Hayworth choose his heroes more carefully?
The Arizona Republic
Rep. J.D. Hayworth issued a statement about the current conflict in the
Middle East that begins, "Let it be clear that Americans stand foursquare
with our allies in Israel," which he describes as "an oasis of democracy in
a desert of desolation."
Given such unwavering support for Israel, I thought that Hayworth might be
troubled to learn that in the book he co-wrote on the immigration crisis,
Whatever It Takes, he sings the
praises of American icon Henry Ford, who was admired and honored by Adolf
Hitler and who used his wealth to spread hateful propaganda about Jews
through a newspaper he owned and through a book called
The International Jew: The World's Foremost
But I was wrong. Apparently, this doesn't bother Hayworth a bit.
On July 14, the Jewish News of Greater
Phoenix published an editorial pointing out Hayworth's admiration
for Ford's views on assimilation by immigrants.
The editorial quotes Hayworth as writing, "The ever-so-successful process
that used to be called 'Americanization' was a major movement in the early
1900s . . . Henry Ford, a leader in this movement, said, 'These men of many
nations must be taught American ways, the English language, and the right
way to live.' Talk like that today and our liberal elites will brand you a
cultural imperialist, or worse. But if you ask me, Ford had a better idea."
The editorial argues that Ford's Americanization was a concept tied to his
well-documented anti-Semitism. It concludes, "We're not saying that Hayworth
is anti-Semitic - only that he should choose his heroes more carefully."
That's it, really. It's easy to imagine a writer using a quotation that sums
up his view on a subject without knowing the whole story of the person he's
But when I contacted Hayworth's office, their first reaction was to tell me
that, "The publisher of the Jewish News
has contributed to our political opponent."
That may or may not explain why the subject interested them, but it doesn't
explain why Hayworth chose to praise the views of Henry Ford. For that,
Hayworth's office turned to his co-author, Joe Eule, who wrote me an e-mail
that said, "The quote in question was used by Ford to describe Ford Motor
Company employees and the work of the Sociology Department at Ford, not any
ethnic or religious group."
He added, "If Henry Ford is off limits on Americanization, Thomas Jefferson
must likewise be off limits on liberty because he owned slaves. I hope we
haven't reached the point where Thomas Jefferson is no longer welcome in
On the other hand, we now can admit that the founders were wrong about
slavery, something we learned the hard way through the Civil War. Just as
we've learned the hard way from the anti-Semitism expressed before World War
"Essentially, Ford didn't believe that Jews
could be Americanized," said
Deborah Susser of the Jewish News.
No one would suggest that Hayworth believes such a thing. He is passionate
about the border problem and quoted Ford. The fact that he did so has hit
the Internet, generating critical postings on liberal web sites and blogs
like the Huffington Post. Eule said that others have quoted Ford on
Americanization and that Hayworth is being unfairly criticized. I suppose
that's why he brought up Jefferson.
Although I don't believe that our third president ever accepted anything
like the Grand Service Cross of the Supreme Order of the German Eagle, an
honor bestowed on Ford by one of his biggest admirers, Hitler.
Reach Montini at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (602) 444-8978.