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April 22, 2015 7:55 pm

On Independence Day, Former Defense Minister Says Israel Becoming More Independent Each Year

avatar by David Daoud

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Moshe Arens, Israel's former defense minister, said Israel becomes more independent with each passing year. PHOTO: Wikipedia.

Moshe Arens, Israel’s former Defense Minister, said that with every year that passes, the State of Israel becomes more independent than the previous years. His comments were made in an interview with Israel’s Walla news on Wednesday.

Though he admitted that Israel – just like all other countries in the world – is not entirely independent, because of the increased interconnectedness of the world’s nations as a result of globalization, he said that, “When I look at Israel in 2015 and compare it to the State of Israel when I served in senior positions in public service, I have no doubt that we have become more independent.” Arens added that Israel is “stronger militarily” than it was in the past, and therefore “less dependent on external security assistance.”

Despite emphasizing Israel’s increased independence, Arens had no illusions about the country’s dependence on the global community, particularly its relationship with the United States. He said, “this does not mean that we have achieved total independence – aid from the United States is still very important.” However, he added that, “there was a time when without American aid, which amounts to some $3 billion a year, it would have been very difficult to keep up the defense budget.” By contrast, now, “if for some reason this aid would stop – which I do not think will happen – Israel would be hurt, but it would be able to bear it.”

Arens also noted that, almost counterintuitively, “aid received over the years has made us more independent,” because it allowed Israel to “create infrastructure that allows us to continue towards increased independence in more and more domains.”

He did note his regret that Israel had chosen to cancel the Lavi project – a late 1980’s plan by Israel Aircraft Industries to develop a 4th generation multirole fighter that would have replaced Israel’s use of American aircraft. Arens’ regret comes from the fact that, “regarding fighter jets, we still have a certain degree of dependency on the United States, even though it’s shrinking.”

He added, however, that even when it came to the Lavi, “the Americans gave us, at the time, assistance to the tune of a quarter billion dollars, for the specific purpose of developing the aircraft, despite the fact that it would reduce our dependence on them in this area.”

Arens – who also served as Israel’s ambassador to Washington – believes that Israel can eventually reduce it military dependence on the United States. “I’m all for reducing aid because, alongside its important contributions to us, it also has negative side-effects. Aid comes with a preference for purchasing weapons systems from the United States, when there are often alternative Israeli products that we do not buy because of the commitments we have made to the Americans. So, in this sense, with all of the positives of the assistance, it also has negative side-effects.”

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  • David Goshen

    The main concern of the world that Israel should reach a settlement with the Palestineans.What the world does not realise is that the problem in Europe Asia America and the rest of the non Muslum world is the problem that Muslims have intolerant approch to all non Muslims.They want to convert all non Muslims to Islam,They only want Sharia law without any non Muslims and as soon as they reach a majority
    the commence a policy of converting all non Muslims to 2nd class citizens,taxing them for their non Muslim status,they conduct strong ethnic cleansing like Abu Mazem in the PA who has rid himself of hundred of thousands Arab Christians who are now less than 50,000 and who will disappear in a generation.This is the reason why Abu Mazem can never have East Jerusalem as his capital as the World cannot toloerate the disappearance of all the minorities fom east the Armenian Arab Christians,There are no longer Arab Christians available to care for the Christian Holy Places in the PA.Hamas has ethnically cleansed all Arab Christian Arabs in Gaza.
    Muslims have created in recent times a new “Muslim Apartheid”.The claim that their preayers in the Absa Mosque are “contaminated if there are non Muslims in the vicinity.This complete intolerance does not lend itself to peace making.Mulims want to drive out all Muslims from the Middle East.
    It will be necessary for all democratic countries which are in danger of reaching a Muslim majority to change their form of government dividing the country into federal states where Muslims rule over their peoples
    and Non muslims continue to live in a democratic system.
    It is critical that long before the Muslims become a majority they partition because if they wait till the Muslims reach a majority the non Muslims chance of survivil is nil!
    Regarding independence from the USA the policy of the USA
    seems to be to return to its old isolation policy cutting itself from the west .It no longer wants to support dimocracy which Muslims are not interested in and hence can never enable minorities to be safe.

