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Henry Ford's War on Jews and the Legal Battle Against Hate Speech$
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Victoria Saker Woeste

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804772341

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804772341.001.0001

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Taking It to the Streets

Taking It to the Streets

(p.89) 3 Taking It to the Streets
Henry Ford's War on Jews and the Legal Battle Against Hate Speech
Stanford University Press

In December 1920, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) published a pamphlet, “The Protocols, Bolshevism, and the Jews,” in response to the anti-Semitic articles that appeared in Henry Ford's newspaper Dearborn Independent. The pamphlet generated a wave of positive publicity for AJC, which was framing the debate according to Marshall's strategy: an attack on Jewish civil rights was also an attack on American civil rights. Marshall wanted to end Ford's war on Jews by reminding Americans of the danger of violating their rights as citizens. He and his fellow Jews found allies in urban mayors and police chiefs, who relied on criminal libel laws to ban sales of the Independent on city streets. Also condemning Ford's anti-Semitism were former U.S. Presidents William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson, who signed a protest statement together with more than a hundred church leaders, politicians, artists, literary figures, and educators. This chapter examines the wave of protests generated by Ford's anti-Semitic articles and focuses on some of the prominent figures involved, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Herman Bernstein.

Keywords:   American Jewish Committee, Henry Ford, Dearborn Independent, civil rights, Jews, American Civil Liberties Union, Herman Bernstein, protests, anti-Semitism, libel

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