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September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
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Letters To The Editor

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Same Old UN

Re “The UN’s Partisan Diplomacy” (op-ed, Feb. 15):

The list of investigations, reports, and fact-finding missions accusing Israel, and only Israel, of a compendium of violations of international human rights laws is as long as it is malicious and based on fallacy.

It is sadly evident that not a single unit of the United Nations can truthfully claim to embrace the idealistic goals of the founders of that organization’s founders.

Fay Dicker
Lakewood, NJ

Jewish Dems In Congress Must Step Up

Jewish Democrats in Congress have fallen in line with President Obama’s nomination for secretary of defense of Chuck Hagel, a man who spoke about members of Congress being intimidated by the “Jewish Lobby.”

New York’s own Chuck Schumer led Jewish Democrats in falling behind the Hagel nomination.

Some non-Jewish Democratic members of Congress have been better friends of the Jews than many of the current Jewish Democrats in Congress. On the freezing cold night of December 27, 1969, Congressman Mario Biaggi spoke at an early demonstration for Soviet Jewry. Senator Henry Jackson, of course, introduced legislation linking most favored nation treatment for the Soviet Union to freedom of emigration from the Soviet Union, especially for Jews.

Also, Senator Guy Gillette and Congressman Will Rogers Jr. in 1943 introduced the Gillette-Rogers rescue resolution calling for the creation of a special United States Government Agency to try to save the Jews of Europe. That resolution together with other factors led to the creation of the War Refugee Board, which saved about 250,000 people, including about 200,000 Jews, from the Nazis.

Other non-Jewish Democratic members of Congress who acted like better Jews than current Jewish members of Congress include Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Daniel Inouye.

Jewish members of Congress should have a little more loyalty to Jews and a little less loyalty to Obama. And, please, a little more loyalty to America. Benghazi must not be swept under the rug.

Reuven (Raymond) Solomon
(Via E-Mail)

Jewish Press, Front To Back

A recent five-hour flight gave me the luxury of reading The Jewish Press front to back, and I applaud you on an exceptional Feb. 8 issue.

Having been with Assemblyman Dov Hikind at his press conference opposing Brooklyn College’s endorsement of the BDS event on campus, I was fascinated by Edward Alexander’s op-ed on Judith Butler, especially his reminder that her endorsement of the BDS campaign is “an offshoot of the longstanding Arab boycott of Israel (which was declared illegal by Congress in 1977).”

Alan Dershowitz’s op-ed on the same subject was also excellent. He points out that Brooklyn College would not pass the “shoe on the other foot” test. “Free speech for me, but not for thee,” he writes, “has always been the hallmark of extremists on both the left and right.”

Another article that caught my attention was Steve Walz’s highlighting of the universal draft issue raised by the ascendance of Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, in Israel’s recent elections.

Of course, the passing of former New York mayor Ed Koch took center stage that week. The front-page photo of Koch telling then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir about being hit on the head by a stone thrown by an Arab immediately brought to mind the fairly recent incident of Rep. Eliot Engel and a delegation of visitors to the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem being pelted with stones by Arabs. The stone-throwing terror attacks have become a commonplace event in Israel, endangering Israeli motorists, pedestrians and soldiers. Arab aggression grows with appeasement.

Thank you, Jewish Press editors and writers. You remind us of the great importance of good reporting and writing that enriches our lives.

Helen Freedman
Executive Director
Americans for a Safe Israel/AFSI

No, FDR Didn’t Save The Jews

Did President Franklin Roosevelt really “help save over 200,000 Jews” during the Holocaust, as author Denis Brian claimed in his interview with The Jewish Press (Dec. 21, 2012)?

Hardly.

Mr. Brian was referring to the fact that in 1944 FDR established the War Refugee Board, and the Board did ultimately play a major role in the rescue of about 200,000 Jews.

But President Roosevelt and his administration fought tooth and nail against the congressional resolution asking him to create the board. It was only under tremendous pressure from Congress, Treasury Department officials, and the activists known as the Bergson Group (who organized protest rallies and sponsored more than 200 full-page newspaper advertisements) that FDR reluctantly gave in and created the board. And even then, Roosevelt gave the board only token funding (Jewish organizations supplied 90 percent of its budget) and never intervened when the State Department and War Department refused to cooperate with the board’s efforts.

In addition, FDR and his administration rejected or ignored numerous requests from the War Refugee Board for rescue action, ranging from its request to set up temporary havens in the United States for large numbers of Jewish refugees (Roosevelt admitted just one token group of 982 refugees) to the proposals to bomb Auschwitz or the railway lines leading to it (which U.S. officials falsely claimed Allied planes could not reach).

It was the War Refugee Board, not President Roosevelt, that persuaded Raoul Wallenberg to go to Nazi-occupied Budapest to rescue Jews and that financed Wallenberg’s mission.

Yes, the staff of the War Refugee Board, led by John Pehle and Josiah E. DuBois, Jr. deserve credit for the remarkable life-saving work they undertook. But no, President Roosevelt does not deserve credit for the work they did – especially when, had he had his way, the board would never have been established in the first place.

Dr. Rafael Medoff
Director
The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies
Washington, D.C.

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