The Kindertransport’s True Legacy

In discussions regarding Britain’s obligations to Ukrainian refugees, notes Jonathan Freedland, many commentators have invoked the Kindertransport, in which specially chartered trains brought thousands of Jews below the age of seventeen to England in the months prior to World War II. Freeland argues that appealing to the Kindertransport as a “noble tradition of looking after refugees,” as the conservative pundit Simon Heffer put it, is both self-serving and inaccurate:

It is quite true that between March 1938 and the outbreak of war in September 1939, some 9,000 Jews below the age of seventeen came to Britain on the specially chartered trains that would become known as the Kindertransport. But here’s the question asked by too few of those who like to invoke that episode as proof of British generosity: why exactly was it children who were admitted, given that it was Jews of all ages who faced the threat of lethal Nazi persecution in Europe?

The answer is not flattering. Special provision was made for those children because Britain refused to let in their parents—or indeed any adults. Consult The Final Solution, the magisterial history of the Holocaust by the late David Cesarani—and how we miss his calm, reasoned scholarship—and you soon learn that then-Home Secretary Sir Samuel Hoare waved aside demands that Britain extend a hand to Jews fleeing Nazism, telling the House of Commons that there was an “underlying current of suspicion and anxiety, rightly or wrongly, about alien immigration on any big scale. It is a fact that below the surface there is the making of a definite anti-Jewish movement.”

In other words, His Majesty’s government could not help Jews escape anti-Semitism in Germany because that might cause anti-Semitism in Britain. Jewish refugees would become the objects of hatred, not least from those who imagined refugees coming here and stealing their jobs. Best, then, to keep the Jews out.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Anti-Semitism, Holocaust, Kindertransport, United Kingdom

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy