Alexander Hamilton and the Founding Philo-Semites

Taking as her point of departure Andrew Porwancher’s The Jewish World of Alexander Hamilton, which explores the first treasury secretary’s possible Jewish origins and many Jewish connections, Juliana Geran Pilon discusses the American Founders’ attitudes toward Jews:

John Adams described Jews as “avaricious,” as did Benjamin Franklin, who thought greed to be entrenched in the Jewish psyche. Yet they both expressed great admiration for the Hebrews. Adams declared them to have influenced the affairs of mankind more, and more happily, than any other nation, ancient or modern, going even so far as to describe them as “the most glorious Nation that ever inhabited the earth.” Franklin also exhibited an “inconsistent mix of bias and tolerance toward Jews and their faith.” (He always included synagogues among the beneficiaries of his donations to the building of houses of worship.)

Franklin’s ambivalence, writes Porwancher, “made him typical of several other Founders.” Only George Washington’s utter “lack of prejudice against Jews was of a piece with Hamilton’s, although the former never developed the extensive ties to Jews that the latter would.”

In 1787, [Hamilton] took up the cause of his alma mater, King’s College, renamed Columbia, whose 1754 charter had just come up for renewal. The New York State legislature wanted to wrest control from the board of trustees, but Hamilton was instrumental in thwarting that plan. The charter was also updated to revoke explicitly the administration’s power to “prescribe a form of public prayer.” It even abolished any requirements “which render a person ineligible to the office of president of the college on account of his religious tenets.” A new trustee was also named to Columbia’s board: Gershom Seixas, a Jew. “Seixas and Hamilton had previously sat together on a board of regents that oversaw education writ large in the state of New York,” writes Porwancher, “but now—for the first time since higher education began in America with the founding of Harvard in 1636—a Jew would serve as a trustee of a specific college. Columbia would not have another Jew on its board until 1928.”

Read more at Law and Liberty

More about: Alexander Hamilton, American founding, American Jewish History, Philo-Semitism


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