"He’s done nothing of consequence to impede the development of nuclear weapons by the homicidal Iranian state pledged to Israel’s annihilation."
You're such a liar. Iran never called for Israel to be wiped off the map.
And given what Jews have done to this country, anti-semites have been proven to be correct.
Quote: To the extent he regarded the murder of Jews as a problem, he saw it as a political issue to be managed, lest it affect the outcome of the 1944 campaign.
Sounds very much like how democrat politicians view most of the issues today, including that of Israel, women and all minorities!
It's a shame that this review contains so much intellectual dishonesty and polemic. Obama an enemy of Israel and a do-nothing on Iran? Tell that to the Iranians who are being crushed by the sanctions his government is imposing on their country. His policy on the Arab-Israeli dispute is completely misrepresented.
Moreover, the Democrats were the party of many constituents--nativist poor whites, immigrants, blacks--and their policies were buffeted and jostled by these different interests. But Roosevelt included Jews in positions of power for the first time, and was roundly Jew-baited for this.
Still, there is a story to tell here. Wish the reviewer had spent more time telling it rather than using this as another opportunity to bash the Democrats.
Interesting, eye-opening, strong material. Not the whole story, I’m sure, but my thanks nonetheless. All Jews should know these “Democrat” quotes and recognize the public vs. private FDR, and applaud Hoover’s efforts on behalf of German Jews. But in reaching for (an anti-Jewish?) comparison that destines Obama not to have Israel's back, I think you overreach.
". . . the Democrat in the White House again appears all but indifferent to the threat. . . . He’s done nothing of consequence to impede the development of nuclear weapons by the homicidal Iranian state pledged to Israel’s annihilation."
“All but indifferent”? President Obama has other duties --- a federal government to lead, a global foreign policy to conduct, wars to conclude, an agenda to enact and defend, a re-election campaign to mount. He’s also supposed to be a Deputy Prime Minister for Israel? He isn’t all happy-faced when Netanyahu visits the White House. Who would be?
“Nothing of consequence to impede the development of nuclear weapons”? For every threat that progressive Iranian enrichment represents --- unimpeded you can’t demonstrate --- the U.S. has made a counter-threat or taken counter-action. Your framing elides U.S. efforts that may have slowed the Iranian nuclear project and keep it under threat. Your framing omits U.S. warnings that Iran will pay the price for “breakout,” and disdains the Obama administration reassurances that the U.S. has Israel's back. You don’t count diplomatic mobilization of an increasingly punitive sanctions regime? Obama’s repeated declaration that all options, including military, to stopping Iran's gaining nuclear warfare capability are on the table? Recent joint military exercises --- biggest ever --- between the U.S. and Israel? The build-up of U.S. forces in the Gulf? Stuxnet? I heard no White House criticism of the campaign of assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists, did you? Has Obama cut off U.S. aid to Israel as a consequence? Didn’t Obama initiate and deliver on his request for further development and deployment of Iron Dome? Has Obama insisted that the Israelis dismantle their nuclear missile force? The signals are all there that the threat is taken seriously, that there is unrelenting pressure on Iran, and that Iran’s effort to build a bomb will not be allowed to succeed.
Is war alone “of consequence”? If Obama is FDR redux, what could assure you, short of war itself, that there may well have to be (a U.S.-conducted? a U.S.-led? a U.S.-allied) war against Iran? That’s the last thing a U.S. president wants to say publicly at this time. But also: What convinces you that Obama, if reelected, would not proceed militarily against Iran if necessary? What has so convinced you that the Obama administration is indifferent to the prospect an Iranian attempt at annihilating Israel? Other than FDR’s example as you’ve portrayed it? Other than reading Podhoretz?
True, Obama hasn't tried war, or threat of imminent war, nor drawn a red line of the sort publicly demanded by Netanyahu during a U.S. presidential campaign. But neither has he ruled them out. So neither "indifference" nor "inconsequence" (other than no U.S. resort to war yet) characterizes the Obama administration efforts (including what is being held in reserve) vis-à-vis the Iranian uranium enrichment program.
Unfortunately, in my view your FDR/Obama analogy produces an echo-chamber effect, removing human agency: Obama seems destined not to defend Israel against the threat of nuclear missiles, and Israelis are threatened to be left to their fate. But you have to take a look outside:
The Iranian program proceeds, with a range of estimates (in Israel as well) on its progress; the estimated interval before the weapons-grade enrichment threshold will be reached remains uncertain but doesn't preclude further diplomacy and hasn’t halted preparations for unilateral, multilateral, or joint military action against the Iranian regime. The time for war, with U.S. involvement, may yet come. We hope, we have to hope, that it does not have to come to war. But none of us --- Obama foremost --- is blind to the possibility that it will.
