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Cedars of Lebanon: A Defense of American Rights

- Abstract

Last month, on the occasion of the American Jewish Committee’s Half-Century Observance Conference (held at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City), this department offered an excerpt from the papers of Louis Marshall: Champion of Liberty, two volumes edited by Charles Reznikoff, with an introduction by Oscar Handlin. Sponsored by the American Jewish Committee (whose president Marshall was from 1912 until his death in 1929), the work appears this month under the imprint of the Jewish Publication Society.

Here we publish a second selection, an address (somewhat abridged) that Marshall delivered in New York City on January 19, 1911, to the twenty-second council of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. This speech deals with a matter about which Marshall was passionately concerned both as an American and a Jew: the refusal of the Czarist government to permit American citizens of Jewish descent to enter Russia. Marshall takes the stand that Russia’s discriminatory action was an insult not only to American Jews but to the sovereignty of the United States, and argues that America’s acquiescence in it constituted a betrayal of her most sacred principles. Indefatigable in his efforts to get this flagrant breach of international law corrected, Marshall wrote a letter on the subject to the editor of the New York Times as late as August 24, 1916. But only with the fall of the Czarist government in March 1917 was the problem disposed of.—ED.

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