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A Holocaust Museum Exhibit Goes Out of Its Way to Defend FDR

According to its curator, a new exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum titled Americans and the Holocaust aims to show—among other things—that “even the U.S. president faces constraints.” Yet to Rafael Medoff, the exhibit goes one step further and seems to exonerate Franklin D. Roosevelt for his indifference to the plight of Jews in Hitler’s Europe:

The exhibit defends FDR’s refusal, from 1933 to 1938, to criticize Hitler’s persecution of the Jews publicly. A text panel claims that “the accepted rules of international diplomacy obliged [the U.S. government] to respect Germany’s right to govern its own citizens and not intervene on behalf of those being targeted.” [But] Presidents Martin Van Buren, James Buchanan, and Ulysses S. Grant protested the mistreatment of Jews in Syria, Switzerland, and Romania, respectively. Theodore Roosevelt protested the persecution of Jews in Romania. The U.S. government, under President William Taft, canceled a Russo-American treaty to protest Russia’s oppression of Jews. Woodrow Wilson inserted clauses protecting minorities in the Paris Peace Conference agreements [following World War I]. There was ample precedent for Franklin D. Roosevelt to speak out; he chose not to. . . .

In any event, the president could have aided Jews [trying to escape Europe] without provoking a public controversy by quietly allowing the existing quota [for immigrants from Germany] to be filled. However, FDR permitted that quota to be fully utilized in only one of his twelve years in office, and in most of those years it was less than 25-percent filled. More than 190,000 quota places from Germany and Axis-occupied countries were left unused from 1933 to 1945. . . .

The exhibit [also] does not mention that clergy, professors, and students could have been admitted without regard to number. Nor is there any mention of the proposals for admitting refugees temporarily to U.S. territories such as Alaska or the Virgin Islands.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Holocaust, Holocaust Museums, Refugees

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