How Theodore Roosevelt Embarrassed an Anti-Semite While Protecting His Freedom of Speech

In 1892, Hermann Ahlwardt was elected to the German parliament on an explicitly anti-Semitic platform. Three years later he broke off from his party to found the “Anti-Semitic People’s Party.” Dovi Safier and Yehuda Geberer tell the story of his brief tour of United States in the same year, in which he was feted by the newly formed Anti-Semitic Society of America. At the time, Theodore Roosevelt was New York City’s police commissioner. Safier and Geberer cite the future president’s description of what followed:

“While I was Police Commissioner of New York City, an anti-Semitic preacher from Berlin, Rector Ahlwardt, came to New York to preach a crusade against the Jews. Many Jews were much excited and asked me to prevent him from speaking and not to give him police protection. This, I told them, was impossible; and, if possible, would have been undesirable, because it would make him a martyr. The proper thing to do was to make him ridiculous. Accordingly, I sent a detail of police under a Jewish sergeant, and the Jew-baiter made his harangue under the active protection of some 40 police, every one of them a Jew.”

Safier and Geberer add:

As a result, his U.S. tour wasn’t overly successful, and the American press was full of derision for his stated mission. When he arrived in Hoboken, New Jersey to deliver an address at the local anti-Semitic society, he was berated and beaten by the young Jewish crowd, causing him to draw his (illegally obtained) pistol and wave it at the crowd. This act landed him in prison for disorderly conduct and carrying a concealed weapon. Borrowing a page from Commissioner Roosevelt’s playbook, the authorities in Hoboken placed him in a cell together with his assailants—who surely didn’t file a complaint about overcrowding.

Read more at Mishpacha

More about: American Jewish History, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, New York City, Theodore Roosevelt

Why Hizballah Is Threatening Cyprus

In a speech last Wednesday, Hizballah’s secretary general Hassan Nasrallah not only declared that “nowhere will be safe” in Israel in the event of an all-out war, but also that his forces would attack the island nation of Cyprus. Hanin Ghaddar, Farzin Nadimi, and David Schenker observe that this is no idle threat, but one the Iran-backed terrorist group has “a range of options” for carrying out. They explain: 

Nasrallah’s threat to Cyprus was not random—the republic has long maintained close ties with Israel, much to Hizballah’s irritation. In recent years, the island has hosted multiple joint air-defense drills and annual special-forces exercises with Israel focused on potential threats from Hizballah and Iran.

Nasrallah’s threat should also be viewed in the context of wartime statements by Iran and its proxies about disrupting vital shipping lanes to Israel through the East Mediterranean.

This scenario should be particularly troubling to Washington given the large allied military presence in Cyprus, which includes a few thousand British troops, more than a hundred U.S. Air Force personnel, and a detachment of U-2 surveillance aircraft from the 1st Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron.

Yoni Ben Menachem suggests there is an additional aspect to Nasrallah’s designs on Cyprus, involving a plan

to neutralize the Israeli air force through two primary actions: a surprise attack with precision missiles and UAVs on Israeli air-force bases and against radar and air-defense facilities, including paralyzing Ben-Gurion Airport.

Nasrallah’s goal is to ground Israeli aircraft to prevent them from conducting missions in Lebanon against mid- and long-range missile launchers. Nasrallah fears that Israel might preempt his planned attack by deploying its air force to Cypriot bases, a scenario the Israeli air force practiced with Cyprus during military exercises over the past year.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Cyprus, Hizballah, U.S. Security