew? What are the distinguishing qualities of these stereotypes of Jews? Does the author of the text claim these are unique to Jews? How does the text manipulate these images?
How does historian Sander Gilman (in reading packet) understand the significance of stereotypes for the way human beings organize their views of the world and form their individual and collective identities? What is Dinnerstein’s interpretation of the causes of antisemitism in the United States? What are the key stereotypes of Jews in the late l9th century?
WEEK 2: Jew Hatred in the American Heartland
(1/11- Read: Neil Baldwin, Henry Ford and the Jews (chapters 1-12)
(1/13) Read: Baldwin, Henry Ford, complete the book
Questions for discussion: What were the key images of and ideas about Jews that Henry Ford held and promoted and where did these ideas come from? What were the “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion”? What was Ford’s role in helping to introduce the “Protocols” to the American public? How could Ford claim to be shocked the Rabbi Franklin objected to Ford’s use of the “Protocols” and other anti-Jewish ideology in his publications? Hitler admired Henry Ford? Was the admiration mutual? Was Ford a Nazi sympathizer?
Historian Sander Gilman (reader for week 1) discusses the “protean” (shifting and inconsistent) nature of stereotypes. Does this apply to the key stereotypes of Jews promoted by Henry Ford and his associates? Was/is it possible to hold two contradictory sets of beliefs about Jews, that is, was/is it possible to both admire and hate Jews? And, if so, what does this reveal about the complex nature of prejudice? What were the racial components of anti-Semitic thought in the early 20th century? And how did ideas about Jews as a “race” mesh with ideas about the Jewish character and mind?
WEEK 3 “I am Not a Jew-Hater”
Read: (1/18) No class meeting on Tuesday afternoon.
Read: (1/20) *Father Charles Coughlin, “Am I an Anti-Semite?” (l938)
Leonard Dinnerstein, Antisemitism in America, chapters 5-6
Questions for discussion:
Henry Ford, Father Charles Coughlin and others who promoted anti-Jewish ideology continued to insist that they were not Jew-haters. Was this self-defense and self-justification or self-delusion? What rhetorical strategies do Ford and Coughlin use to make their cases before the public? Was Ford a Nazi sympathizer? Was Coughlin a Jew-hater? To what extent should we attribute the rising tide of anti-Jewish sentiment to the economic crisis of the l930s? Did the Depression cause people to blame Jews for their problems or intensify previously existing prejudices?
WEEK 4: From Stereotypes to Violence: l930s and l940s
*Stephen H. Norwood “Marauding Youth and the Christian Front” (PDF, Catalyst)
* Donald S. Strong, Organized Anti-Semitism in America (l941)
*“FBI Agents Arrest 18 in U.S. Revolt Plot,” Los Angeles Times, Jan. 15, 1940, p.1
*The Councils of Safety of The Christian Party, Master Councillor’s Address: “The Bended Twig,” (n.d. circa mid l930s)
*“Christian Vigilantes Arise! Boycott the Movies!” Anti-Semitic
*Solomon Andhil Fineberg, “The Theory of Attack,” and “The Importance of Poise,” from Overcoming Anti-Semitism (l943)
Questions for Discussion:
What was the process by which prejudice toward Jews turned into violence against Jews? Who were the perpetrators and victims of actual and planned attacks by pro-Nazi and other anti-Jewish hate groups and individuals in l930s and l940s America? What was the context in which these attacks took place? What ideas and assumptions motivated the perpetrators? To what extent these ideas and assumptions about Jews related to those published in Henry Ford’s Dearborn Independent?
How did various spokesmen for the Jewish community and sympathetic non-Jews respond to anti-Jewish prejudice and what did they think was the best defense? Were there serious divisions among Jews over how to respond?
***First Essay Assignment: Select one discussion theme or question either from Week 3 or from Week 4. Write a 5-6 page analytical essay. Your essay must incorporate at least one of the primary source readings in the Xeroxed reader for the week you select. When discussing your primary source material, be sure to discuss when the document was produced, who produced it and why?
Due by 11:00 p.m. on Friday 2/4. You may deliver your essay to my mailbox in 315 Smith, or you may send your essay as a "Word" attachment to my email: email@example.com
WEEK 5: Official Barriers and “Gentleman’s Agreements”
Read: (2/1) On-line: “Data Base” of 414 Residential Deeds in the “Segregated Seattle” Unit of the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor Project Website: http://depts.washington.edu/civilr/covenants.htm
* Irving Spiegel, “`Unyielding’ Bias Found in Housing,” New York Times,
Jan.29, 1959 [Xeroxed reader)
* Charles Grutzner, “U.S. Unit Here Gets Housing Bias Data,” New York Times,
Feb.4, 1959 [Xeroxed reader]
Read: 2/3 *N [athan] C. Belth, ed. Barriers: Patterns of Discrimination
Against Jews (l958) [Xeroxed reader].
*Watch the l947 film, Gentleman’s Agreement (Odegaard Media Center)
*Watch some of the television dramas on combating discrimination in l950s America produced by the American Jewish Committee and other organizations: http://www.ajcarchives.org/main.php?GroupingId=250
Questions for Discussion:
Residential racial covenants that restricted the sale, rental, or physical occupation of real estate were common in the l920s and l930s. Although the Supreme Court ruled in l948 that they were not legally enforceable, these restrictive covenants remained on the books in most cities and were informally enforced as so-called “Gentleman’s Agreements.” What can we learn about the racial status of Jews in 20th century America by studying the wording of residential restrictive covenants in Seattle and other formal and informal barriers in the areas of housing, employment, and social clubs such as college fraternities that persisted into the l950s and beyond? Who or what is to blame and what are the proposed solutions?
WEEK 6: The Jew in the American House of Mirrors
Read (2/8): Arthur Miller, Focus (1945), chapters 1-12
Questions for Discussion:
How does Arthur Miller’s 1945 novel Focus comment upon the relationship between anti-Semitism and racism? How does it comment on the psychological dimensions of prejudice? What does this novel about mistaken Jewish identity reveal about perceptions of and attitudes toward Jews in wartime America and about the nature and dynamics of prejudice more generally?
2/10 Read: Miller, Focus complete the book
Questions for Discussion: Do Newman’s attitudes toward Jews change as a result of his own ordeal? He is “the Jew,” but does he come to identify with “Jews”? Is Newman a victim? Is he a perpetrator? What role or symbolic value does the Finkelstein have in Miller's novel? Does Newman's attitude toward Finkelstein and Jews in general change by the end of the story? Does Newman become a hero by the end of the story? How relevant is this novel to conditions in the U.S today, either with regard to Jews in particular or to other minority groups?
Recommended: Compare and contrast the tone, characters, narrative development, dramatic qualities, the moral perspectives, and the endings Miller’s l945 novel and the l962 NBC Television Drama of Focus. What historical shifts might help explain the differences?
Recommended: watch the l962 Television Drama “Focus” (Parts 1 and Parts 2). Produced by NBC and the AJC (American Jewish Committee).
WEEK 7 Why the Swastika “Epidemic”?
Read: (2/15) the items below are all in the Xeroxed reader.
* “Atlanta Opens Case in Temple Bombing,” New York Times, Dec.3, 1958
* “Nazi Plot Thwarted in 2 Jersey Schools,” New York Times, May 1, l959
*Anti-Jewish Acts in Germany Grow,” New York Times, Dec. 30, l959
*Neo-Nazi Outrages,” New York Times, Dec.31, 1959
* “Third Synagogue in City is Defaced,” New York Times, Jan.4, 1960
* “Be on Guard for Bigotry, Adults Told,” New York Times, Jan.5, 1960
* “Swastika Smear,” New York Times, Jan. 9, 1960
* “President Scores `Virus of Bigotry’,” New York Times, Jan. 13, 1960
* “Treason Charged to Queens `Nazi’,” New York Times, Jan.16, 1960
* “Kansas City Bomb Rocks Synagogue,” New York Times, Jan. 29, 1960
*Bombing Inquiry Finds `Nazi’ Group,” New York Times, Jan.30, l960
2/17 Read: * Oscar Cohen, The Swastika `Epidemic’ and Anti-Semitism in America(Anti-Defamation League, l960)
*The Swastika Outbreak, Recommendations and Review by the American Jewish Congress 
*Joseph P. Kamp, The Bigots Behind the Swastika Spree (1960)
*Swastika 1960: The Epidemic of Anti-Semitic Vandalism
(Anti-Defamation League, l961)
*Thomas J. Dodd, Senate Speech, Congressional Record, l960
*Ann G. Wolfe, "Why the Swastika Epidemic"? (l962)
Dinnerstein, Antisemitism in America, chapter 8, and pp.188-196.
Questions for Discussion
What was the “Swastika Epidemic” of the late l950s and early l960s and why was it significant? Was the epidemic related to or different from other types of attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions in this same time period? What were the international and domestic interpretations of the “epidemic” and how did these relate to the context of Cold War politics? How did the Anti-Defamation. League, the American Jewish Congress and other Jewish groups explain, and respond to these incidents and attacks? How did ideologues like Joseph Kamp explain these incidents and attacks? What is the relationship between the statements made by Kamp and Senator Dodd (Dem.) on the causes of the epidemic?
***Second Essay Assignment: Using at least three primary sources from the readings from Week 7 on the Swastika Epidemic, write a 6-7 page essay comparing and contrasting differing points of view on the reasons for the swastika epidemic and the larger significance of the attacks. When discussing your primary source material, be sure to discuss when the document was produced, who produced it and why?
Due by 11:00 p.m. on 2/25 by email "Word" attachment or in my mailbox in 315 Smith).
WEEK 8: Jew-Hatred in Contemporary America
2/22 Read: Dinnerstein, Anti-Semitism in America, chapter 11
Kathleen Blee, Inside Organized Racism, intro and chapters 1-3 and study photographs and images following chapter 3
Questions for Discussion: How do contemporary hate groups characterize Jews? What are the differences and similarities between their ideas and images of Jews and those of Henry Ford and others earlier anti-Jewish ideologues we have read about in this class? How relevant are the “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” to the ideologies of contemporary hate groups? How important are racial ideas about Jews? How does gender come into play in the thinking of contemporary racist groups and what is the role of women in the culture of violence? If Neo-Nazi and other extremist groups hate the idea of “the Jew,” why do some of these groups refer to themselves as the “true Jews?”
2/24 Read: Finish reading Blee, Inside Organized Racism
In conjunction with your reading for this week and next week, I would like you to examine at least one website from a contemporary anti-hate group such as the Anti-Defamation League. http://www.adl.org (see especially the section on “Extremism” and look at the separate sections: Introduction, Individuals, and Groups, Extremism by State, Extremist Events, and Hate Symbols Database). And/or look at the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Project: http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intpro.jsp
The Southern Poverty Law Center has also produced a video on the issue:
Hate.com: Extremists on the Internet (Southern Poverty Law Center, 2000). Odegaard Library Media Center FFH11204
WEEK 9: Jew Hatred in Contemporary America, continued
3/1 Read: Camille Jackson, “Fightin’ Words” (2004) (Southern Poverty Law Center) This article discusses the history and impact of The Turner Diaries as well as other white supremacist fantasy literature).
**William L. Pierce (aka Andrew Macdonald, pseudonym) The Turner Diaries, chapters 1-10/ Pdf on Catalyst site (under articles and chapters). Reader discretion advised: this is a sickening and morally obscene racist fantasy written by a key figure in the White Supremacist movement. According to a number of authorities, it has influenced the violent acts of racist and anti-government groups in the U.S.
3/3 The Turner Diaries, complete
Questions for Discussion: I would like you to compare the attitudes discussed in Blee’s book on organized racism with the images and attitudes in The Turner Diaries, thinking about the spectrum of racist ideas and the manifestations of extreme racism that advocates violence and genocide. What are the key characteristics of the narrator and the other white supremacists depicted in The Turner Diaries? What are “white” traits and “white” values? What are the key characteristics, traits, and values of Blacks, Jews and other minority groups depicted in this racist fantasy? How is violence directed against the “System” explained and justified by the author? How is violence against ethnic and racial minorities explained and justified? Is The Turner Diaries an “American” story? Why or why not?
Week 10: Wrap up and Review
(3/8-3/10) Final essay topics and instructions will be distributed in advance and discussed this week.