REPLY TO HENRY FORD.
War Record of American Jews Cited in Answer to Attack.
To the Editor of The New York Times:
The challenge of The American Hebrew to Henry Ford, as published in your issue this morning should have the approval of every right-thinking citizen of this country, Jew or Gentile, or of any religion or derived nationality. The unwarranted attacks upon an honorable element of American life, based upon forgery and bigotry of the lowest order, by a millionaire in ignorance of basic truth, swollen in egotism and lamentably lacking in the truly American principle of fair play, should be made to cease and a contemptuous punishment applied.
The assumption of American citizenship and the honorable fulfillment of its duties and obligations, as exemplified by the American Jew in our passage at arms with Germany, should be compared to the war record of the Fords, father and son, for the information of the people at large, to identify accused and accusers. We have the element under attack, the Jewish population of America, forming approximately 3 per cent of our nation, who furnished over 200,000 soldiers for our army, one-third more than their quota, 40,000 of whom volunteered their services.
While the Fords were making millions in safety of person and pocketbook, the Jewish element of our A.E.F. were earning nearly 5 per cent. of our Government's awards for valor in battle. Three men of the seventy-eight selected by the commander in Chief for the highest military award of the nation, the Congressional Medal of Honor, were Jews, and it so happens they represent the first, second and third generations of their families in our country.
It has been reported in the public press that Ford admitted ignorance as to the history of his own country. Perhaps it is pertinent to invite his attention to one point in our early Colonial history which bears a near relation to his present ignoble attacks. That is the right to freedom of worship in America, a fundamental of our Government which originally appeared in a Colonial charter of 1647, the world's first declaration of formal and legal establishment of freedom of faith and worship. Does he, in his enjoyment of the privileges of American citizenship, know that this right became his through early efforts of colonists from London in 1638, who formed their Government in Connecticut in 1639 with the Jewish scriptures as their code of laws, and extended their influence to the Rhode Island group, who wrote the world's greatest religious bill of rights in 1647? Some schoolboy should tell Mr. Ford the story of the Charter Oak of those days. Some one should also tell him those fanatical Jews of Revolutionary days who made possible Washington's Valley Forge campaign in the darkest hours of our national birth, who gave their last dollar and borrowed more to give, in order that the United States should reach its destiny as a free nation, according equal religious and civil rights to all citizens.
The love of home and country, even adopted country, of the Jewish citizen, reverence for freedom, sacrifice of life and fortune for those principles are characteristic of the Jews in America. Can that be said of Fords?
New York, Nov. 12, 1920