Post from Revolution News reads,

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"By hating Hitler and trying to fight back, Jews are only increasing the severity of his policies against them.

"If Jews throughout the world try to instill into the minds of Hitler and his supporters recognition of the ideals for which the race stands, and if Jews appeal to the German sense of justice and the German national conscience, I am sure the problem will be solved more effectively and earlier than otherwise."


As the source of the image says, it’s from the June 15, 1934 issue of The New York Times. Here’s a screenshot of the article, "URGES GOOD WILL BY JEWS FOR NAZIS" by Henry J. Cadbury the Professor of Biblical Literature of Bryn Mawr College. You can see the start of the quote at the bottom left of the top image:


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    Holy shit. I'll be honest, 99% of the question I ask, I ask for others thinking they're obvious bullshit. This one has me shocked. It's unfortunate your screen shot cuts off though and doesn't include the entire screenshot from the question. – Evan Carroll Jun 27 '18 at 1:26
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    I don’t want to read the entirety of the article, but this answer indicates that it’s quoting some morally repugnant victim-blaming, rather than engaging in morally repugnant victim-blaming itself, which readers of the screenshot above may erroneously conclude. – Andrew Grimm Jun 27 '18 at 4:02
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    @AndrewGrimm: Agreed, it's misleading to attribute this text to "the New York Times" rather than the speaker whose speech they were reporting (without editorial commentary). One could argue that their choice to report this speech says something about their position, but it's not the same as if it were an editorial. – Nate Eldredge Jun 27 '18 at 5:32
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    it's also important to realize that a moral issue that is obvious in 2018 ('Nazis must be resisted by force') was much less obvious in 1934. – DJClayworth Jun 27 '18 at 15:23
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    @DJClayworth - Yeah. It's also interesting to read down past what Cadbury is saying, and to what Rabbi Goldenson says. Goldenson doesn't espouse Cadbury's philosophy of extreme pacifism, or his stance that fighting back against Hitler would increase the severity of his actions (which was inaccurate then as now, but not as obvious), but he does suggest that adopting illiberal methods would not be effective and ultimately self-defeating, and cautions against allowing clannishness of the sort that was occurring in Germany to take root in the Jewish community. – Obie 2.0 Jun 28 '18 at 3:07

Thanks to Laurel for locating the original article. As we can see, the quoted text did appear in the New York Times on June 15, 1934. I wanted to point out some important context that makes the excerpt somewhat misleading, and conflicts with Evan's characterization in the question's title.

  • The phrasing "New York Times posted this Hitler apology" makes it sound as though it is actually the stated opinion of the New York Times or its publishers or staff, e.g. an editorial. In fact, the Times is reporting, as news, a speech given by Henry Cadbury, without editorial commentary. The given excerpt has inappropriately failed to state whose words these actually are. (Of course, one is free to draw inferences about the Times's stance from their decision to publish this article, but it isn't explicitly a statement of their position.)

  • Cadbury doesn't say that Jews baited the Nazis but rather that they hated them (that's an h, not a b).

  • Although Cadbury does advocate against Jews fighting back, it's hard to characterize his speech as an "apology" for Hitler, in the sense of a defense of Hitler's actions. Rather, he's clearly opposed to what Hitler had done. He describes the Nazi policies as "injustices", "wrongs", "oppression" and states that all Christians should "atone" for them. This is misleadingly omitted from the cited passage. It's clear that he intends to criticize the Jews without condoning the Nazis. (You can form your own opinion about whether this is consistent, and at what point it becomes "victim blaming".)

  • In 1934, Nazi oppression of Jews, while overt, was not as severe as it later became. As of that date, the "oppression" and "injustices" which Cadbury refers to were, to my understanding, mainly economic in nature. Cadbury isn't speaking here about how to respond to mass murder and genocide, because that hadn't happened yet. Even the infamous Nuremburg laws were still a year in the future.

  • Cadbury was a leader of the American Society of Friends, better known as the Quakers. One of the core principles of the Quaker movement is pacifism and non-violence. So it is not surprising that Cadbury would advocate a non-violent response. Again, this sort of context is why proper attribution is important.

  • The article is evidence that one person held a particular viewpoint in 1934. We can't, from this alone, conclude anything about whether that viewpoint was widely subscribed to, or if it was representative of prevailing public opinion at the time.

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    I'd also add that Quakers wouldn't be regarded as "centrists", which the Facebook post from which this originated did. – Andrew Grimm Jun 28 '18 at 2:21
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    The original image does include quote marks around the paragraphs, indicating that the NYT was quoting someone rather than editorialising. However its not easy to notice. – Paul Johnson Jun 28 '18 at 6:58

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