web analytics
August 27, 2014 / 1 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



The Jewish Vote And The 1948 Election


President Franklin D. Roosevelt

President Franklin D. Roosevelt

The Jewish community wanted President Truman to demand that the British open the doors of Palestine. But the administration waffled, afraid to clash with the British or anger the Arab world.

“I sensed this was the moment to put some real pressure on Truman and the Democrats over Palestine,” he told me. “I mean electoral pressure. The Democrats couldn’t afford to lose Jewish votes in the midterm congressional elections in November 1946 – or in the 1948 presidential race, which wasn’t far off.”

The White House was already worried about Jews leaving their traditional political home, the Democratic Party. In the autumn of 1945, the British proposed the creation of a joint Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine. Truman agreed in principle but his advisers feared Jewish voters would be angry and might turn against the Democrats in the upcoming hotly contested New York City mayoral race. The fact that the Republican nominee, Judge Jonah Goldstein, was Jewish and that the Liberal Party was also endorsing Goldstein only intensified the Democrats’ worries.

Much to London’s annoyance, Secretary of State James Byrnes insisted on postponing establishment of the committee. Citing the “intense and growing agitation about the Palestine problem in the New York electoral campaign,” Byrnes informed the British that announcement of the committee would have to wait until after the November 6 vote, lest it “inflame” New York’s Jews against the Democratic candidate. The British had no choice but to wait.

The election results seemed to confirm the wisdom of the administration’s strategy: Goldstein was handily defeated by the incumbent Democratic mayor, William O’Dwyer.

Ironically, Goldstein was the author of the famous quip about Jewish support for FDR and the Democrats: “The Jews have three veltn (worlds): di velt (this world), yene velt(the next world), and Roosevelt.”

* * * * *

By the spring of 1946, when Weintraub began his political work, the midterm congressional elections were shaping up as a referendum on the Truman administration. And the role of the Jewish vote loomed larger than ever.

The British had begun pushing for a scheme known as the Morrison-Grady Plan, which would divide Palestine into Jewish and Arab provinces under continued British rule. The State Department supported it. President Truman personally considered Morrison-Grady “really fair,” according to Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace. But there were other factors: New York State Democratic chairman Paul Fitzpatrick told the president that “If this plan goes into effect it would be useless for the Democrats to nominate a state ticket this fall.”

Wallace described in his diary how at the July 30 cabinet session, the president displayed “a sheaf of telegrams about four inches thick” that he had received from pro-Zionist protesters.

“Jesus Christ couldn’t please them when he was here on earth, so how could anyone expect that I would have any luck?” Truman complained. (Years later, historians would discover many other unflattering remarks about Jews in Truman’s diary and private correspondence.)

The cabinet session concluded with the president opting to reject the plan, in deference to Wallace’s warning that Morrison-Grady was “political dynamite.” Wallace noted in his diary: “I emphasized the political angle because that is the one angle of Palestine which has a really deep interest for Truman.”

The president later complained to Senator Elbert Thomas of Utah that “I thought we had the [Palestine] matter settled” via the Morrison-Grady plan, but “the New York Jews knocked that out…”

That same day, Democratic Party powerhouse Ed Flynn, who often advised President Truman on election matters, wrote Truman that if the administration took an anti-Zionist line, “the effects will be severely felt in November.”

Secretary Byrnes complained to Navy Secretary James Forrestal that White House aides had turned Truman against Morrison-Grady by warning that Democratic congressional candidates would lose in New York State if Truman backed down on Palestine. And New York, with 47 electoral votes, would be crucial to winning the 1948 presidential race as well.

* * * * *

Bob Weintraub had no political experience, just good instincts. “They were many people in the old neighborhood who were fighting mad about the Palestine situation,” he said. “They just weren’t sure what to do.” One by one, he convinced old friends and neighbors to be part of a grassroots effort to challenge the incumbent New York State assemblyman for their district, Anthony J. Travia, a Democrat.

About the Author: Dr. Rafael Medoff is founding director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, in Washington, D.C., and author of 14 books about the Holocaust, Zionism, and American Jewish history. His latest book is 'FDR and the Holocaust: A Breach of Faith,' available from Amazon.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Jewish Vote And The 1948 Election”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
IDF soldiers examine fragments from a rocket that landed near Kibbutz El Rom, fired from Syria on July 14, 2014.
IDF Soldier Wounded by Syrian Mortar Fire on Golan Heights
Latest Indepth Stories
Palestinian patient enters Israel for emergency treatment.

We risk our lives to help those who do what they can to kill to our people .

Mark Twain

Twain grasped amazingly well the pulse of the Jewish people.

Brudner-012414-Hollywood

The entertainment industry appears divided about the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Grandparents of 4 year old Daniel Tragerman mourn during his funeral at the Hevel Shalom Cemetery in Southern Israel. The boy was murdered by Hamas.

Israelis in Gaza border communities need to get out; who will help them?

The contrast between the mentality of Israel and the mentality of Hamas was never so loudly expressed as when the Arab killers became heroes and the Jewish killers became prisoners.

There is a threat today representing a new category of missionary:They call themselves “Hayovel.”

Just as we would never grant legitimacy to ISIS, we should not grant legitimacy to Hamas.

Is Woodstock still leading the world to destruction?

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

Blaming Israel for the violence in Gaza, he ends up justifying Hamas’s terrorism.

In the Thirties it was common for anti-Semites to call on Jews to “go to Palestine!”

Obama never hid his contempt for the Israeli government or the majority of Israel’s voters.

“This arbitrary ban is an ugly stain on our democracy, and it also undermines the rule of law.”

We take US “aid” for psychological reasons-if we have an allowance, that means we have a father.

ZIM Piraeus isn’t Israeli-owned or flagged, incidentally, it is Greek operated.

Foolish me, thinking the goals were the destruction of Hamas thereby giving peace a real chance.

More Articles from Dr. Rafael Medoff
U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Henry Morgenthau Sr. pictured in Turkish-ruled Palestine.

With generous support from the Egyptian Jewish community, the exiled family built a new life for itself in the Mafruza and Gabbari refugee camps near Alexandria.

Jan de Hartog

While grateful not to be returned to Germany, the passengers understood they were still in the middle of a danger zone.

These “Jewish Amazons” were living proof of the failure of the enemies of the Jewish people.

Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.

Sulzberger, one of the most famous “religious Jews” who opposed Zionism did not change his mind even after the Holocaust.

Meryl Streep condemned Disney for associating with extremists while doing the very same thing.

In 1943, just before Yom Kippur, some 400 rabbis marched to the White House.

When Secretary of State John Kerry appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in September to make the case for U.S. intervention in Syria, he offered a historical analogy.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/the-jewish-vote-and-the-1948-election/2012/09/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: