Have Gallup and the Holocaust Museum Cherrypicked Data to Defend FDR?

In a recent talk at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Frank Newport, the editor-in-chief of Gallup, and Daniel Greene, the curator of a current exhibition on American public opinion and the Shoah, spoke about the popular hostility in the 1930s and 40s to the idea of allowing Jewish refugees into the country. Among other things, they called attention to the fact that, in November 1938, 72 percent of respondents objected to opening the gates of the U.S. to European Jews. In what he believes to be an effort to protect the legacy of President Roosevelt, Rafael Medoff notes some important statistics that were glossed over:

After discussing polls from the 1930s, 1940, and 1941, Greene suddenly leap-frogged over the rest of World War II and went straight to the postwar period. [He and Newport] claimed that American public opposition to admitting refugees continued throughout the war and afterward. But the truth is that there was a very significant shift—according to a poll that Gallup itself took in 1944, in the middle of the war and in the middle of the Holocaust.

What happened is that a small U.S. government agency, the War Refugee Board, proposed to President Roosevelt in early 1944 that he should grant temporary haven to hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees until the end of the war. To test the waters of public opinion on the proposal, the White House commissioned a Gallup poll in April of 1944. Gallup found that 70 percent of the public supported giving “temporary protection and refuge” in the United States to “those people in Europe who have been persecuted by the Nazis.” . . .

Gallup’s April 1944 poll was taken more than a year before the end of the war. It was late, but it was not too late, to rescue a significant number of Jewish refugees, if only President Roosevelt had shown an interest in doing so—and as the poll showed, he would have enjoyed ample public support for such action. Sadly, he agreed to grant temporary haven to just one token group of 982 refugees.

That crucial poll is omitted from the Holocaust Museum’s new exhibit, which is one of the reasons that many Holocaust scholars have criticized it. Acknowledging the wartime shift of public opinion would upset the exhibit’s underlying theme of minimizing President Roosevelt’s abandonment of the Jews. Visitors would realize that the president’s hands were not completely tied [by public opinion], after all.

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Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Holocaust Museums, Refugees

The Arab Press Blames Iran Rather Than Israel for Gaza’s Woes

Following the fighting between Israel and Islamic Jihad over the weekend, many journalists and commentators in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia didn’t rush to condemn the Jewish state. Instead, as the translators at the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) note, they criticized the terrorist group for “operating in service of Iranian interests and thus inflicting suffering on the Gaza Strip’s residents.” One Saudi intellectual, Turki al-Hamad, wrote the following on Twitter:

It is apparent that, if at one time any confrontation between Israel and the Palestinian organizations would attract world and Arab attention and provoke a wave of anger [against Israel], today it does not shock most Arabs and most of the world’s [countries]. Furthermore, even a sense of human solidarity [with the Palestinians] has become rare and embarrassing, raising the question, “Why [is this happening] and who is to blame?”

I believe that the main reason is the lack of confidence in all the Palestinian leaders. . . . From the Arabs’ and the world’s perspective, it is already clear that these leaders are manipulating the [Palestinian] cause out of self-interest and diplomatic, economic, or even personal motives, and that the Palestinian issue is completely unconnected to this. The Palestinian cause has become a bargaining chip in the hands of these and other organizations and states headed by the [Iranian] ayatollah regime.

A, article in a major Arabic-language newspaper took a similar approach:

In a lengthy front-page report on August 7, the London-based UAE daily Al-Arab criticized Islamic Jihad, writing that “Gaza again became an arena for the settling of accounts between Iran and Israel, while the Palestinian citizens are the ones paying the price.” It added that Iran does not want to confront Israel directly for its bombings in Syria and its attacks on Iranian scientists and nuclear facilities.

“The war in Gaza is not the first, nor will it be the last. But it proves . . . that Iran is exploiting Gaza as it exploits Lebanon, in order to strengthen its hand in negotiations with the West. We all know that Iran hasn’t fired a single bullet at Israel, and it also will not do this to defend Gaza or Lebanon.”

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Read more at MEMRI

More about: Gaza Strip, Iran, Islamic Jihad, Israel-Arab relations, Persian Gulf