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.

Read more at Weekly Standard

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

 

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy