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“Was Lassie Jewish?”



1,182 words

Recently Counter-Currents contributor Jef Costello published a light-hearted piece entitled “Aryan Cows?,” [2] in which he discussed contemporary hysteria over “Aryan” and “Nazi” cattle.

He also wondered, tongue-in-cheek, “Was Blondie, Hitler’s shepherd, an Aryan dog?”

I actually investigated a similar question once: Was Lassie, the most famous movie and TV dog of all time, Jewish?

The context in which this sarcastic question arose was a discussion of Jewish power in the contemporary world. Jews in preeminent positions naturally add up to a formidable list pretty quickly, particularly in the entertainment business.

It is the kind of discussion that raises the hackles of any philo-Semite or anti-anti-Semite within earshot. In this instance the resident anti-anti-Semite (not a thoroughly evil character), unable to restrain himself any longer, finally sneered, “Was Lassie Jewish?”

He was, of course, trying to reduce our concerns about Jewish power to absurdity. However, my curiosity piqued, I looked into it. Despite its intent as a putdown, the question was not unfruitful, leading to unexpected information about dog breeds and races, a couple of unusual projects Lassie was involved in, and information about his pedigree.

Dog Breeds = Races, Hence Racism

As an article in the Atlantic Monthly pointed out in 1990:

A breed is a group of genetically related individuals with a common phenotype—physical characteristics, such as ear and muzzle shapes, and behavioral tendencies [emphasis added], such as those of a retriever to swim or a border collie to herd—which are capable of producing offspring of the same type. Fixed through selective breeding, traits could vanish over several generations if people became careless in choosing their dogs’ mates. . . . The dog is, in fact, the most variable species in the animal kingdom next to man.

This is the very definition of “race.” There are races of dogs.

It comes as no surprise, then, that there is a minor ideological industry alleging that the recognition and preservation of dog breeds is “racist.”

For example, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) stations its members, dressed in Ku Klux Klan regalia, outside the Westminster Kennel Club Show with a banner reading “Welcome AKC [American Kennel Club] Members”—with AKC crossed out and KKK written in.

“The AKC is trying to create a master race,” PETA charges.

PETA believes that there are Aryan dogs, and that this is . . . VERY BAD. Unlike some [3], their invocation of KKK imagery is not intended as a compliment.

Jewish Dogs

[4]Are there Jewish dogs?

This is analogous to the Establishment’s concern over Aryan cows, and relates to the question of whether Blondie was Aryan.

Yiddish author Sholom Aleichem wrote a short story entitled “Rabchik, a Jewish Dog.”

It is also a fact that Jewish dog owners sometimes celebrate “Bark Mitzvahs” [5] for their pets. Dogs dressed in a yarmulke and tallit may be blessed by rabbis during ceremonies performed at synagogues, where prayers are also recited. Lisa Katz writes,

Some people do see a spiritual component to the Bark Mitzvah ceremony. They claim that the Bark Mitzvah is a celebration of the spiritual connection they feel for their dogs. And they want to express this spiritual connection in a Jewish, communal way.

Lassie in Hollywood

Lassie, a famous star, made his [yes, Lassie was actually a laddie–Ed.] Hollywood debut in MGM’s Lassie Come Home (1941), and for decades thereafter starred regularly in motion pictures, radio, and television. He was obviously at ease and thrived in a Jewish environment, which not everyone can do.

Jewish executives, writers, and personnel were involved at every stage of production.

For example, the head of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the studio where the Lassie films were made, was Louis G. Mayer. The executive producer of Lassie Come Home was Isadore “Dore” Schary, later national chairman (1963–1969) of the ADL of B’nai B’rith. Its Dore Schary Award is named in his honor.

White beauty Elizabeth Taylor, who starred in Lassie Come Home and The Courage of Lassie (1946), converted to Judaism at age 27 and married two Jewish husbands, director Michael Todd and singer Eddie Fisher (she had a daughter by one of them). A supporter of Jewish and Israeli causes, in 1959 her large-scale purchase of Israeli Bonds caused Arab boycotts of her films, and in 1962 she was barred from entering Egypt to complete Cleopatra. In 1974 Taylor and Richard Burton considered marrying in Israel, but were forbidden because Burton was Welsh, not Jewish. She raised money for the Jewish National Fund and similar racial enterprises, advocated for the right of Soviet Jews to emigrate to Israel, and canceled a visit to the USSR because of its condemnation of Israel during the Six-Day War. In 1975 she signed a letter protesting the UN’s “Zionism is Racism” resolution. After her death in 2011, she was buried in a private Jewish ceremony presided over by Rabbi Jerry Cutler at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

In Son of Lassie (1945) [6], made by producer Samuel Marx and director S. Sylvan Simon (both Jews), Lassie battled Nazis in occupied Norway.

The Lassie TV series ran from 1954 to 1971 on CBS Television, run by William Paley, a Jew. Tommy Rettig, who played “Jeff,” was the son of a Jewish father and a white mother.

The distributor of the Lassie TV series in syndication was Sandy Frank (male) who, outside the realm of business, provided significant support to a number of Jewish organizations and the State of Israel.

The foregoing list of Lassie’s Jewish employers, co-workers, and sponsors is merely illustrative. It could be extended indefinitely.

Lassie also starred in a 28-minute short, Man on a Bus (1955) [7]. Vintage Zionist propaganda, the film relates the personal stories of pioneers to the nascent Jewish state within the framework of travelers swapping tales on a bus crossing the Negev Desert. It is currently owned by the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel.

Lassie’s Pedigree: Was He Jewish?

For many years the pedigree of Pal, the first Lassie, had been debated within dog circles. Because he had never been registered with the American Kennel Club, some believed that he was not a purebred collie. This threw into doubt the pedigree of all generations of Lassie, because the dog has always been bred father to son with only AKC-registered female collies.

In May 1989, American Kennel Club President Kenneth Marsden testified during a hearing in Miami that based on looks (phenotype) alone he could not identify Lassie as a collie. He would need to examine the dog’s certificate of pedigree.

Finally, the official pedigree of Pal, the original Lassie, was traced, and he proved to be a purebred collie. Thus, Lassie is genetically Scottish, not Jewish.

Still, after analyzing his background, I fear that if Lassie could speak, he might well would reveal himself to be an “Aryan” in the mode of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Bushes, or Brad Pitt, saying, like Marlon Brando, “I lived in a world of Jews. They were my teachers; they were my employers. They were my friends.”

So let’s call Lassie a righteous gentile. Or, perhaps we should take a page from singer Pat Boone, “I consider myself an honorary Jew.”