Murray Polner, Antiwar Editor and Creator, Is Lifeless at 91


Murray Polner, an loyal voice for pacifism and civil liberties and the founder and solely editor of Current Tense journal, a progressive counterpoint to Commentary that started in a interval of one-upmanship amongst Jewish intellectuals, died on Might 30 in Manhasset, N.Y. He was 91.

The trigger was sepsis, his son Robert mentioned.

Current Tense, which began as a quarterly in 1973 and was later revealed bimonthly, was a liberal Jewish journalistic tackle world affairs.

Like Commentary, which was thought-about considerably extra intellectual and later branded as neoconservative, Current Tense was revealed by the American Jewish Committee, which blamed monetary constraints when Current Tense was closed in 1990.

Some members of the Current Tense workers mentioned on the time, nonetheless, that the choice was politically motivated as a result of the journal had been crucial of Israeli insurance policies and, earlier, of the Reagan administration.

A member of the Naval Reserve and an Military veteran who served in Japan in the course of the Korean Struggle, Mr. Polner advanced right into a pacifist. He opposed navy conscription and evinced empathy for the previous troopers he interviewed for his guide “No Victory Parades: The Return of the Vietnam Veteran” (1971).

The guide consisted of profiles of 9 white troops categorized in three sections: “The Hawks,” “The Doves” and “The Haunted.” It concluded, “By no means earlier than in American historical past have as many loyal and courageous younger males been as shabbily handled by the federal government that despatched them to conflict; by no means earlier than have so lots of them questioned as a lot, as these veterans have, the important rightness of what they have been pressured to do.”

In 1973, after President Richard M. Nixon signed the Paris Peace Accords ending the conflict, David S. Broder wrote about Mr. Polner’s guide in The Washington Publish. “I spent the weekend studying a disturbing guide in regards to the Vietnam veterans,” he wrote, “and I don’t commend it to you, if you wish to protect the current temper of euphoria.”

What was so disturbing, Mr. Broder mentioned, was that Mr. Polner centered on “one thing everyone knows, however desire not to consider”: that Vietnam was “the least democratic conflict of our century,” that “there was no equality of sacrifice,” and that “those that fought have been, as Polner says fairly cruelly, ‘our new expendables.’ ”

PictureCredit scoreRobert Polner

Amongst Mr. Polner’s different books was “When Can I Come House?” (1972), about amnesty for draft evaders. He was additionally an editor of Shalom, a publication of the Jewish Peace Fellowship that was based in 1941 to help conscientious objectors.

Murray Polner was born on Might 15, 1928, in Brooklyn to Jewish immigrants who had fled Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. His father, Alex, offered Fuller brushes door to door. His mom, Rebekah (Meyerson) Polner, was a homemaker.

Raised within the Brownsville neighborhood, Murray graduated from Samuel J. Tilden Excessive Faculty. His political outlook was formed, he mentioned, partially by the firing of lecturers due to their political opinions, and partially by his bewilderment someday within the late 1940s when he, a pal and one aged girl have been the one passers-by keen to signal a petition supporting the Invoice of Rights.

“Sure,” he acknowledged in 2017 to Unusual Thought Journal, “there definitely have been loads of Russian spies, as there have been little question loads of American spooks too.” However, he added, “at most, most of the Communists and leftists have been responsible of ethical complicity for ignoring Stalin’s crimes. Or daring to belong to New Dealish left and labor teams. Or signing petitions.”

Mr. Polner earned a bachelor of social science diploma from Metropolis School of New York in 1950, a grasp’s in American historical past from the College of Pennsylvania and a doctorate in Russian historical past from the Union Institute and College.

He taught at Thomas Jefferson Excessive Faculty in Brooklyn and was an adjunct professor at Suffolk Group School, Brooklyn School and Queens School.

As the chief assistant to the primary New York Metropolis colleges chancellor, Harvey B. Scribner, within the early 1970s and an assistant to Seymour P. Lachman, a member and later president of the Board of Schooling, Mr. Polner conceived of a program to assist hospitalized and disabled veterans earn highschool diplomas, initiated evening colleges for youngsters who labored in the course of the day, and instituted a pupil Invoice of Rights.

Along with his son Robert, he’s survived by his spouse, Beth (Greenwald) Polner; one other son, Alex; a daughter, Beth Polner Abrahams; six grandchildren; and one great-grandson. He lived in Nice Neck, N.Y.

Within the early 1990s, Mr. Polner was editor of Fellowship journal, which was revealed by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and till lately he was guide evaluate editor of the Historical past Information Community. Amongst his different books have been “Disarmed and Harmful: The Radical Lives and Instances of Daniel and Philip Berrigan” (1997, with Jim O’Grady) and “Department Rickey: A Biography” (1982).

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