Friday, October 12, 2012

When Will Alan Dershowitz Change the Name of the Ford Foundation?

Ford Foundation Headquarters. Source.
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. A faked book used to facilitate the murder of Jews.
Half a million copies were funded and distributed by Henry Ford. 

I sent the following comments to Mike Kelly of

Three separate and important points must be made about the Chester Grabowski controversy.

First, Chester Grabowski is by no means representational of Polish-Americans or Polish-American culture. Those who support him insist that he is representational. They do this to align him with all Polonia, to speak as if he spoke for all Polonia. Some who criticize him would also like him to be representational of all Polonia. "See," they will want to say. "These Polaks are nothing but primitive anti-Semites."

This is not the case. Grabowski's fame and influence are limited to his immediate neighborhood and to his readers.

Most Polonians do not refer to Jews as Christ killers. Most Polonians do not find the KKK acceptable.

If you want to find Polonians typical of those engaged in Polish-Jewish dialogue today, look to people like Terese Pencak Schwartz, Polish by birth, Jewish by conversion, who publishes about non-Jews who suffered under the Nazis. There is a world of difference between her approach and that of Mr. Grabowski. Her work has reached more people.

In fact, the Polonians who do support Grabowski probably support him because of his help and his enthusiasm for Polish culture, not because of his anti-Semitic comments.

Second, as a Polish-American, I hope that the park is not named after Mr. Grabowski. I do not see him as a fit representative of Polonia.

There is a final point, though. Clifton is not a center of world power. Mr Grabowski was not a man who wielded a great deal of power. Most people ten miles from the park in question will never have heard of it. Alan Dershowitz vowed to drag the issue of the renaming of the park before the entire world. The renaming of a park in Clifton, NJ after a man who made anti-Semitic comments is not an event of world historical import.

Why, then, is Alan Dershowitz paying so much attention to this matter?

Polonians are troubled by what appears to them to be a double standard. To understand this double standard, please consider: Why isn't Alan Dershowitz attempting to change the name of the Ford Foundation? This foundation is named for Henry Ford, one of the most influential anti-Semites in American history.

Henry Ford's anti-Semitic activity included publishing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and manufacturing war materiel for Nazi Germany. Nowadays, though, "The Ford Foundation" is an unimpeachable, benign institution. No doubt we have sites named after Joseph P. Kennedy and Charles Lindbergh, other notorious American anti-Semites or supporters of Nazism. Why isn't Dershowitz going after these? The answer is twofold. One is that a Clifton park is easy pickings; the Ford Foundation is a multibillion dollar endowment.

The second answer is a bit more disturbing. As my book, "Bieganski," demonstrates, the Brute Polak image has been used to epitomize the archetypal hater. When Polaks hate, that hate is far more dangerous than others' hate.

While I object to it, I cannot deny that naming an obscure park in a little-known city after an anti-Semitic man – and not naming it in honor of his anti-Semitism, but in honor of his good works – would probably not harm anyone. Alan Dershowitz would probably admit the same. The troubling feature for Dershowitz, I suspect, is not so much Grabowski's career as Grabowski's ethnicity. His hate is Polish hate, and Polish hate is understood to be worse, more toxic, more hateful than the hate of men far more powerful and influential – people like Henry Ford.

It is this double standard that so vexes Polonians. When they become hot and bothered about Dershowitz's protest, for the most part, it is not because they are anti-Semites. Most are not. It is, rather, because they are tired of being demonized as Poles. Tired of being turned into the boogeyman. Until people like Dershowitz go after institutions like the Ford Foundation, named for a vastly more influential anti-Semite than Chester Grabowski, all Polonians have ample reason to cringe, and to resist.


  1. Good points, but why stop there? Why, for instance, was Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir not forced to resign in disgrace over his bigoted remark about "Poles imbibing anti-Semitism with their mother's milk"?

    Why wasn't Ann Landers (Eppie Lederer) forced to discontinue her column because of her remark about Poles in general, and Pope John Paul II in particular, being chronically sexually repressed?

    And so on...

  2. Danusha, you say "Most Polonians do not refer to Jews as Christ killers. Most Polonians do not find the KKK acceptable."

    Yup. I have never come across the idea of Jews as "Christ killer", from Poles, Polonians or anyone else - not even in my strict Catholic Convent schooldays. I don't remember hearing anything about Jews at all. There was a Jewish girl in my class, and she like the Protestant girls, did not come into prayers with us.

    It never occurred to me at the time to wonder why the "non-Catholics" didn't pray with us. I understand now of course.

    And I certainly have not come across anybody Polish who supports the KKK! Or to be fair, anybody who does. I can't imagine it has a very large membership.

