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The First to Cry Down Injustice?: Western Jews and Japanese Removal During WWII
     

The First to Cry Down Injustice?: Western Jews and Japanese Removal During WWII

by Eisenberg
 

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The First to Cry Down Injustice explores the range of responses from Jews in the Pacific West to the removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII. While it is often assumed that American Jews_because of a commitment to fighting prejudice_would have taken a position against this discriminatory policy, the treatment of Japanese Americans was largely

Overview

The First to Cry Down Injustice explores the range of responses from Jews in the Pacific West to the removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII. While it is often assumed that American Jews_because of a commitment to fighting prejudice_would have taken a position against this discriminatory policy, the treatment of Japanese Americans was largely ignored by national Jewish groups and liberal groups. For those on the West Coast, however, proximity to the evacuation made it difficult to ignore. Conflicting impulses on the issue_the desire to speak out against discrimination on the one hand, but to support a critical wartime policy on the other_led most western Jewish organizations and community newspapers to remain tensely silent. Some Jewish leaders did speak out against the policy because of personal relationships with Japanese Americans and political convictions. Yet a leading California Jewish organization made a significant contribution to propaganda in favor of mass removal. Eisenberg places these varied responses into the larger context of the western ethnic landscape and argues that they were linked to, and help to illuminate, the identity of western Jews both as westerners and as Jews.

Editorial Reviews

American Historical Review
I heartily welcome the number of recent histories on the internment of Nikkei as an indication of a new scholarly generation's (re)appraisal of known or original sources in relation to other racialized and ethnic groups. This is exactly what Ellen M. Eisenberg has done with Jewish America….Eisenberg handles this regional history quite artfully….Eisenberg's interracial, western history uncovers and airs dirty laundry of one putative "model minority" vis-à-vis its ostensible successor to that mythical mantle in such meticulous and engaging fashion.
American Jewish History
Eisenberg's discovery adds to historical understandings of the incarceration…. She succeeds in what she recognizes to be a difficult task: explaining historical silence…. Scholars will benefit from this rich, thoughtful examination of a previously unrecognized aspect of a tragic episode in U.S. history.
American Jewish Archives Journal
Eisenberg has done commendable work, both by her research in organizational archives and her close readings of the Jewish press. Her thesis is solid and well-presented, her examination of regional ethnic responses to Japanese American removal not only illuminates a vital aspect of the wartime events but opens up a new chapter of Western history.
Southwestern University
Eisenburg's discovery adds to historical understanding of the incarcerations. More generally, by revealing Jews' contributions to the policy's formulation, Eisenburg also implicitly illuminates how "minority" history is also majority history. She succeeds in what she recognizes to be a difficult task; explaining historical silence, specifically "the constant omission of Japanese Americans from stories in which their plight was the obvious context." Scholars will benefit from this rich, thoughtful examination of a previously unrecognized aspect of the tragic episode in U.S. history.
— Shana Bernstein
Jaeh
Unique in how it covers Jewish Americans and Japanese Americans in the same time and place, this book offers a fresh perspective on familiar figures, events, and sources related to internment (e.g., the Tolan Committee hearings). It is an excellent example of how bringing together separate ethnic histories sharpens our understanding of historical experiences….Eisenberg presents her arguments with clarity and fairness, yet she is not afraid to make bold interpretations.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780739130131
Publisher:
Lexington Books
Publication date:
01/01/1955
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
204
File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author

Ellen Eisenberg is Dwight and Margaret Lear Professor of American History at Willamette University.

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