  • 10


    • robert nebel

      whatever, you ISIS want to be!!!

    • Otto Schiff

      If the Jews don’t pray to Jesus, they will remain to be Jews.

  • Atilla

    I heard that the Lavi project was eventually cancelled by pressure from US senators, with General Dynamics and the other sub-contractors ( engine , aviaonics, armaments, etc ) with plants in their respective states, as it would result in reduced orders for the F-16.

    • Alex

      I have also often wondered what might have been had Israel’s Lavi fighter reached production. While it was true that General Dynamics (which produced the F-16) and General Electric (which provided an engine for the F-16) may have opposed the program, there were other suppliers such as Grumman (which produced the Lavi wings and tail) and Pratt & Whitney (which produced the Lavi engine) that stood to gain from the program.

      I saw recently that there is a new book on the Lavi coming out at the end of the year. A whopping 456 pages, no less!

      Hopefully it will shed some new light on what really happened and on all that might have been.

  • robert davis

    When side effects are only in the economic line they are not too important what should not be accepted is meddling in Israel’s policy by no one.

  • America unfortunately is on the verge of going bankrupt and the privately owned globalist Satanic NWO don,t care about Israel, they are just using them as a pawn, The quicker Israel becomes independent of them , the better

  • I hope Israel will continue to be close to the USA. American help over all the years up to now should not be forgotten. There is a strong element of moral debt.

    Barack Obama will soon be history. Another President will take over. He also will have to deal with rampant Islam. Obama has, in Jewish and Israeli eyes, been severely compromised by this necessity.

    Will the next man do better ?

  • shloime

    if only he would be a little more specific.

    $3 billion in american aid is a lot of money, but it is “tied” to buying american products and services, which are significantly more expensive than israeli-made equivalents. and buying american creates jobs (and taxes) in america, rather than in israel.

    but it also eliminates israeli competition in the arms export business. without the idf’s business, it’s more difficult for israeli firms to develop and export new weapons systems. in areas, like uavs, where american aid isn’t a factor, israel innovation has flourished, and export sales have mushroomed.

    however, the most important factor that mr arens, rather diplomatically, understated is the political clout which american aid buys for washington. arms purchased from america, with american money, have rather big “strings” attached: israel must get american approval to use them. and in the case where america doesn’t agree with the israeli government, such as iran’s nuclear program, american “aid” is more like a hindrance.

  • Rabbi Dr Shalom Coleman CBE AM

    Thank you for the summaries of news which encapsulate the real substance also the articles which articulate situations in the Middle East in positive terms.

  • It is very positive for Israel the fact that it is getting closer to Japan and India which favors an opening for further interchangeable commercial relation with these countries.

  • Julian Clovelley

    To this outside observer Israel’s future lies in progressive development and growing independence from all exterior nations and communities. But for this to succeed Israel needs to get over its ideological dependence on Zionist mythology, and religious Fundamentalism. Israel needs to attain a position of State secularism and national multiculturalism. If it does this it may yet have the admiration of the world as a beacon of genuine Democracy.

    The old critics were right. Zionism made a huge error linking Judaic religion to territorial claim. This world view led Jewish people further down the separatism path, and has made them easy targets. The linking of Jewish communities with the Israeli state is dangerous for both parties, for where Israel offends human rights concepts – which it does with the settlements, occupation and blockade – and internal Israeli “Jewish State” policy, these combined give an unmistakeable impression of Apartheid, and cause a cascade of feeling that enables the extreme Right(sic) to jump on the bandwagon, and revert to its usual, and habitual antisemitism. This is a major reason why I personally opposes BDS campaigns – they are too easily hijacked by racist elements in the Ultra Conservative Right (the very faction that Zionist extremists want Jews to support! Hallo – did you miss the point last time round?)

    Understanding the dynamics is the key to security. Israeli independence is a huge step, but to get further Israel will have to implement policies that will be internally unpopular and offend the Zionists and the religious. The nation must withdraw entirely from the West Bank and secure its original borders. Jerusalem can be argued about later for there will be world sympathy for the need to tackle the question separately, and carefully, in the interests of Christians, religious Jews, and Muslims. But the problem of Jerusalem can be solved. It might be considered wise to seek to make Jerusalem the capital of neither Israel nor Palestine – to which end I would seriously consider returning the capital formally to Tel Aviv – or building a new Capital City

    Israeli independence is dependent on secularisation and multiculturalism. As a successful nation in these areas – which it has the capacity to be – it may become part of a new Middle East that the world can love and treasure as a part of all our histories that we have grown beyond, and a hope for reconciliation, compassion, and social security – a hope that concerns itself more about where we are ,and where we are going, than the tortuous and often horrifying past that got us all where we are.

    • Saul Goldman

      Actually multi-culturalism is what has brought America down. The sociology of the melting pot made American great. Israel is the territorial aspect of Jewishness and the Jewish polity which survived two thousand years of exile and diaspora. Nations like indiviudals grow because they have an amibition and they see a future. The Americans called this “manifest destiny” Retreating from Judea and Samaria, discussing Jerusalem comprise the death throes of Israel. But, don’t worry Muslims and Christians live freely in Israel unlioke their socio-political conditions in the Arab world.

  • America’s response to the Holocaust was the result of action and inaction on the part of many people. In the forefront was Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose steps to aid Europe’s Jews were very limited. If he had wanted to, he could have aroused substantial public backing for a vital rescue effort by speaking out on the issue. If nothing else, a few
    forceful statements by the President would have brought the extermination news out of obscurity and into the headlines. But he had little to say about the problem and gave no priority at all to rescue. [1]
    In December 1942, the President reluctantly agreed to talk with
    Jewish leaders about the recently confirmed news of extermination.
    Thereafter, he refused Jewish requests to discuss the problem; he even left the White House to avoid the Orthodox rabbis’ pilgrimage of October 1943. He took almost no interest in the Bermuda Conference.
    He dragged his feet on opening refugee camps in North Africa. He declined to question the State Department’s arbitrary shutdown of refugee immigration to the United States, even when pressed by the seven Jews in Congress. [2]
    In November 1943, on the eve of Roosevelt’s departure for Cairo and Tehran, stirrings in Congress briefly drew his attention to the rescue question. When he returned six weeks later, he faced the prospect of aIi explosive debate in Congress on administration rescue policies and the probable passage of legislation calling on him to form a rescue agency. Not long afterward, he established the War Refugee Board. His hand had been forced by the pressure on Capitol Hill and by the danger.
    that a major scandal would break over the State Department’s persistent obstruction of rescue.
    After creating the board, the President took little interest in it. He never acted to strengthen it or provide it with adequate funding. He impeded its initial momentum by delaying the selection of a director and hindered its long-term effectiveness by ruining the plan to appoint a prominent public figure to the post. When the board needed help with the recalcitrant American ambassador to Spain, Roosevelt kept
    hands off. At the urging of the WRB, the President did issue a strong war-crimes warning in March 1944. But he first diluted its emphasis on Jews. His subsequent handling of the UN War Crimes Commission and his treatment of Herbert Pell were hardly to his credit.
    Even when interested in rescue action, Roosevelt was unwilling to run a political risk for it, as his response to the free-ports plan showed.
    The WRB’s original rescue strategy depended on America’s setting an example to other nations by offering to open several temporary havens.
    The President, by agreeing to only one American camp, signaled that little was expected of any country. A more extensive free-ports program would probably have strained relations with Congress. It might also have cost votes, and 1944 was an election year.
    It appears that Roosevelt’s overall response to the Holocaust was deeply affected by political expediency. Most Jews supported him unwaveringly, so an active rescue policy offered little political advantage.
    A pro-Jewish stance, however, could lose votes. American Jewry’s great loyalty to the President thus weakened the leverage it might have exerted on him to save European Jews. [3]
    The main justification for Roosevelt’s conduct in the face of the Holocaust is that he was absorbed in waging a global war. He lived in a maelstrom of overpowering events that gripped his attention, to the exclusion of most other matters. Decades later, Dean Alfange doubted that he actually realized what the abandonment of the European Jews meant: “He may not have weighed the implications of it to human values, to history, to a moral climate without which a democracy can’t really thrive.” [4]
    Roosevelt’s personal feelings about the Holocaust cannot be determined.
    He seldom committed his inner thoughts to paper. And he did
    not confide in anyone concerning the plight of Europe’s Jews except, infrequently, Henry Morgenthau. There are indications that he was concerned about Jewish problems. But he gave little attention to them, did not keep informed about them, and instructed his staff to divert Jewish questions to the State Department. [i] Years later, Emanuel Celler charged that Roosevelt, instead of providing even “some spark of courageous
    leadership,” had been “silent, indifferent, and insensitive to the plight of the Jews.” In the end, the era’s most prominent symbol of humanitarianism turned away from one of history’s most compelling moral challenges. [5]
    The situation was much the same throughout the executive branch.
    Only the Treasury reacted effectively. Oscar Cox and a few others in the Foreign Economic Administration did what they could. But their impact was minor. Secretary Ickes and a small group in the Interior Department were greatly concerned; however, they were not in a position to do much. The War Shipping Administration assisted the WRB with a few transportation problems. The record of the rest of the Roosevelt administration was barren. [7]
    Callousness prevailed in the State Department. Its officers, mostly old-stock Protestants, tended strongly toward nativism. Little sympathy was wasted on East Europeans, especially Jews. [8]
    Secretary Hull did issue public statements decrying Nazi persecution of Jews. Otherwise he showed minimal interest in the European Jewish tragedy and assigned no priority to it. Ignorant of his department’s activities in that area, and even unacquainted with most of the policymakers, he abandoned refugee and rescue matters to his friend Breckinridge