    The teaching from the Christian Greek Scriptures would correct all those opinions, if people would listen and take it to heart.

    Re your questions Jan, it is of course because Poles have no PC-protection and can be safely insulted. But I am sure you know that as well as I do.

    It always seems worth highlighting these double standards though, as they show that there is a political agenda here.

    And thanks for your blogpost above Danusha. Its very much to the point. If Chester Grabowski's opinions really were as alleged in that article, then I can understand why there is a problem.

    But - it seems to be that same old Orwellian situation. All bigotry is equal - but some is more equal than others.

  3. His hate is Polish hate, and Polish hate is understood to be worse, more toxic, more hateful than the hate of men far more powerful and influential – people like Henry Ford.

    Yes.It is VERY tiresome to be be equated with anti-Semitism while, and this is admitted by people of Jewish faith who are acutally informed, the real anti-Semitism is very scary and very much alive-but not in Poland, but in Sweden,France,Germany,GB,Spain ect. I have Muslim friends who NEVER experience such things,at all.Only me. What makes me very angry is the fact that Westeners treat Poland like a colony.Let me explain-a colony is inhabited by people who are, in the eyes of the colonizer, way below himself. He,gloriously, will "teach" them (the bimbos)", "lift them up" and so on. For this, he does not have to a. understand the native language and b. to understand anything at all. An example: Im a fan of the football team Cracovia.As some of our founders were of Jewish faith we are the "Jewish team" and are called "Zydy" (Jews).We are very proud of all our founders,the history of tolerance-so ,yeah, we are the "Jews",or "Jude gang" and proud of it-
    Of course,that makes the rival team, Wisła,the "Anti-Jude".but, well,they were not born unter the "right star" (their symbol is a white star, while ours is...the Star of David ;-D).Sometimes,insults can turn ugly in the heat of the moment,but,man,it is soccer-not real life.In Europe,there are other "Jewish" teams like Ajax Amsterdam or Tottenham Spurs (their fanclub calls itsel the "Yid Army").And believe me-the fact of being associated with "Jewishness" does indeed breed sympathies and interest for real Jews and Judaism ;-) Whats my point? The point is that anti-Cracovia grafitti (basically, a crossed-out Star of David) is taken as "proof" of "Polish anti-Semitism"-in fact, it is not!Jewish Poles will tell anyone so themselves. But lobotomized PC worshippers do not get this at all-they want to lecture us stupid Polish bimbos about "anti-Semitism" while Jewish people are not feeling save in their respective countries any more. I feel like,basically, an African being lectured by white do-gooders about things the latter does not understand at all,its demeaning and belittling.

    Personally, I think its totally fine that Cracovia is the "Jewish team",its our heritage,and a positive at that. I hope we will NEVER bend to PC terrorism-because giving in means admitting one was "wrong".

    1. Hello Hanno,
      Such sanctimounious attitude is often presented by foreign visitors. They don't know the history of Poland, they can't say a word in our language. They need translators/guides to travel (and don't get lost) and yet those pozers behave like some experts on all things Polish. They make fools of themselves and return to their distant countries. Happy that they just made those Polaks slightly less anti-semitic. All they do is hurting and insulting a lot of good people.
      I can ignore such attitude if it's some American, or Canadian (they live far, far away). But Jews (no matter from what country) are a different case. I expect something better from them. Some knowledge, not stereotypes.
      I can only pity Polish Jews who had doubtful pleasure of meeting those foreign "cousins". It must have been a traumatic experience for them.

    2. When I saw this article, I cried. I was so ashamed of being Polish:



  4. That is a excellent overall point Danusha. It is always a great wonder how Ford, whose business practices and related rejection of government take-over under FDR were admirable to me, gets such a pass on those gruesome aspects of his biography. Having the Ford Foundation definitely helped.

    I think it may all get down to the simple and basic familiarity breeds contempt. Hanna's points are telling in that regard. How many outside of Poland could possibly understand the real meaning behind what seems to be hideous graffiti, not some pretty basic football hooliganism.


  5. Just look at the William Podmore (chief librarian (!) a tthe London School of Osteopathy) character and what he says about Snyder's Bloodlands on amazon (antisemitic, Holodomor did not happen, unclear who killed Poles at Katyn, etc.).

    Or "Tom" from "Rochester" who cuts and pastes every.

    Why does Mr. Podmore still have a job (though apparently he finds enough time to write his reviews and proudlu proclaim that he is a father of four, grandfather of one and, a shocker here, a communist). Yet, Mr. Podmore has his job and is in no way castigated. Any reaction from the Polish embassies or consulates? Zip.


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