Monday, January 10, 2011
By Jonathan Harris
In Thomas C. Mandes Washington Times article More Than 10,000 Jews Fought For The Confederacy we find that "The largest ethnic group to serve the Confederacy. . . was made up of first-, second- and third-generation Jewish lads." Mandes goes on to quote Rabbi Korn of Charleston who stated, "Nowhere else in America - certainly not in the Antebellum North - had Jews been accorded such an opportunity to be complete equals as in the old South." Officers Abraham Myers and Adolph Proskauer joined the ranks of the nations finest men in defending what they deemed to be northern aggression. V.M.I cadet Moses Jacob Ezekiel represented their view well when he stated, "We were not fighting for the perpetuation of slavery, but for the principle of States Rights and Free Trade, and in defense of our homes which were being ruthlessly invaded." It's unfortunate that in the years following the War for Southern Independence the myriads of Jewish immigrants who settled in the North possessed no introduction to the previous struggle of their very own kinsmen who were predominately Southerners.
In fact, one of the most important officials in the confederate government was of Jewish descent. Judah P. Benjamin:
. . .was a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives and a U.S. Senator Louisiana; he was the second Jewish senator in U.S. history. Following the formation of the Confederate States of America, he held three different Cabinet posts in the government of Jefferson Davis. He was the first Jewish Cabinet-member in a North American government, and the first Jew seriously considered for nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court (he declined an offer of nomination twice).
In contrast to this was the way the Northern army treated her Jewish soldiers. "Gen. Robert E. Lee allowed his Jewish soldiers to observe all holy days, while Gens. Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman issued anti-Jewish orders." One of the most infamous anti-Jewish orders issued by Grant was referred to as General Order Number 11 and it expelled all Jews from Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. Lincoln later reversed Grant's order- an order that would never have been needed to be reversed in the Confederate army.
Skirball (Jewish) Cultural Center near Los Angeles, California. While there I noticed an exhibit on the way Jewish people were treated during the "Civil War." Not surprisingly Grant's order was viewed as the typical white racism of the time, and Lincoln's revocation was hailed as a monumental accomplishment toward multiculturalism. What was missing though was the Confederacy. It was as if it really didn't matter to Jewish history that Judah P. Benjamin was one of the most influential Jewish men in American history or that the vast majority of Jews fought for the South. When I asked a docent why this was the case she told me that at one time there was a whole section on Mr. Benjamin, but things had to be "moved around." I immediately knew what that meant. Someone complained. Not only has Confederate history been whitewashed but so has Jewish history. What seems to matter now is how the Jewish socialists who came to America in the 1880s and 1920s seem to view their history, and for them the Confederacy is not a part of it. How long before American history itself completely vanishes in the name of political correctness? We've already witnessed a major Southern university loose its mascot, symbol, and fight song because of their association with the Confederacy, a fraternity loose the ability to allow confederate uniforms to be worn to its traditional balls, and a "Confederate History Month" castigated by every major media outlet. Cultural genocide is on the march and traditional values will not be spared. Their memory will be erased from the annals of time unless we pass it down to our children. After all, we can't rely on the culture we live in to do it for us.