"The International Jew"
Henry Ford Sr.
Though some present-day bigots have flocked to newer ideologies such as
denial of the Holocaust, much anti-Semitism still revolves around the basic conspiratorial
ideas expressed by older anti-Semitic texts. By offering older texts at their Web sites,
todays haters demonstrate the longevity of their beliefs, thereby legitimizing them
to both dedicated followers and potential recruits.
Due to the fame of its publisher, Henry Ford Sr., The
International Jew, a four-volume anti-Semitic work first published in the 1920s, has
been a particularly powerful tool for haters trying to validate their hostile beliefs.
Though Ford publicly apologized twice for publishing The International Jew, online
anti-Semites continue to use his name to promote it.
- The Dearborn Independent
- The International Jew and The Protocols
- The International Jewand Jewish Control
- The Spiro Trial and Ford's Apology
The Dearborn Independent
The Dearborn Publishing Company published The Dearborn
Independent newspaper. At the peak of its popularity, the Dearborn, Michigan paper,
owned by auto magnate Henry Ford Sr., boasted a circulation of 700,000. The Dearborn
Independent first attacked Jews in its May 22, 1920 issue and continued to do so in 91
Many of the papers anti-Semitic articles were reprinted by the
Dearborn Publishing Company in four paper-bound volumes: The International Jew, the
Worlds Foremost Problem (November, 1920); Jewish Activities in the United
States (April, 1921); Jewish Influences in American Life (November, 1921); and Aspects
of Jewish Power in the United States (May, 1922). Collectively known as The
International Jew: The Worlds Foremost Problem, these volumes were later
published in a variety of languages and disseminated widely in the United States and
For decades, The International Jew has been in the public domain.
It can be reprinted by anyone who wishes to do so. In the late 1950s, anti-Semite Gerald
L.K. Smith edited and published an abridged version of The International Jew culled
from the original Dearborn Independent articles. The complete text of Smiths
version now is easily found at many hate sites on the World Wide Web.
The International Jew and The Protocols
Having heard in advance about the Dearborn Publishing Companys
plan to attack Jews, E.G. Pipp, editor of The Dearborn Independent, resigned in
disgust in April, 1920, and was replaced by William J. Cameron. Ernest Liebold, Henry Ford
Sr.s personal secretary, began to collect anti-Semitic material. Liebold passed this
material to Cameron, who oversaw the articles that compose The International Jew,
likely writing many of them himself. "When we get through with the Jews,"
Liebold was quoted in court as saying, "there wont be one of them who will dare
raise his head in public."
A version of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the most
notorious political forgery of modern times, found its way into Liebolds hands.
Taken by the gullible as the confidential minutes of a meeting of Jewish leaders, The Protocols has consistently been held up by anti-Semites as proof that Jews are
plotting to take over the world. Even though it has been thoroughly discredited, The
Protocols continues to circulate among anti-Semites.
Liebold passed the text of The Protocols on to Cameron, who
modernized Brasols translation and used it as the foundation for The
International Jew. Each of the chapters in Gerald L.K. Smiths version of the International
Jew begins with a quotation from The Protocols, and one chapter "An
Introduction to the Jewish Protocols is devoted to it entirely. One Dearborn
Independent article lauded The Protocols as "too terribly real for
fiction, too well-sustained for speculation, too deep in its knowledge of the secret
springs of life for forgery." "The only statement I care to make about the
Protocols is that they fit in with what is going on," Ford stated in 1921. "They
have fitted the world situation up to this time. They fit it now."
The International Jew and Jewish control
The International Jew portrayed Jews as monolithic, malicious
schemers plotting to control the planet. "If there is one quality that attracts Jews,
it is power," the book stated. "Wherever the seat of power may be, thither they
The Dearborn Independent saw Jews as carrying out
"revolutionary programs to break up the present control of society." These
"revolutionary programs" revolve around economic control: the Jewish plan is
"to control the world, not by territorial acquisition, not by military aggression,
not by governmental subjugation, but by control of the machinery of commerce and
exchange." According to The International Jew, "it is not merely that
there are a few Jews among international financial controllers; it is that these
world-controllers are exclusively Jews." The book claimed that "the
motion picture influence of the United States, of the whole world, is exclusively under
the control, moral and financial, of the Jewish manipulators of the public mind."
The International Jew did not portray Jews as individuals, but as
a single-minded, calculating cabal. Conflict among Jews, no matter how real, was painted
as a sly trick, part of the Jewish plot. Even the conflict between socialist Jews and
capitalist Jews was denied. Jewish socialists and Jewish businesspeople were believed to
be working in tandem, "with Jewish capital at one end of the Gentile working scheme
putting the screws on the manufacturers, and with Jewish agitators and disruptionists and
subversives at the other end of the Gentile working scheme putting the screws on the
In fact, like other people, Jews involve themselves in non-religious and
professional activity as individuals, not as Jews. The number of Jews involved in a
particular field bears no relationship to "Jewish power" or "Jewish
control" of that industry. Jews do not act in concert with other Jews in the same
business simply because they happen to be Jewish.
The International Jew also attacked Jews for speaking out about
injustice and defending their constitutional rights. "Jewish rights
seemed to be summed up in the right to banish everything from their sight and
hearing that suggests Christianity or its Founder," it commented. In fact, these
so-called "Attacks on Christianity" were reasonable Jewish objections to
governmental expressions of Christianity which clearly violated the separation between
church and state enshrined in the Constitution.
According to The International Jew, demonstrably true Jewish
accounts of pogroms in Russia were nothing but fabrications. "This propaganda of
pogroms thousands upon thousands of Jews killed amounts to
nothing except as it illustrates the gullibility of the Press," the book stated.
"No one believes this propaganda and governments regularly disprove it." Such
statements foreshadowed the pernicious lies spread today by Holocaust deniers.
The International Jew blamed nearly all the troubles it saw in
American society on Jews. "Whichever way you turn to trace the harmful streams of
influence that flow through society, you come upon a group of Jews," it claimed. Even
problems with the "national pastime" were attributed to Jewish influence:
"If fans wish to know the trouble with American baseball, they have it in
three words too much Jew."
The Sapiro Trial & Fords Apology
Jews and others were outraged by The International Jew, and Ford
received thousands of complaints. In September 1920, the Central Conference of American
Rabbis, the National Council of Jewish Women and Bnai Brith asked ADL to
counteract Fords work. The League released a pamphlet, The Poison Pen, that
targeted the Dearborn Independent and the men behind The International Jew.
More than 100 prominent citizens, including President Woodrow Wilson, former Presidents
Taft and Roosevelt, W.E.B. DuBois, Clarence Darrow, and William Jennings Bryan, signed The
Perils of Racial Prejudice, a statement that urged "all those who are molders of
public opinion" to "strike at" The International Jew, which it
characterized as "un-American, un-Christian agitation."
Prominent lawyer Samuel Untermeyer penned a widely-published statement
describing the pernicious effects of the distribution of The International Jew. He
Wherever there was a Ford car there was a Ford agency not far away, and
wherever there was a Ford agency these vile libelous books in the language of the country
were to be found. They, coupled with the magic name of Ford, have done more than could be
undone in a century to sow, spread and ripen the poisonous seeds of anti-Semitism and race
hatred. These articles are so fantastic and so naïve in their incredible fantasy that
they read like the work of a lunatic, and but for the authority of the Ford name they
would have never seen the light of day and would have been quite harmless if they had.
With that name they spread like wildfire and became the Bible of every anti-Semite
Despite these complaints, The Dearborn Independent continued to
attack Jews, even after the publication of the articles that constitute The
International Jew. In 1927, the paper printed accusations that Jewish lawyer Aaron
Sapiro and a group of Jewish bankers and merchants were seeking to control the
nations wheat farming. Sapiro sued for defamation; his case came to trial in
Detroit. Though Sapiros suit was directed personally at Ford, Cameron testified for
many days, claiming full responsibility for the articles. He even went so far as to assert
that Ford had never heard of Sapiro. This lie was swiftly exposed when James M. Miller, a
former Dearborn Independent employee, swore under oath that Ford had told him he
intended to expose Sapiro.
Just before Ford was to take the stand, he was injured in an auto
accident. While he recovered, Ford operatives demanded a mistrial after a juror spoke to a
news reporter. Following the declaration of a mistrial, Ford issued public statements and
apologies to individuals and Jews as a group. On July 16, 1927, an out-of-court settlement
of the Sapiro suit was announced.
Though Ford apologized for The International Jew and closed the Dearborn
Independent, he later accepted the Grand Cross of the German Eagle from Hitlers
Nazi government in July, 1938. Some remain skeptical of his apology, claiming that Ford
himself neither wrote nor personally signed it.
Ford again expressed his concern about the circulation of The
International Jew following Americas entry into the war against Germany, for The
Protocols had become a staple of Nazi propaganda. In a 1942 letter to Sigmund
Livingston, then ADL national chairman, Ford wrote, "I do not subscribe to or
support, directly or indirectly, any agitation which would promote antagonism against my
Jewish fellow citizens." He pointed out that he "destroyed copies" of The
International Jew when he first apologized and had refused to give "permission or
sanction to anyone to use my name as sponsoring such publication, or being the accredited
In the decades following Fords death in 1947, what was once a
privately-owned business became a corporation owned in large part by the public. Since then, the Ford family and the Ford Motor Company have engaged
|While [The International Jew] once reached thousands, its reach is now even greater on the Internet.
in numerous projects and
endeavors in the public interest, including many that have been supportive of Jewish
concerns. Fords grandson, Henry Ford II, consistently supported Jewish charities and
cultural organizations. In 1997, for example, the Ford Motor Company sponsored the first
screening of Steven Spielbergs "Schindlers List," commercial-free,
on national network television.
As founder and owner of the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford Sr. made a
positive, lasting contribution to American industry and culture, providing mobility to
millions with his inexpensive automobiles. Yet these accomplishments are marred by another
of his legacies: his viciously anti-Semitic publication, the International Jew.
While that series of books once reached thousands, its reach is now even greater on the Internet. Today, The International Jew can touch a whole new generation, connected
to hate via the information superhighway.
Sources: Copyright Anti-Defamation League
(ADL). All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.