The Arty Semite

Henry Ford and the Coin of the Realm

By Jenna Weissman Joselit

  • Print
  • Share Share

Crossposted From Under the Fig Tree

Wiki Commons

Right on the heels of last week’s post about the relationship of Jews and capitalism comes this cold dose of historical reality: Henry Ford’s claim that the Jews controlled the Federal Reserve Board.

I had known, of course, that the automobile tycoon was no friend of the Jews, but I was unaware that his antipathy ran so deep. But now, thanks to the research of my student Jonathan Robinson, a GW political science major with a keen eye for historical detail, I’m all the wiser.

Over the course of the early 1920s, Ford had spilled a lot of ink railing against the Jews for their embrace of modernity. From his perspective, they had polluted the morals of the nation’s young by introducing them to the movies and to jazz.

By 1926, his animus in full bloom, America’s leading industrialist went on to charge the Jews with playing fast and footloose with the nation’s economy as well. “The international Jew is in direct control of all financial centres of government, including the United States Federal Reserve System,” he categorically declared.

Ford’s claim so enraged Congressman Sol Bloom of New York that he publicly demanded that the manufacturer support them with hard and cold facts, even going so far as to suggest that he appear before Congress to give a full accounting of himself.

“Mr. Ford,” said Mr. Bloom, “is a public man. When he speaks he has a national audience.” Besides, his net worth is greater than that of the United States Treasury. His remarks cannot go unchallenged.

Not surprisingly, Ford declined the invitation. But his allegations, his casual relationship to the truth, live on, a testament to the ways in which — then, as now — innuendo is the coin of the realm.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Sol Bloom, from Under the Fig Tree, Henry Ford, Jenna Weissman Joselit, Federal Reserve, Anti-Semitism

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.