How American Passivity in the Face of the Holocaust Left Its Mark on Robert Morgenthau

Robert Morgenthau, who died on July 21 ten days shy of his 100th birthday, had a long career as a U.S. attorney and as Manhattan district attorney. A decorated World War II veteran, he was the son and grandson of two of the most prominent Jews in American public life: Henry Morgenthau, Sr., a real-estate baron who had served as ambassador to the Ottoman empire, and Henry Jr., who was Franklin Roosevelt’s secretary of the treasury. Robert Morgenthau had little to do, publicly, with Jewish affairs, yet they affected him deeply. Steven I. Weiss writes:

[T]he horrors of Hitler’s Germany weighed on [Robert Morgenthau] as an example of what could go wrong when decision-makers in a country become corrupt opportunists. . . . Some of the lessons of what could go wrong in fighting injustice came from his own, insider’s view of the American government’s response to the Holocaust. When Morgenthau volunteered for military service in World War II, he already knew of his father’s fights within the Roosevelt administration to try to do more about the ongoing genocide of Jews in Europe. Henry Jr. was . . . nearly [removed] from his cabinet position for trying to arm France in 1939, [and] had to lobby hard [merely] to establish a Jewish refugee camp in upstate New York.

In the late 1980s, [Robert] accepted a commission from then-Mayor Ed Koch to lead an effort to build a Holocaust memorial in New York City. After others failed to raise the necessary money, Morgenthau stepped in to call millionaires personally and solicit large donations from the very sorts of financiers he’d made his name investigating, and managed to bring the project back on track.

In connection with this project, Morgenthau was also influential in arranging for John Cardinal O’Connor to deliver a speech apologizing for the Catholic Church’s role in the Holocaust, the first such statement from a high-ranking church official.

Read more at Pacific Standard

More about: Catholic Church, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Holocaust, Jewish-Catholic relations, New York City


Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security