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Who You Callin’ a Fascist?

WHY IT MATTERS by George Salamon   “All one can do for the moment is to use the word with a certain amount of circumspection and not, as is usually done, degrade it to the level of a swearword.” —George Orwell, “What is Fascism?” Tribune (UK), 1944   ORWELL’S SUGGESTION survives unheeded today, as “fascist” and […]

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The Short Season, Part 2

HUSTLING FULL-TIME IN THE CATSKILLS by Elliot Podwill   To read Part 1, click here.   THE SOCIAL DARWINIAN universe we inhabited filtered down to adolescent social mores. A friend in high school was on several occasions turned down for dates by girls because his family car was dingy. (No subways or buses ran in South Fallsburg.) […]

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The British Mandate

The League of Nations confirmed the British Mandate for Palestine on this date in 1922, which had been established by Great Britain after World War I, when longstanding Ottoman Turkish control of Palestine proved to threaten British interests in India and Asia. The Mandate placed land stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River — today’s Israel and […]

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American Resistance to World War I

by Bennett Muraskin Discussed in this essay: War against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918, by Michael Kazin. Simon and Schuster, 2017, 400 pages. THE UNITED STATES did not enter World War I until April 1917, over two and a half years after the war began. If the militaristic Theodore Roosevelt had won the presidency in 1912 (he came […]

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Antisemitism in Populist History

by Dusty Sklar THE ANTISEMITISM that has been surging to the surface since Donald Trump became President is in keeping with a tradition of rightwing populist rhetoric that has embraced antisemitism since the late 19th century. Back then, a number of important populist leaders thought Jews to be at the  heart of the problems faced […]

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February 23: Barney Dreyfuss and the World Series

Barney Dreyfuss, who owned the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1900 to 1932 (the team won six pennants and two World Series during that period, led by the outstanding shortstop Honus Wagner), was born in Freiburg, Germany on this date in 1865. Dreyfuss came to the U.S. in 1881 and settled in Paducah, Kentucky, where he rose […]

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“When the Rockets Go Up, Who Cares Where They Come Down?”

by Marty Roth Discussed in this essay: Moonglow, by Michael Chabon. HarperCollins, 2016, 431 pages. MICHAEL CHABON’S latest novel, Moonglow, is a terrific achievement, an assured and dazzling re-encounter with the familiar contours of (Jewish) America in the 20th century. It is also a moving love story, and a valentine to his grandparents. Only the narrator […]

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February 11: Thomas Alva Edison and the Jews

Thomas Alva Edison, modern history’s most prolific and tranformational inventor, with a record 1,093 patents to his name, was born in Milan, Ohio on this date in 1847. Edison (not Jewish) invented  an early motion picture camera and projector in the late 19th century, which soon brought him into conflict with Carl Laemmle and numerous […]

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January 21: The Ellis Island of the West

The Angel Island Immigration Station was opened in the San Francisco Bay on this date in 1910, to serve as the portal — and detention center, often for months at a time — for immigrants entering the U.S. The facility was created primarily to enforce the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which allowed entry only […]

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The Uncivil Servant: Jewish Radicalism, Worldwide

by Mitchell Abidor Discussed in this essay: Revolutionary Yiddishland, by Alain Brissat and Sylvie Klingberg. Verso Books, 2016, 304 pages, indexed. VERSO’S PRAISEWORTHY publication of Alain Brossat and Sylvie Klingberg’s engaging, well-informed, and at times moving Revolutionary Yiddishland comes to us thirty-three years after its initial publication in French, and seven years after its reprinting […]

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