How the U.S. Nixed a Philippine Effort to Save Jews from Hitler

Feb. 24 2020

Near the end of the 1930s, when much of the world had closed its doors to Jewish refugees, the Philippine president Manuel Quezon decided to welcome Jews from Austria and Germany to his country. But the U.S. government, which in 1935 had granted autonomy but not complete independence to the Commonwealth of the Philippines, interfered with his efforts. Rich Tenorio writes:

Quezon wanted to bring tens of thousands of Jews to the Philippines and permanently settle them on the island of Mindanao. [But he] faced internal opposition to his refugee plan within the Philippines. . . . Quezon’s health also hindered his ability [to carry out his plan]; he was battling a relapse of the tuberculosis that would eventually kill him. . . .

“Unfortunately, the Americans rejected the idea,” said [Israel Imperial, the current Philippine ambassador to Israel], adding that a compromise figure of 10,000 was reached—1,000 visas over ten years—but the Japanese invasion of the Philippines brought the program to “an abrupt end.” Imperial said that the number of Jews saved by Quezon is between 1,200 and 1,300.

A new feature film, Quezon’s Game, directed by the Philippines-based Jewish filmmaker Matthew Rosen, may help cement the initiative’s place in history. [There is also a] 2020 documentary, The Last Manilaners, directed by Nico Hernandez, [as well as] a 2012 documentary by the Filipino filmmaker Noel Izon, An Open Door: Jewish Rescue in the Philippines.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Holocaust, Refugees, Righteous Among the Nations, Southeast Asia

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter