A Holocaust Museum Exhibit Goes Out of Its Way to Defend FDR

According to its curator, a new exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum titled Americans and the Holocaust aims to show—among other things—that “even the U.S. president faces constraints.” Yet to Rafael Medoff, the exhibit goes one step further and seems to exonerate Franklin D. Roosevelt for his indifference to the plight of Jews in Hitler’s Europe:

The exhibit defends FDR’s refusal, from 1933 to 1938, to criticize Hitler’s persecution of the Jews publicly. A text panel claims that “the accepted rules of international diplomacy obliged [the U.S. government] to respect Germany’s right to govern its own citizens and not intervene on behalf of those being targeted.” [But] Presidents Martin Van Buren, James Buchanan, and Ulysses S. Grant protested the mistreatment of Jews in Syria, Switzerland, and Romania, respectively. Theodore Roosevelt protested the persecution of Jews in Romania. The U.S. government, under President William Taft, canceled a Russo-American treaty to protest Russia’s oppression of Jews. Woodrow Wilson inserted clauses protecting minorities in the Paris Peace Conference agreements [following World War I]. There was ample precedent for Franklin D. Roosevelt to speak out; he chose not to. . . .

In any event, the president could have aided Jews [trying to escape Europe] without provoking a public controversy by quietly allowing the existing quota [for immigrants from Germany] to be filled. However, FDR permitted that quota to be fully utilized in only one of his twelve years in office, and in most of those years it was less than 25-percent filled. More than 190,000 quota places from Germany and Axis-occupied countries were left unused from 1933 to 1945. . . .

The exhibit [also] does not mention that clergy, professors, and students could have been admitted without regard to number. Nor is there any mention of the proposals for admitting refugees temporarily to U.S. territories such as Alaska or the Virgin Islands.

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Holocaust, Holocaust Museums, Refugees

 

The Arab Press Blames Iran Rather Than Israel for Gaza’s Woes

Following the fighting between Israel and Islamic Jihad over the weekend, many journalists and commentators in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia didn’t rush to condemn the Jewish state. Instead, as the translators at the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) note, they criticized the terrorist group for “operating in service of Iranian interests and thus inflicting suffering on the Gaza Strip’s residents.” One Saudi intellectual, Turki al-Hamad, wrote the following on Twitter:

It is apparent that, if at one time any confrontation between Israel and the Palestinian organizations would attract world and Arab attention and provoke a wave of anger [against Israel], today it does not shock most Arabs and most of the world’s [countries]. Furthermore, even a sense of human solidarity [with the Palestinians] has become rare and embarrassing, raising the question, “Why [is this happening] and who is to blame?”

I believe that the main reason is the lack of confidence in all the Palestinian leaders. . . . From the Arabs’ and the world’s perspective, it is already clear that these leaders are manipulating the [Palestinian] cause out of self-interest and diplomatic, economic, or even personal motives, and that the Palestinian issue is completely unconnected to this. The Palestinian cause has become a bargaining chip in the hands of these and other organizations and states headed by the [Iranian] ayatollah regime.

A, article in a major Arabic-language newspaper took a similar approach:

In a lengthy front-page report on August 7, the London-based UAE daily Al-Arab criticized Islamic Jihad, writing that “Gaza again became an arena for the settling of accounts between Iran and Israel, while the Palestinian citizens are the ones paying the price.” It added that Iran does not want to confront Israel directly for its bombings in Syria and its attacks on Iranian scientists and nuclear facilities.

“The war in Gaza is not the first, nor will it be the last. But it proves . . . that Iran is exploiting Gaza as it exploits Lebanon, in order to strengthen its hand in negotiations with the West. We all know that Iran hasn’t fired a single bullet at Israel, and it also will not do this to defend Gaza or Lebanon.”

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Read more at MEMRI

More about: Gaza Strip, Iran, Islamic Jihad, Israel-Arab relations, Persian Gulf