    Long. Long and his co-workers specialized in obstruction. [9]
    Even after Sumner Welles confirmed the accounts of genocide, State Department officials insisted the data had not been authenticated. They sought to silence Stephen Wise and other Jewish leaders. They tried to weaken the United Nations declaration of December 1942. In early 1943, in order to stifle pressures for action, they cut off the flow of information from Jewish sources in Switzerland.
    These people brushed aside the Rumanian offer to free 70,000 Jews.
    With the British, they arranged the Bermuda fiasco, another move to dampen pressures for action. Rescue plans submitted to the State Department were strangled by intentional delays. Or they were sidetracked to the moribund Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees.
    The State Department closed the United States as an asylum by
    tightening immigration procedures, and it influenced Latin American governments to do the same. When calls for a special rescue agency arose in Congress, Long countered them with deceptive secret testimony before a House committee. After the WRB was formed, the State Department cooperated to a degree, but the obstructive pattern recurred frequently. It is clear that the State Department was not interested in rescuing Jews.
    The War Department did next to nothing for rescue. Secretary Stimson’s personal opposition to immigration was no help. Far more important, however, was the War Department’s secret decision that the military was to take no part in rescue-a policy that knowingly contradicted the executive order establishing the WRB.
    On the basis of available evidence, the Office of Strategic Services took minimal interest in the extermination of the Jews. Its information about the Holocaust was frequently out-of-date and did not lead to countermeasures. In April 1944, the ass obtained the first detailed account to reach the West of the mass murder of Jews at Auschwitz.
    Prepared eight months earlier by Polish underground sources, the document in many ways foreshadowed the Vrba-Wetzler report. The OSS did nothing with it. [10]
    When the Vrba-Wetzler account first arrived in Switzerland, in June 1944, pan of it was delivered to Allen W. Dulles of the ass with a plea that he immediately urge Washington to take action. Dulles instead passed the material to the WRB in Bern, noting that it “seems more in your line.” Nearly a year later, the ass received a copy of the Vrba-Wetzler report that had reached Italy. By then, the document had been widely publicized in the West for many months. Yet the ass treated it as new information! [11]
    In general, the ass was unwilling to cooperate with the WRB. At
    first, at” ass initiative, there was some collaboration overseas between the two agencies. Before long, however, top ass officials issued orders against further assistance to the board, apparently following intervention by the State Department. Once more, the executive order that set up the WRB was contravened. [12]
    The Office of War Information, for the most part, also turned away from the Holocaust. It evidently considered Jewish problems too controversial to include in its informational campaigns aimed at the American public. Its director, Elmer Davis, stopped at least two plans for the OWI to circulate the extermination news to the American people. During the last year of the war, the OWI did disseminate war-crimes warnings in Europe for the WRB. But Davis was cool even toward that. And
    in late 1944, when the board released the Vrba-Wetzler report to the press without prior approval by his agency, Davis protested angrily. [13]
    The President’s Advisory Committee on Political Refugees (PAC)
    was a quasi-governmental group of eleven prominent Americans appointed by Roosevelt in 1938. to assist in developing refugee policies.
    Reflecting the inclinations of James G. McDonald, its chairman, and George L. Warren, its executive secretary, the PAC worked cautiously behind the scenes. Almost without access to Roosevelt, it dealt mainly with the State Department, to which its leadership usually deferred. [14]
    The PAC was instrumental in persuading the Roosevelt administration to make visas available for 5,000 Jewish children in France whose parents ha~ been sent to Poland in the mass deportations of 1942. The Nazis never permitted them to leave, however. After that, the committee was virtually inoperative, although it did apply tempered pressure for modification of the stringent visa policies and it endorsed the free-ports plan. [15]
    One reason for the PAC’s weakness was its uncertain financing. It was a presidential committee, yet it received no government funds. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee furnished most of its tiny budget of about $15,000 per year. For a time, Zionist organizations paid half the costs, but they stopped contributing in 1941. The American Catholic and Protestant refugee-aid committees each provided a total of $500 during the PAC’s seven years. [16]
    Important individuals who had access to the President and might
    have pressed the rescue issue with him did little in that direction. Vice President Wallace kept aloof from the problem. His closest encounter took place on the Capitol steps in October 1943 when he delivered a brief, noncommittal speech to the pilgrimage of Orthodox rabbis.
    Eleanor Roosevelt cared deeply about the tragedy of Europe’s Jews and took some limited steps to help. But she never urged vigorous government action. She saw almost no prospects for rescue and believed that winning the war as quickly as possible was the only answer. [17]
    Except for Morgenthau, Jews who were close to the President did
    very little to encourage rescue action. David Niles, a presidential assistant, briefly intervened in support of free ports. The others attempted less. Bernard Baruch-influential with Roosevelt, Congress, the wartime bureaucracy, and the public — stayed away from the rescue issue.
    So did Herbert Lehman, director of UNRRA. Supreme Court Justice
    Felix Frankfurter had regular access to Roosevelt during the war, and he exercised a quiet but powerful influence in many sectors of the administration. Although he used his contacts to press numerous policies and plans, rescue was not among them. [18]
    As special counsel to the President, Samuel Rosenman had frequent contact with Roosevelt, who relied heavily on him for advice on Jewish matters. But Rosenman considered the rescue issue politically sensitive, so he consistently tried to insulate Roosevelt from it. For instance, when Morgenthau was getting ready to urge the President to form a rescue agency, Rosenman objected. He did not want FDR involved in refugee
    matters, although he admitted that no one else could deal effectively with the problem. Rosenman also argued that government aid to European Jews might increase anti-Semitism in the United States. [19]
    The President, his administration, and his advisers were not the only ones responsible for America’s reaction to the Holocaust. Few in Congress, whether liberals or conservatives, showed much interest in saving European Jews. Beyond that, restrictionism, especially opposition to the entry of Jews, was strong on Capitol Hill. [20]
    Congressional attitudes influenced the administration’s, policies on rescue. One reason the State Department kept the quotas 90 percent unfilled was fear of antagonizing Congress. It was well known to private refugee-aid agencies that some congressional circles were sharply critical of the administration’s supposed “generosity” in issuing visas. The
    State Department was sufficiently worried about this that, when it agreed to the entry of 5,000 Jewish children from France, it forbade all publicity about the plan. As a leader of one private agency pointed out, “Officials are extremely anxious to avoid producing a debate in Congress on the wisdom of bringing large groups of children to the United States.” Vet the immigration quotas to which the 5,000 visas would have been charged were undersubscribed by 55,000 that year. [21]
    Except for a weak and insignificant resolution condemning Nazi mass murder, Congress took no official action concerning the Holocaust. The only congressional debate to touch at all on the question was little more than an outburst by Senator Scott Lucas against the Committee for a Jewish Army for its public denunciation of the Bermuda Conference.
    Late in 1943, the Bergsonite Emergency Committee persuaded a
    dozen influential members of Congress to endorse a resolution calling for a government rescue agency. The connections and prestige of these legislators attracted substantial additional backing. Public interest in the issue was also rising. The resulting pressure figured crucially in Roosevelt’s decision to establish the War Refugee Board. But even then, the newly formed board, assessing the climate on Capitol Hill, concluded
    that congressional indifference toward the European Jews ruled
    out the possibility of appropriations for rescue programs. The WRB turned instead to private sources for funding.
    Of the seven Jews in Congress, only Emanuel Celler persistently
    urged government rescue action. Samuel Dickstein joined the struggle from time to time. Four others seldom raised the issue. Sol Bloom sided with the State Department throughout.
    One reason for the government’s limited action was the indifference of much of the non-Jewish public. It must be recognized, though, that many Christian Americans were deeply concerned about the murder of European Jewry and realized that it was a momentous tragedy for Christians as well as for Jews. In the words of an official of the Federal Council of Churches, “This is not a Jewish affair. It is a colossal, universal
    degradation in which all humanity shares.” The message appeared
    in secular circles as well. Hearst. for instance. stressed more
    than once in his newspapers, “This is not a Christian or a Jewish question.
    It is a human question and concerns men and women of all
    creeds.” [22]
    Support for rescue arose in several non-Jewish quarters. And it came from leading public figures such as Wendell Willkie, Alfred E. Smith, Herbert Hoover, Fiorello La Guardia, Harold Ickes, Dean Alfange, and many more. But most non-Jewish Americans were either unaware of the European Jewish catastrophe or did not consider it important.
    America’s Christian churches were almost inert in the face of the Holocaust and nearly silent too. No major denomination spoke out on the issue. Few of the many Christian publications cried out for aid to the Jews. Few even reported the news of extermination, except infrequently and incidentally.
    On the Protestant side, Quakers and Unitarians responded to the
    moral challenge through their service committees. But both denominations were tiny. An even smaller organization, the Church Peace Union, persistently but vainly pressed the churches to take a stand and urged the government to act. Mercedes Randall of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom published The Voice of Thy Brother’s Blood, a booklet calling for action on “one of the most urgent matters
    of our time.” The only comprehensive discussion of the European Jewish disaster issued by an American Christian source during the Holocaust, Randall’s essay closed with a clear warning:
    If we fail to feel, to speak, to act, it bespeaks a tragedy more fateful than the tragedy of the Jews …. We have passed by on the other side…. Shall we have to live out our lives with that terrible cry upon our lips, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
    (The Women’s International League had to turn to Jewish sources for financial help to print 50,000 copies and distribute them to newspaper editors, radio commentators, and other opinion leaders.) [23]
    The Federal Council of Churches compiled a mediocre record, yet it stood in the forefront of the Protestant effort to help. Besides several public calls for rescue, it sponsored the only nationwide attempt at Christian action, the Day of Compassion of May 1943. But even that event, which most local churches ignored, took place only because Jews urged it on the council and Jewish organizations did much of the necessary work. [24]
    The Christian Century, a highly influential Protestant weekly, reacted to the first news of extermination by charging that Stephen Wise’s statistics were exaggerated. (His estimates were actually far too low.)
    Thereafter, it reported on the Jewish catastrophe only occasionally, and only rarely did it speak out for rescue action. Such social-action-oriented periodicals as the Churchman and Reinhold Niebuhr’s Christianity and Crisis published even less on the Jewish tragedy. Yet these three
    journals carried more news on the issue than most Christian periodicals.
    The bulk of the Protestant press was silent, or nearly so. And few cries for action arose from the pages of any part of Protestantism’s print media. [25]
    Indicative of the feeble Christian response to the Holocaust was the plight of two American committees established to assist Christian refugees, most of whom were of Jewish descent. Neither organization could rely on its vast parent church to fund its tiny program. The Protestant agency, the American Committee for Christian Refugees (ACCR), leaned heavily on the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee for financial support from 1934 through 1940. When those funds dried up, the ACCR survived by severely reducing its already limited services. It regained a semblance of effectiveness only in mid-1943 with an infusion
    of money from the National War Fund. [ii] [26]
    The Catholic Committee for Refugees (CCR) was organized in 1937
    by the American Catholic bishops. But the church did not adequately support this very modest operation, either with funds or by lending its prestige to the committee. In its first years, the CCR needed financial help from the Joint Distribution Committee. Even so, it was all but ineffective until mid-1943, when the National War Fund assumed virtually
    all of its expenses. [28]
    Two important Catholic periodicals, America and Commonweal, did
    speak out from time to time on the extermination of the Jews and called for action to help them. But the rest of the Catholic press was almost silent on the issue, as was the American church itself. No Catholic pressures developed for a government rescue effort. The National Catholic Welfare Conference (NCWC), which acted for the American bishops
    in social and civic matters, was America’s leading organization for Catholic social welfare. It might have led a Catholic drive for rescue action. But it made no move in that direction. Instead, as can be seen in the records of its Bureau of Immigration and in the reactions of its general secretary, Msgr. Michael J. Ready, the NCWC was consistently negative toward immigration of Jewish refugees. [29]
    The Bureau of Immigration’ was responsible for helping Catholic
    refugees come to the United States. The correspondence of its personnel shows little sympathy for European Jews. It also reveals a distrust of Jews generally and a particular suspicion of American Jewish organizations.
    They were viewed as too aggressive in assisting Jewish refugees
    and too little concerned about persecuted Catholics. The Bureau
    of Immigration was the only refugee-aid organization that encountered no problems with the State Department concerning visa issuance and visa policies. [30]
    Until the end of 1943, Catholic refugees passing through Spain and Portugal, or stranded there, turned to American non-Catholic organizations for aid. Jewish, Unitarian, and Quaker agencies provided support funds and ship passage to needy Catholics, whether of Jewish descent or nor. After two years’ of requests that they share the burden, American Catholic leaders investigated the situation in late 1943. By then the American bishops, in order to channel National War Fund money into Catholic relief projects, had established a new branch of
    the National Catholic Welfare Conference, the War Relief Services.
    When those funds became available, the War Relief Services-NCWC
    started to send money to Portugal. Soon afterward, it opened its own office in Lisbon to assist Catholic refugees. The NCWC also began to contribute to the Representation in Spain of American Relief Organizations, a Jewish-Protestant venture that for over a year had been caring for Catholics along with other refugees. [31]
    At the heart of Christianity is the commitment to help the helpless.
    Yet, for the most part, America’s Christian churches looked away while the European Jews perished. So did another part of the public that might have been expected to cry out for action, American liberals. The Nation and the New Republic did speak, throughout the war, warning of what was happening and pressing for rescue. From time to time, some prominent individual liberals also urged action. But rescue never became an important objective for New Dealers or other American liberals. Even as thoroughly liberal an institution as the New York