I am appalled at the distortion of history presented in this article. As a Jew I have studied the history of this period and I'd like to remind you that many prominent Republicans of this time were avid supporters of Hitler. People like Prescott Bush,Bush senior's father and many others actively supported Nazi Germany through investments and anti-semitism was much greater amongst Republicans than Democrats of this period. Also, Republicans were mainly isolationists and appeased Hitler at every turn. One prominent Democrat, Joseph Kennedy, Jack Kennedy's father was dumped by Roosevelt for his pro-Hitler stance and he was an exception. Republicans would have turned America into a fascist state if they had had their way. Roosevelt may have exhibited anti-semitism which was common among upper crust Americans, but he saw Hitler for the menace he was and pushed the country to oppose Naziism. I wish you people would stop this idiotic propaganda. Fortunately, most Jews will continue to support the Democratic Party for good reason. We are adamently opposed to warmongering and support social justice and welfare which are concepts alien to rightwing philosophy.
Modern historians did a lot of work to describe the Nazi race motivated anti - semitism. Perhaps it´s time to concentrate more on the politically based attitudes. E.g.the role of Jewish intellectuals in the rise of Bolshevism and the consequent spread of Communist/Socialist ideologies during the last century is still a taboo in many countries. It´s more or less over, I believe. A new explicit and more out spoken approach to the so called political anti-semitism could lead to an adequate reevalution of the past and current developments in the West as well as in the C/E Europe and the Middle East, I hope.
The rewieved book should be easily
available especially in the post-Communist countries, I think.
The Jews in America are a constant aggravation and disappointment. They are so obviously intelligent people and yet at the same time display an appalling ignorance on matters of political philosophy. They vote for Democrats and liberals while at the same moment knowing that it is Republicans and conservatives who repeatedly defend their interests. I will continue to support Israel for rational reasons but frankly, I have no use for Jews ~ and I am from deeply socialist Canada.
ROBERT ROSEN ANSWERS YOUR PROBLEM WITH FDR TO THE FULLEST EXTENT.
LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING YOU SMALL TOWN CUB REPORTER WHOSE GREATEST ENJOYMENT COMES FROM WRITING SHIT.
BACK IN THOSE DAY EVERYONE WAS AN ANTI SEMITE, LITERALLY EVERYONE. JEWS WERE DENIED SCHOOLS, COLLEGES, UNIVERSITIES, JOBS, EVEN HOTELS.
ROOSEVELT WAS FIRST AND FOREMOST A MAN WHO STOOD UP FOR THE SMALLEST OF THE PEOPLE, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND WAS BELOVED FOR IT. YOU WERE NOT THERE, JERK, SO YOU SHOULD NOT TALK OR WRITE ABOUT IT.
ROBERT ROSEN, THANK YOU.
HARRY, I AM NOT FINISHED WITH YOU. I SHALL RETURN.
Harry, you have an interesting way with words and quotes. First, what is a "RED BRICK COLLEGE". I must look it up.
2ND: Is this article an attempt to get the Jewish voters to detach themselves from the democrats and vote republican in this election. The Jewish people loved FDR which was no crime because he was one of the greatest of PRESIDENTS. However. these days the Demoocratic party is no longer what it once was and they should vote Republican, but NOT because of the way you slander the name of FDR.
That is not the way to help them.
And 3rd, why then would not ELEANOR ROOSEVELT have spoken about this anti-semitic trait that you attribute to FDR. She would have if it were true because she would never bite her tongue for anyone under any circumstances.
I do not believe your entire stinkpot of an article filled with slander and lies to remove the good name of a dead man.
Harry, i am going to do some research.
If what you have said about FDR is true then it is for certain that i will feel sad, just as sad as when GEORGE S. PATTON was taken down from the pedestal he was on because of anti-semitism.
I am Jewish also, Harry. You have no monopoly or better claim to it than i.
Should i find that after research your characterization of FDR was false, then believe me, i will seek you out, and smash you in the face with a banana cream pie.
Anyone who calls themselves a Jew has to read this article.
For a complete rebuttal of the charges against FDR and to understand
The Wyman Institute, please read Saving the Jews: FDR and the Holocaust by yours truly. The FDR comments are easily explained see SavingtheJews.com
Thank you for an interesting historical commentary. Amazing, and sad how, throughout history, the majority seem to vote for an image rather than on substance.
