Part V: Henry Ford And The Aaron Sapiro Case
February 3, 2014
Henry Ford And The Aaron Sapiro Case
Woeste, Victoria Saker: Henry Ford’s War On Jews And The Legal Battle Against Hate Speech, 2012, UStanford Press.
While Miss Woeste’s main concern in her historical polemic seems to be the struggle to stem criticism of Jewish activities otherwise known as ‘hate’ speech one wonders if she has even read any of Henry Ford’s three autobiographies.
Yet in Ford’s first auto, My Life And Work, he clearly lays out what he is doing and why. Miss Woeste incorporates none of this in her polemic or even attempts to analyze Ford’s motives instead belittling and willfully misinterpreting what he does.
The fact is that Ford was one of the top three admired men of America. Nothing built his reputation so much as his doubling the wages of his workmen which made them aristocrats among labor. Actually the increase was more than a doubling for the least skilled laborers at five dollars a day while the more skilled tasks earned commensurately more, six, seven, eight dollars and more. Ford workers then were comparatively much better off than other workers in Detroit and the nation.
Miss Woeste belittles this by writing that the workers were paid at the two fifty rate with the differential being paid at the end of the year. This is untrue. If Miss Woeste had read Ford’s 1922 auto she would have read that the full amount was paid as part of the worker’s bi-weekly pay. She does reference David L. Lewis’ The Public Image Of Henry Ford in which she would have read the same thing.
If she willfully falsified the information then her credibility is definitely destroyed. If she hadn’t read whatever she did read carefully or just assumed that her way was the way Ford would have done it then her scholarship is seriously compromised.
In any event since her work is of an uncompromised prejudiced attempt to build up her Jews while discrediting Ford it has little scholarly value.
If she had read Ford’s my life and work then she would have learned why he was exposing the machinations of the Jews. His explanation is contained in Chapter VIII of My Life And Work entitled ‘Things In General’ p. 250:
The work which we describe as Studies In The Jewish Question and which is variously described by antagonists as ‘the Jewish campaign,’ the attack on the Jews,’ ‘the anti-Semitic pogrom’ and so forth needs no explanation to those who have followed it. Its motives and purposes must be judged by the work itself. It is offered as a contribution to a question which deeply affects the country, a question which is racial at its source, and which concerns influences and ideals rather than persons. Our statements must be judged by candid readers who are intelligent enough to lay our words alongside life as they are able to observe it. If our words and their observations agree, the case is made. It is perfectly silly to damn us before our statement has been shown baseless or reckless. The first item to be considered is the truth of what we have set forth. And that is primarily the item which our critics choose to evade.
Readers of our articles will see at once that we are not activated by any kind of prejudices, except it may be a prejudice in favour of the principles which have made our civilization. There had been observed in this country certain strains of influence which were causing a marked deteriorization of our literature, amusements, and social conduct; business was departing from its oldtime substantial soundness; a general letting down of standards was felt everywhere. It was not the robust coarseness of the white man, the rude indelicacy say, of Shakespeare’s characters, but a nasty Orientalism which has insidiously affected every channel of expression and to such an extent that it was time to challenge it. The fact that these influences were traceable to one racial source is a fact to be reckoned with, not by us only, but by the intelligent people of the race in question. It is entirely creditable to them steps have been taken by them to remove their protection from the most flagrant violators of American hospitality, but there is still room to discard outworn ideals of racial superiority maintained by economic or intellectually subversive warfare upon Christian society.
Our work does not pretend to say the last word on the Jew in America. It says only the word which describes his obvious impress on the country. When that impress is changed, the report of it can be changed. For the present, then, the question is wholly in the Jews’ hands. If they are as wise as they claim to be, they will labor to make Jews Americans, instead of laboring to make Americans Jewish. The genius of the United States of America is Christian in the broadest sense, and its destiny is to remain Christian. This carries no sectarian meaning with it, but relates to a basic principle which differs from other principles in that it provides for liberty with morality, and pledges society to a code of relations based on fundamental Christian conceptions of human rights and duties.
As for prejudice or hatred against persons, that is neither American nor Christian. Our opposition is only to ideas, false ideas, which are sapping the moral stamina of the people. These ideas proceed from easily identifiable sources. They are promulgated by easily discoverable methods; and they are controlled by mere exposure. We have simply used the method of exposure. When the people learn to identify the source and nature of the influence swirling around them it is sufficient. Let the American people once understand that it is not natural degeneracy but subversion that affects us, and they are safe. The explanation is the cure.
This work was taken up without personal motives. When it reached a stage where we believed the American people could grasp the key, we let it rest for the time. Our enemies say that we began it for revenge and that we laid it down in fear. Time will show that our critics are merely dealing in evasion because they dare not tackle the main question. Time will also show that we are better friends to the Jews’ best interests than are those who praise them to their faces and criticize them behind their backs.
One can say that Miss Woeste claiming to represent all her people, every one without exception, dares not grapple with the facts still. In fact she misrepresents them. Nor has the attitude changed. To quote Gerald L.K. Smith who was a witness: (
The moment the manuscripts dealing with the Jewish problem reached the public a terrific howl went up from official Jewry. If I were to summarize the campaign of reprisal and abuse which was carried on against Mr. Ford and his Company, this summary alone would require a book. Every instrument of torture and abuse which could be imagined was carried on against Mr. Ford — smear, character assassination, ridicule, physical threat, boycott. The pressure was constant, consistent and endless. The most powerful and enigmatic pressures imaginable were brought to bear on Mr. Ford to stop the publication of ‘’The International Jew.’’ Finally the order came through to cease publication and to destroy the copies which were available. Jews and others went into the bookstores and bought and destroyed all copies and to steal the report out of the libraries. This made the book so rare and unfindable that it became a collector’s item.
Just as Ford was blasted in the 1920s so is he now as Miss Woeste’s polemic attests. Yet neither then nor now with Miss Woeste as an example were facts employed.
Ford wrote, actually dictated, three auto-biographies in his lifetime. Perhaps I am doing Miss Woeste a small injustice in doubting that she ever read them but if she has what she read doesn’t appear in her polemic.
For some strange reason she includes a rather detailed account of a blood libel trial in Russia called the Beilis Affair. Neither Ford nor Sapiro had anything to do with the Beilis case. What purpose does bringing it up serve?
She interjects another detailed account of the Leo Frank murder case in Atlanta, Georgia. True both Beilis and Frank were Jews but nothing in these two accounts pertains in any way to the Sapiro charges against Ford. How is the Ford trial affected by them? Miss Woeste demurs to explain.
In his 1922 auto published just after the first series of articles in which Ford gives valid reasons for publishing the Independent articles Ford also discusses in a number of places his views of the farm situation. One would think Miss Woeste might quote them giving us some idea of what Ford did think contra Sapiro.
We don’t even get an account of exactly what Sapiro was doing or thought he was doing. We have no idea of the results of his activities.
Sapiro’s activities were in the public sphere hence open to review and criticism. Having read the book twice I can’t tell you anything about Sapiro’s plan, that was even known as the Sapiro Plan, according to Miss Woeste.
There were other cooperative plans. How did they function and how did Sapiro differ from them and better them as Miss Woeste claims. Nothing. Instead we are told this was the first hate speech trial and Louis Marshall sabotaged it. Lewis Marshall was one of the Jews’ own.
We weren’t even given any examples of Ford’s hate speech to judge, just told he did it. Not even something like (Expletive deleted) the Jews. What were the hateful comments Ford made? Why was Ford even concerned about Sapiro’s activities unless he wasn’t doing anything for the farmers while collecting exorbitant fees, which he was.
Well, we’ll never learn from reading Henry Ford’s War On Jews. We won’t even really learn that much about the war. Very little substance there also.
What we do learn the most about is the Jewish attempt to turn the trial from a critique of Sapiro’s activities that might have had some similarities to fraud or the long con game to the irrelevant one of Ford purposely attempting to defame Jews rather than expose them.
Personally I don’t find Miss Woeste proving one or the other.
I don’t even know why she wrote this book, to expose this example of the waste of a court’s time, I guess.
Parts I, II and IV are found on my contemporarynotes.wordpress.com site. III and V are here.