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

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