This is a superbly intelligent review. I have just one reservation--Mr. Stein flatteringly calls me a "historian"; but I am only a literary scribbler.
Those who call the Republican Party the party of bigots are very much mistaken - this is something these people have heard over and over again without foundation, until they start believing it.
Of course, you never hear the same thing about the Democratic Party, even though it was the Democrats who were the party of the Klu Klux Klan, it was the Democrats who were the party that supported and defended slavery, it was the Democratic Party that enacted Jim Crow laws, who provided for segregation, those who did lynching? all Democrats, the party to which those Governors who stood in the doorways of colleges seeking to prevent integration? All - every one of them - belonged to the Democratic Party.
No Republicans in the foregoing group - not one.
And not once has the Democratic Party even apologized for its part in all of the foregoing - like starting the Vietnam war (Democrats did it - do people even know that?), the Democrats want to pretend they never had anything to do with any of it.
And it was with critical Republican support against the votes of Democratic legislators that Lyndon Johnson was able to enact civil rights legislation.
Old history you say? You believe that Republicans in the south today are the old southern Democrats with an "R" after their name? WRONG. Those who had previously been Democratic didn't become leaders of the Republican Party - the Republicans already had leaders, they didn't need or accept new ones, and they weren't going to welcome the old Democratic racists. Democrats were told to leave their racist attitudes behind.
But, we are talking about Jews. Jewish support for Democrats MAY have made sense years ago, when Democrats were in charge of the big cities that held large Jewish communities. Those Jews who are Democrats now more than likely are older and formed their opinions years ago. But people - and political parties - change, and the Democratic Party of today no resemblance to the party that was in existence in the 1960's, 70's even 80's. All one has to do was take note of how the Democratic delegates clearly voted down recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel - in fact to see how it wasn't there in first place - to recognize and understand this difference.
As Jews, we joined the Republican Party because it was consistent with our values - hard work, family, a belief that government should not be a big presence in our lives. Plus we were being taxed to death - anyone who owns a home in New Jersey understands how insane the taxes have become. More important, along with a hostile attitude to religion in general we saw, and of course still see, a creeping antisemitism in the Democratic Party, and especially in those who now call themselves Democrats. We found many younger Jews also were abandoning the Democratic Party as well.
As I noted below, the Orthodox Jewish community, at least in our area, is almost completely Republican. This community has not been subject to a lifetime of conditioning by the New York metro media and sees the world clearly. And that clarity has resulted in the recognition that the Democratic Party, it's policies and members, are hostile to and inconsistent with the Jewish faith. After spending the last 15 years attempting to convince my mother of the same, I have come to realize just how difficult it is to change beliefs and attitudes formed early and reinforced over the years - even though there was no real support for those beliefs.
As for the Tea Party - the Tea Party is about government spending and nothing else. People believe that the Tea Party has anything to do with race simply show their ignorance and conditioning. How do I know? I belong to the Morristown NJ Tea Party. Anyone - regardless of race, color, creed, sexual orientation, religion, status etc. can join.
Before saying anything about the Tea Party I suggest anyone wishing to talk about the group go to a meeting and find out for yourself.
The extension of this into the cognitive dissonance of Jewish support for BHO was published last week here: http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-bee-and-lamb-part-8.html
I read the book, it's a story that too many would like to shuffle under the surface, like Obama's real history; the more things change, the more they seem to stay the same, especially for the Democrats. For people who don't have the time or inclination to buy the book, this article is an excellent encapsulation of the major themes.
I am an Israeli of Russian origin, non-religious, non-partisan either right or left.
Half of my life I have lived in the Soviet Union. My knowledge of American history is very limited. It is not my place to consider Mr. Stein's article as either correct or misleading. The choice of American president which I could not influence in any way should not be my concern were it not for my deep concern for the survival of my country. Could anybody explain to me why the conservatives. why Romney, should be better for me than Obama? It is not an invitation to an argument but a straightforward question.
It is amazing to me, from reading many of these comments, that:
(1) Those who were not alive during FDR's and Truman's time anoint themselves as experts as to what really happened then; and, (2) Those who have expressed strong language in sometimes undignified tones name their emotions/ideas/prejudices as "facts," when, truly, they are slanted and biased reactions to the facts expressed by intelligent people.
Jacob Silver said: "The Republican party has become a party of bigots who would not help Israel or the Jews."
Really? Which party is it that's catered to American Muslims and Islamist apologists so much that they took the reference to Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel out of their party platform. The DNC did not reinsert it until the Republicans shamed them into it.
You really need to get out more, Jacob, and stop getting all your talking points from Ed Schultz and Rachel Madcow.
This is a very unusual article
Howard, this is an amazing article.
As for the leftists who have written in here.....
Conservatives have a far better record of giving their own money (even when they do not have much money) to help the poor than "liberals" do - the figures are a matter of public record. Check (for example) how little of their incomes Barack Obama and Joe Biden gave to help the poor (in the years BEFORE they started to run for President).
As for Tea Party people tending to be anti Israel - this the exact opposite of the truth. It is actually the leftist "Occupy" people who are anti Israel.
The left comment people here must think everyone is stupid - we know how hostile to Israel the leftists are, we know what goes on in the schools and universities.
Please do not treat us as if we were idiots.
In Paul Johnson's "A History Of The Jews" President Roosevelt is revealed as agreeing with the most absurd Nazi propaganda (for example that before the National Socialists took power Jews controlled the universities by half the Professors being Jewish - the real figure was 0.5% not 50% as Roosevelt believed).
Sadly Roosevelt's lack of interest in ideas to help the Jewish people was not confined to the ideas of Hoover, he was also indifferent (indeed hostile) to the ideas, about helping Jewish people avoid being murdered in the camps, of Winston Churchill.
Ever hear of tikkun olam. Try doing that under a republican administration! I'm a democrat because the Republicans r too ready to throw the vulnerable among us under the bus, take away our rights, and let us die in the street-- as long as its not their street. Being Jewish doesn't mean being elitist. If liberal means trying to make a better world n taking my eye off my pocketbook for a moment so I can help someone else. Then yes. I am a democrat and a liberal and for me that's the definition of being a Jew.
First, the Tea Party Republicans are nothing like Wendell Wilkie, Herbert Hoover, or Eisenhower. The Republican party has become a party of bigots who would not help Israel or the Jews. And President Obama never said that he wanted to restrict the Jewish State to the 1967 armistice line. He said that negotiators should start with that line, and then make adjustments from it. And the President never said he would not use military force to prevent the Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons. It is easy to make the Republican case if you distort and lie. That is the modern Republican technique.
There is no substantial evidence anywhere that Harry S. Truman was"strongly anti-Semitic." That observation is impossible to prove, as the authors certainly did not get inside HST's mind.
Apply the terms “tolerance,” “human rights,” and “social justice” to the unborn and you will immediately see why the Democrats are so dangerous for the Jews. If they are willing to kill infants in the womb, they will be willing to kill the Jews as well.
67 years have passed since FDR died but we’re still debating what he did or didn’t do, believed or didn’t believe. Based on historical accounts, Roosevelt’s left hand was seldom aware of what his right hand was thinking given his propensity for changing his mind and taking all sides on any political position. To this day, a controversy rages over whether FDR was aware the Japanese secretly intended to bomb Pearl Harbor and that he personally welcomed such an attack as a convenient excuse to drag America into war. Various historians, like Toland, have presented evidence, some written, some in the form of first hand recollections that he did know in advance - other historians claim such conspiracy evidence was over-interpreted and taken quite out of context.
However, no one has yet to provide a realistic set of actions Roosevelt should – or could - have taken in regard to the Jews and the Holocaust. Plans were proposed once the death camp evidence was presented. For example, German POW exchanges for Jews destined for extermination or mass deportation of Jews from Germany’s homeland and conquered territories and into some remote location, but no remotely feasible solutions within Roosevelt’s power to implement were ever conceived. And Roosevelt was also condemned by non-Jewish American Poles once they learned our good friend and ally, the Soviet Union, had massacred 10,000 Polish soldiers and secretly buried them in the Katyn Forest. True as it was, that complaint was irrelevant since we needed the Soviet Union in the war to soak up casualties from German advances while we planned our own advance into Europe and Germany’s heartland.
And, of course, Roosevelt ignored the advice of J. Edgar Hoover and decided to intern Japanese-Americans for the duration as a political gift to California politicians and their real estate speculator friends (Japanese-Americans returned to their former homes from the internment camps only to find them sold off in their absence). However, Japanese-Americans living outside of California were mostly ignored during the internment hysteria, Roosevelt didn’t object to that apparent contradiction in logic. And humanitarian Jew Morgenthau along with kindly WASP Eleanor Roosevelt proposed some very harsh plans for the Germans once the war was won. Like forcing Germany to become an agrarian society which would have meant starvation for surviving Germans on a vast and lovely to contemplate scale. Or, deporting all able bodied German men to Africa where they would live out their remaining lives as conscript workers – have to keep those Germans from breeding a new generation wouldn’t you agree? Revenge seemed more to Morgenthau’s intellectual taste than liberal Jewish concepts like “human rights” and “social justice” – at least in regard to a conquered people like the Germans.
So, Roosevelt was either a friend to the Jews or he wasn’t. He either sympathized with the Poles or he didn’t. He didn’t like Japanese-Americans from California but he was Jake with other Japanese-Americans outside of California. He reputedly hated European Germans based on some childhood experiences but he had nothing against American WASPs of German ancestry. Quite a puzzling enigma for one man but then it was a strange time. And WWII was the greatest armed conflict in human history by any conceivable measure which means that you can safely re-write the history of those events in any way you please. Filled with irony, grim humor, startling turnabouts, strange bedfellows, even stranger alliances, ideological confusion – picking and choosing from among the complex dramatic events of WWII allows a writer to propose and substantiate any theory after the fact.
Relative to Jewish liberalism, it doesn’t appear to be a genetic trait passed down generation after generation. In fact, it appears that Jews adopt Liberal concepts based on purely individual motives. Some are in it for the ideology and the emotional feedback. Others lean more toward a personal profit agenda. For example, in the Midwest during the 40’s and 50’s, many immigrant European Jews who, along with their children, owned small retail businesses first came into contact with black Americans who became their primary customers. Buying an NAACP lifetime membership and proudly displaying the plaque on the wall of their retail shop was considered a testament to Jewish liberalism. However, in private, Jews referred to American blacks as “those schwartzes”, not “those mensches“, so it’s difficult to tell where Jewish liberal concepts leave off and monetary profits begin. And I don’t believe this recent book under review will resolve that question.
Mike Walsh. Thank you, you stated it well. I am a baby boomer from a working-class-Irish section of Boston. And I know well the people you write about. The public espousal of Liberalism serves to mask deep-rooted shame they feel about their origins. Pity the country has paid so dearly for their snobbery.
First Israel isn't the only issue American Jews care about. Jews with any sense of history know that in tolerate liberal societies Jews fare much better.
Secondly, of course James Baker was much harder on Israel than Barack Obama. Both Bushes in order to carry out their foreign policy goals pressured Israel to allow scud attacks and possibly cede all of Jerusalem.
Lastly Israel had no greater friend than Bill Clinton. Had Yasser Arafat not been such a coward and a fool there would be a two state solution already in place along with a peace agreement.
The real question is like how can women, Gays and Blacks ever vote Republican how can any Jew who knows history vote Republican?
I have said for decades that if FDR cared at all for the Jews, he would have at least had a few bombs dropped on the train tracks leading to the death camps to slow the mass murder until our forces could get there.
Fascinating article. As someone who was born Jewish and liberal, I long ago understood just how hostile Democrats are to Jews, among many other reasons to be politically conservative. I have marveled at my (Jewish) mother's ability to ignore, demean, mischaracterize, and just generally dismiss rational fact based arguments that show her to be completely wrong in her sticking with Democrats. It is nothing less than eerie to see someone remain with beliefs that were formed long ago, and how reasonable arguments make no difference at all. It's almost like a religion, where faith replaces reason.
My also miraculously politically conservative Jewish mother-in-law, living in a condominium in Boca Raton, Florida full of exclusively liberal Democratic Jewish retirees from the New York metro area, reports the same utter indifference to fact based arguments. Oddly enough, when Obama was running against Hillary Clinton, she heard the most awful racist statements made against Obama by these so called "liberal" Jewish Democrats, only to have their opinions magically change when it was Obama against McCain. It said something about their bizarre beliefs, but enough about that.
The only way to describe the inability to see reason is that it is a result of a lifetime of conditioning, since the only arguments in response are the worst kind of generalizations about both points of view. In this debate facts are irrelevant, what matters are what "everybody' knows.
Opinions formed years ago - yes, even during the Roosevelt Administration - are unchangeable, having been reinforced by a lifetime of conditioning.
When presented with the facts in this article, I am certain that those with a lifetime of conditioning would respond with either utter disbelief or by saying something to the effect that the other side believed or did the same thing.
The only ray of hope is that those few who are able to get beyond their conditioning become not only convinced conservatives, but enthusiastic conservatives. And it is a one way street - one never hears of conservatives becoming liberals, always - ALWAYS the reverse.
That being said, for those who despair of ever reaching the Democratic Jewish community I would say two things:
(1) Orthodox Jews, whose numbers year by year increase as a percentage of the overall Jewish community, given the large families and resistance to assimilation, and the low birth rate and small families in the Reform and Conservative Jewish communities, are almost uniformly politically conservative - for Orthodox Jews there is no lifetime of conditioning, there are realistic assessments, and
(2) despite the conditioning there are an ever greater number of formerly liberal Democratic Jews who realize the inherent hostility of the Democrats to their community, among other things.
Moreover, hard as it is to accept the numbers of Conservative and Reform Jews are shrinking since the very success of these communities have led to low birth rates. Additionally, Democratic Party principles also include a hostility to Judeo-Christian beliefs and that hostility has in many cases been taken to heart - although this is anecdotal I have noticed that many liberal Jews have abandoned the faith and accepted other religions, or practices. There is truth to the saying that those who believe in nothing will believe in anything.
Your piece and you conclusions regarding FDR and the Wagner-Rogers Bill is wrong and a lie. All documentation of that issue disagree with your totally wrong conclusion. FDR wrote no action on the bill after it languished in Congress. he understood the virulent opposition from the American First group and Southern Dixiecrats. Learn a little history before you spout such inaccuracies.
With respect to America’s xenophobia regarding the Jews, immigration and our entrance into World War II short of being attacked, in 1937 two out of five Americans voiced anti-Jewish sentiment. In March of 1938, 41% of Americans believed that Jews had too much power, and 50% believed that they were to blame for their own persecution. After the German invasion of Austria and the resulting Anschluss, FDR asked for a greater expansion of the German immigration quota, Congress rebuffed him. Regarding this effort, when Congressmen Emmanuel Cellar of NY, and Adolph Sabath (1866-1952, Member of Congress for 44 years) of Ill., introduced a bill to increase the quota, they were told by their southern colleagues, that if they continued their efforts, the quota would be removed by Congress. Their bill was withdrawn. Ironically when there was talk of opening the quotas or increasing them, almost all of the European countries demanded an “equal” opportunity to deport their “Jews” to the United States. In a sense it spread the virus of “Judenrein” which the Nazis had originally authored. When Senator Robert F. Wagner, Sr., (1877-1953, US Senator from NY 1927-49) proposed a bill, with Congresswoman Edith Rogers, to bring German refugee children into the United States (20,000 who were understood to be almost all Jewish), the bill was forced to be withdrawn for lack of support. Later a bill to allow English children to come to the United States sailed through without opposition.
FDR was a confirmed life-long Zionist and what he learned from the Saudi King was that they would never agree to any Jewish State, under any circumstance. He found out that the American Zionists were under rating Arab hatred and fear of an independent Jewish State. Therefore he was buying time with regards to the need for oil, the defeating of Germany and Japan. FDR tried to cajole Sa'ud and offered him all sorts of aid and incentives.
Of course, in the last few months of his life, FDR did assure both the Zionists in America of his continued support and the British and the Arabs that he would not unilaterally force a Zionist state on them without their consent. This dualism is not easily answered. In a sense FDR was continuing his balancing act with his British Allies. He understood their deep reliance on both India and their long relationship with the Arabs. Certainly he wanted not to threaten their unity with extraneous issues not related to winning the war in both Europe and Japan. He was unaware that the Atomic Bomb would be successfully tested in the coming months, and therefore he looked forward to a long bitter and bloody struggle to subdue and conquer Japan. Roosevelt was also exhausted by his 12,000+ mile trip back and forth to Yalta. FDR, by that time ad been quite sick for almost a year, and the stress regarding his campaign for re-election in 1944 and the pressures of the war were taking a great toll on him. In a sense he was trying to focus on the continued effort leading to victory and he would let nothing else interfere with that goal.
Americans were so opposed to intervening on behalf of Britain that in the last Gallup Poll taken before the attack on Pearl Harbor, 90% of the public said that American should not physically help Britain even it meant their invasion and collapse! Actually between 1933 and 1937 only 40,000 Jews came legally to the United States, Of course many had left Germany for other countries, never expecting their lives to be threatened outside of Hitler’s grasp. They never anticipated a world war and they surely never expected to be victims of the “Final Solution.” After Kristallnacht, almost all Jews filled the American national origin quota and over 110,000 Jews legally immigrated to the United States. In fact during those years over half of the immigrants to the United States were Jewish. There was also much illegal immigration and the administration did not make an effort to prevent it from happening.
From a political perspective Roosevelt was being attacked from all quarters on his international positions. Knowing the American people were against any type of immigration he urged the British to allow more Jews into Palestine. In that regard FDR attempted to bring worldwide attention to the need to find places of refuge for Jewish immigrants. In 1938, President Roosevelt proposed a major conference to discuss aiding refugees, and the United States invited twenty-nine nations to meet that summer at Evian-les-Baines, France. But nothing of value came from the meeting. Of course there was no war going on, so there was no concept of an immediate threat to the life and limb of European Jewry.
As early as 1924 there were very strict immigration laws regarding national origin. In 1930, because of the severity of the economic depression, President Herbert Hoover ordered the State Department, whose Consular Division issued entry visas to applicants, to be quite strict in enforcing restrictions against persons “likely to be become a public charge.” Unfortunately when it came to Jews these actions were taken with unusual severity. Under FDR, Breckinridge Long, (1881-1958) who headed that division of the State Department, and who had wide spread Congressional support, exercised tremendous prejudice against Jews when it came to visa applications. He did not believe that there was a “universal right of anyone to enter the United States.” The Roosevelt Administration admitted over 90,000 German Jews, about 18 percent of the Jewish prewar German population. Long disliked and resented Jewish and Catholic leaders and felt they all hated him. In the summer of 1940 he wrote a memo to James Dunn and Adolph Berle (1895-1971,former member of the “Brain Trust”, asst. Secretary of State 1938-44) that he advised our counselor people overseas to “put every obstacle in the away of and to require additional evidence and to resort to various administrative devices which would postpone, and postpone the granting of visas.” (Franklin Roosevelt, Champion of Freedom, Conrad Black, page 815.) Author Conrad Black believes that FDR must have been aware of Long’s actions. But of course there is no proof of that. But even though the Wannsee Meeting wasn’t to be held until 16 months later there was a profound amount of Nazi murders of Jews, and there was an opportunity during that period to get more Jews out of Europe.
Only when Secretary Morgenthau became aware of Long’s actions did he come straight to the President. With that knowledge at hand, FDR created by Executive Order the War Refugee Board. In January of 1944, this Board was to facilitate and attempt to rescue any and all refugees that could be reached. Again it is hard to believe that FDR was really aware of Long’s actions, and by that time (1942-3) there would be no real purpose for him to support those actions.
Simplistic conclusions beg the issue of politics, anti-Semitism and race hatred in America. There has been rarely a time in America when Conservatives, Republicans or their fallow-travelers have been interested in toleration, pluralism and integration. What ever Rockefeller Republicans who lipped serviced those goals, havelong disappeared. In fact, when it came up to standing my those toothless promises the conservative and isolationist forces quickly retreated.
Don't tell half the story.
Richard J. Garfunkel
Host of The Advocates
WVOX 1460 am radio
New Rochelle, NY
to BRL - I found your comments and explanation in historical terms very interesting - I, too, have wondered why Jews supported FDR and our current democrats and at the same time seem hostile to Israel and the Republicans. They were also very enthusiastic and supportive of Stalin in the 30's even though they became targets of his regime. It seems psychology and history play a powerful role, as well as accepted perceptions that aren't rooted in reality.
I have often observed that I have more in common with my Orthodox Jewish friends than with liberal Catholics. And the reasons a Catholic would be a liberal are similar to those for Jews:
•Solipsism is the core attitude of liberalism. It is vanity masquerading as empathy.
•Such solipsism can result in a sort of perverse grandiosity: the belief that other peoples’ bad behavior, like other peoples’ suffering, is one’s own fault. It explains the liberal's attraction to foreign dictators and willingness to excuse terrorists.
•Liberalism is likewise constantly engaged in the anxious exercise of moral vanity, and the pursuit of the moral high ground: this gives one a sense of entitlement to pick winners and losers, and accounts for liberals' selective moral indignation.
•Liberalism further offers Catholics a way of overcoming the shame of being identified with working-class ethnics having a pre-modern world-view. The mud of the bog and the incense-stink of the Church are forever haunting people anxious about passing in polite society and academia.
What Roosevelt had to say - expressing sympathy with anti-Semitic sentiments on ground level amongst Germans, rings a bell for us here in South Africa..
We all know where that kind of thinking lead…Auschwitz and Dachau.
And it is the type ot thing that is the constant refrain of South ASfrican politicians about white affluence. Idiotically ignoring the fact that you must also MERIT the title of lawyer, doctor, school teacher and college professor..
The real but unspoken gripe here is that they were being out-merited..
FDR and Saud then, Obama and Saud now. Ugh.
.... Herbert Hoover's career came crashing down with his failure as president to manage the Depression ....
Not all that surprising, really, considering the treacherous Roosevelt hadn't yet caused his Depression to happen -- and did not do so until well into the mid-1930s.
Truman was certainly an anachronism.
He always referred to black people as "niggers" yet he desegregated the military and ridiculed the Ku Klux Klan, a dangerous thing to do in his time.
This to me is an example of seeming to drive a tack with a sledgehammer. It seems clear to me as a non Jew that Obama has done enough just since his election to change the minds of those
Jews who may have supported him at that time.
This lengthy dissertation seems hardly necessary unless there is
some other unrevealed motivation that seems too shameful to even
Excellent article. I always thought Roosevelt was an opportunist and hypocrite.
BRI: Interesting comments. I enjoyed reading them.
So your are say that if you don't have money you cannot play with the big boys? Well some of the big boys better learn how to fight their own war without putting the rest of us in harm way!
Well said, well researched... with an exception. There's no conceivable connection between Anne Frank and the Wagner-Rogers bill.
Wagner-Rogers, which died peacefully in Congress in the first half of 1939 for lack of support, was indeed never supported (or officially opposed) by FDR or many in his administration. Its aim was to create an "exception" to our then-strict immigration quotas from European countries, to allow an extra 20,000 German children -- many of them persecuted Jews -- to enter the U.S.
After the bill died, critics charged heartlessness, pointing out that even countries like Holland had bent their quotas to take in 1,000 or more German refugees per year. Indeed, Holland had taken in the entire Frank family, including Anne and her sister, in 1933. While Wagner-Rogers was being bandied about in Congress, the Franks were doing quite well in Amsterdam, and had been for six years.
While the Franks technically retained their German citizenship during their exile, I think it unlikely that they would ever have been volunteered for refugee deportation by a German government that, at the time, had absolutely no jurisdiction over them, as residents of a foreign country.
Germany took Holland in May, 1940, by which time the war in Europe was well underway, and Wagner-Rogers was a distant memory. It was not until then that Germany regained power over the Franks.
Connecting Wagner-Rogers and Anne Frank & family, while perhaps poignant, is historically ridiculous.
The Jews are very much like the negroes here in the USA.. don't confuse me with the facst.. I was born a Democrat.. and no matter what.. I'll die a Democrat.
The Republicans are all FASCISTS!
Obama will get 98% of the Black AND the Jewish vote.. how very sad.
I am a Jew who was raised as a red, but had turned conservative by the time I was 16, in the 1960s.
I think the answer to the question "Why are Jews Democrats?" has little to do with Jewish religion -- most lefty Jews are non-observant -- while it has everything to do with Jewish culture in Eastern Europe.
In the rural shtetls (Jewish villages) and urban ghettoes, the rabbi was paid by "the community," and so were the school teachers, and so were the doctors and lawyers. They were paid salaries, and served all (Jewish) comers at no cost.
To poor Jews, and the vast majority of Jewish immigrants to the US were poor, professional services had always been "free." They see no reason for that to change.
That is a big part of it.
Another part is that in Europe, Jews could only live and prosper under a friendly monarch. In return for large loans which both parties understood would never be repaid, kings and princes would allow Jewish merchants to do business on favorable terms, terms that were often resented by non-Jewish peasants, merchants, and minor nobles.
In other words, ever since the Middle Ages., European Jews have seen Big Government as their friend, usually their only friend.
So why don't Jews realize that America is different?
One reason is that for many Jews, America isn't different. Many follow the path of education leading to professional careers, working for salaries just like the more successful Jews in Europe (the ones that those great socialist leaders, Hitler and Stalin, killed off).
A Jew who succeeds in business is regarded as inferior, and tries to apologize for this by donating his wealth to universities, hospitals, and other bureaucratic bastions of professional salary-men.
Plus he could not, and probably still cannot, participate in gentile social institutions, such as country clubs. To win acceptance in Jewish social organizations, he had to get with the leftist program, and really mean it.
Another reason, is that we Jews are not necessarily as smart as we seem. We are literate, and have been for 5000 years, and we are glib. That does not necessarily equate to smart. Indeed it often does not.
As to American Jews and Israel, as long as Israel was a Socialist Utopia, and incidentally Jewish, leftish American Jews were all for it -- and all for the American taxpayer underwriting it.
Now that Israel is increasingly conservative, American "liberal" Jews would just as soon see the Palestinians, Syrians, and Iranians push the Israelis into the sea.