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China’s Forgotten Plan to Resettle Jewish Refugees from the Third Reich

Officials of the then-Republic of China, under President Chiang Kai-shek, drafted a plan in 1939 to open the country’s borders to stateless Jews—of whom there were many in Europe, most of them having had their citizenship revoked by Germany or Austria—and settle them near the Burmese border. Although the proposal made it to the cabinet and was approved in principle, the government deferred and eventually dropped the idea. Aharon Shai writes:

In addition to humanitarian considerations, Chinese officials listed four major reasons for the initiative. One was assisting small ethnic groups in the spirit of China’s policy [toward its many ethnic minorities]. Another was the hope that assisting the Jews would evoke the British public’s sympathy toward China, [then at war with Japan], mainly because, as is commonly known, many British financiers and bankers who worked in East Asia were Jews.

China also expected that helping the Jews would increase the American public’s sympathy to China’s distress. Finally, the absorption of Jews, who had considerable economic means and talents, would be a welcome contribution to China, the planners said.

They decided to designate an area close to the southwestern border, appoint an official committee to run the project, enlist Jewish leaders from China and abroad to support the initiative, and register Jewish professionals to advance certain fields in China.

Read more at Haaretz

More about: China, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Refugees, World War II

 

How the U.S. Can Strike at Iran without Risking War

In his testimony before Congress on Tuesday, Michael Doran urged the U.S. to pursue a policy of rolling back Iranian influence in the Middle East, and explained how this can be accomplished. (Video of the testimony, along with the full text, are available at the link below.)

The United States . . . has indirect ways of striking at Iran—ways that do not risk drawing the United States into a quagmire. The easiest of these is to support allies who are already in the fight. . . . In contrast to the United States, Israel is already engaged in military operations whose stated goal is to drive Iran from Syria. We should therefore ask ourselves what actions we might take to strengthen Israel’s hand. Militarily, these might include, on the passive end of the spectrum, positioning our forces so as to deter Russian counterattacks against Israel. On the [more active] end, they might include arming and training Syrian forces to engage in operations against Iran and its proxies—much as we armed the mujahedin in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Diplomatically, the United States might associate itself much more directly with the red lines that Israel has announced regarding the Iranian presence in Syria. Israel has, for example, called for pushing Iran and its proxies away from its border on the Golan Heights. Who is prepared to say that Washington has done all in its power to demonstrate to Moscow that it fully supports this goal? In short, a policy of greater coordination with Jerusalem is both possible and desirable.

In Yemen, too, greater coordination with Saudi Arabia is worth pursuing. . . . In Lebanon and Iraq, conditions will not support a hard rollback policy. In these countries the goal should be to shift the policy away from a modus vivendi [with Iran] and in the direction of containment. In Iraq, the priority, of course, is the dismantling of the militia infrastructure that the Iranians have built. In Lebanon, [it should be] using sanctions to force the Lebanese banking sector to choose between doing business with Hizballah and Iran and doing business with the United States and its financial institutions. . . .

Iran will not take a coercive American policy sitting down. It will strike back—and it will do so cleverly. . . . It almost goes without saying that the United States should begin working with its allies now to develop contingency plans for countering the tactics [Tehran is likely to use]. I say “almost” because I know from experience in the White House that contingency planning is something we extol much more than we conduct. As obvious as these tactics [against us] are, they have often taken Western decision makers by surprise, and they have proved effective in wearing down Western resolve.

Read more at Hudson

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, U.S. Foreign policy, Yemen