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THE BAD CANON - THE INTERNATIONAL JEW

March 16, 2011, 12:15pm

I love driving. I love it so much that if it was his batshitedness that inspired Ford to invent the Model T, then I'm OK with that. However, The International Jew, Ford's famously anti-Semitic text, while slightly less onerous than I expected, still lives up to its infamous reputation.

Ford's tome is based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the leaked documents of the imaginary Elders of Zion Congress, which, aside from the gobs of proof that it is a forgery, everyone can be confident is fictional because old Jews wouldn't agree on anything, let alone a plot to take over the world. The International Jew, as Ford describes him, is a James Bond-type of financier who travels with deleterious intentions, though to do what Ford doesn't know. Ford alleges that perhaps Jewish James Bond means to make Jews better liked so they can eventually take over? Perhaps it's to further the vague and incredibly stupid plot to take over the world in some other way? Like I said, he doesn't know. Though that didn't stop him from writing a huge number of editorials on the subject for the independently owned and aptly named Dearborn Independent.

The most immediate argument against both The International Jew and the Protocols is "But how come Jews don't know about this?" an argument Ford acknowledges in the text. To his credit, when he mentions the letters to the editor that Jewish-Americans wrote in response to his editorials, indicating that they had no idea what this Congress is and please, Mr. Ford, could you shut the hell up, Ford does not claim that these letters were lies or plants to further the Jewish conspiracy. Instead, he gives a truly inspired answer:

"Many Jews have written The Dearborn Independent saying that they do not know about these racial plans for world control. It may well be believed that they do not. One purpose of these articles is to tell them about it."

Yes, the plan was so secret that even the Jews didn't know about it. Like sleep-eaters, sleep-fuckers, or Zoolander after he meets the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Jews are going to take over the world and none of us even know. Which leaves only the question: how did Ford know about it? It's unclear. Did he intercept an invitation, one that I can only imagine looked like my Bat Mitzvah invitations (purple and white with Stars of David embossed on it)? Is Ford secretly Jewish and his editorials are just another part of what he describes as the "Jewish Press"? Considering that Ford describes Jews as having the "ability to invent new devices for doing business" and that "he is in business" sounds a lot like the pot calling the kettle Jewish from the man who invented the car and revolutionized factory work in America. I don't mean to imply that Ford was Jewish, but by his own logic, one in which he identified invention and business-savvy as Jewish qualities, he certainly was.

Ford took an assembly line approach to writing, by which I mean boring, repetitive, and made mostly of pieces of other works. It includes long passages from the Protocols, with some bungled exposition in between. The rest is direct quotes from Jewish writers, none of which are really damning at all, including one that near-tragically implores America to accept the ideas of Jews just like it accepts the ideas of everyone else. Even in a book of such baseless hate it's stunning that Ford would use that as proof that Jews want to infiltrate and take over. It's such an ingrained hatred when a plea of acceptance gets interpreted as an attack. It's one of the fundamental paradoxes of hatred—that groups are hated both for being different and for wanting to be the same. We talk about tolerance and acceptance, but when a fear of acceptance is at play, in addition to a mere irrational hostility toward a specific group, it means that the hippie-simple logic of us all being the same, in spite of its fundamental truth, isn't going to work in humanity's constant struggle against its own prejudices. It's easy and it feels good to call all racists twats whose stupidity is only matched by that of their inbred children, and often that's right. But the long line of famous racists, those who were famed for their other achievements, many of which humanity are still hugely indebted to today (obviously I'm talking about the Wizard of Oz), clearly had more going on in their brains than wondering when they could next put their dicks in their sisters. Which means that, at times, hate is more complicated than merely being the refuge of fools. It's still simple, but it's not doing anyone any favors in fighting against it to oversimplify it.

If Henry Ford weren't Henry Ford, there's no way anyone would have given a fuck about what he wrote. The first section was a giant nap, though the next sections include titles like "Jewish Jazz—Moron Music—Becomes Our National Music," which indicate it might get, if more upsetting, slightly more interesting. At one point, in trying to characterize "the Jew" Ford has this to say "It is nothing to a Gentile that another man is a Gentile; it is next to everything to a Jew that the man at his door is a Jew." While in the vein of everything else he wrote, this is an unfair characterization of a group of immigrants I'm confident consisted mostly of good neighbors and citizens. If indeed Ford ever went to the door of a Jewish family and received a dubious greeting, I wouldn't wonder why.

SARAH ROSENSHINE

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