    newspaper PM, though it did call for rescue, did not make it a major issue. [32]
    The AFL and the CIO frequently endorsed Jewish organizations’
    appeals for rescue. In a notable change in labor’s traditional restrictionism; both unions began in 1943 to urge at least temporary suspension of immigration laws to open the doors for Jewish refugees. But there was no movement to arouse the rank and file, to build active support for “rescue on that broad base. [33]
    Most American intellectuals were indifferent to the struggle for rescue.
    Dorothy Thompson and Reinhold Niebuhr were exceptions, as
    were those who helped the Bergsonite Emergency Committee. Overall, Jewish intellectuals remained as uninvolved as non-Jews. To note one example among many, Walter Lippmann, a highly influential news columnist who dealt with practically every major topic of the day, wrote nothing about the Holocaust. [34]
    American Communists contributed virtually nothing to the rescue
    cause. In the wake of the Bermuda Conference, they publicly agreed with the diplomats: “It would be foolhardy to negotiate with Axis satellites for the release of Hitler’s captives.” They insisted throughout the war that the only answer for European Jewry was the swiftest possible Allied victory. Nor would they tolerate criticism of the President for his limited rescue steps. “Roosevelt,” they argued, “represents the forces most determined on victory”; those concerned about the Jews
    should “speak helpfully” about him or keep silent. This, of course, coincided with the Communists’ view of what was best for Soviet Russia. [35]
    An organization formed in early 1944 by the American Jewish Conference seemed to open the way for effective action by prominent non-Jews. The National Committee Against Nazi Persecution and Extermination of the Jews, with Supreme Court Justice Frank Murphy as chairman, included such distinguished Americans as Wendell Willkie and Henry Wallace and other political, religious, and business leaders.
    But this all-Christian committee failed to attract adequate funding and amounted to little more than a paper organization. Moreover, it did almost nothing to advance its main objective, “to rally the full force of the public conscience in America” against the extermination of the Jews and for vigorous rescue action. Instead, the Murphy committee channeled its meager resources into what it announced as its second priority,
    combating anti-Semitism in the United States. Murphy and others contributed, in speeches and in print, to the battle against American anti-Semitism.
    But the rescue issue fell by the wayside. [36]
    One .reason ordinary Americans were not more responsive to the
    plight of the European Jews was that very many (probably a majority) were unaware of Hitler’s extermination program until well into 1944 or later. The information was not readily available to the public, because the mass media treated the systematic murder of millions of Jews as though it were minor news.
    Most newspapers printed very little about the Holocaust, even
    though extensive information on it reached their desks from the news services (AP, UP, and others) and from their own correspondents. In New York, the Jewish-owned Post reported extermination news and rescue matters fairly adequately. PM’s coverage was also more complete than that of most American papers. The Times, Jewish-owned but anxious not to be seen as Jewish-oriented, was the premier American newspaper of the era. It printed a substantial amount of information on Holocaust-related events but almost always buried it on inner pages.[iii]
    The Herald Tribune published a moderate amount of news concerning the Holocaust but seldom placed it where it would attract attention.
    Coverage in other New York City newspapers ranged from poor to
    almost nonexistent. [37]
    The Jewish-owned Washington Post printed a few editorials advocating rescue, but only infrequently carried news reports on the European Jewish situation. Yet, in October 1944, it gave front-page space for four days to a series attacking the Bergson group. (Inaccuracies soon forced a retraction.) Nothing else connected with the Holocaust even approached compatible prominence in the Post. The other Washington newspapers provided similarly limited information on the mass murder of European Jewry. [38]
    Outside New York and Washington, press coverage was even thin-
    ner. All major newspapers carried some Holocaust-related news, but it appeared infrequently and almost always in small items located on inside pages. [39]
    American mass-circulation magazines all but ignored the Holocaust.
    Aside from a few paragraphs touching on the subject, silence prevailed in the major news magazines, Time, Newsweek, and Life. The Reader’s Digest, American Mercury, and Collier’s released a small flurry of information in February 1943, not long after the extermination news was first revealed. From then until late in the war, little more appeared.
    Finally, in fall 1944, Collier’s and American Mercury published vivid accounts of the ordeal of Polish Jewry written by Jan Karski, a courier sent to Britain and America by the Polish resistance. Karski described what he himself saw in late 1942 at the Belzec killing center and in the Warsaw ghetto. [iv] Except for these and a few other articles, the major American magazines permitted Doe of the most momentous events of the modern era to pass without comment. [40]
    Radio coverage of Holocaust news was sparse. Those who wrote the newscasts and commentary programs seem hardly to have noticed the slaughter of the Jews. Proponents of rescue managed to put a little information on the air, mainly in Washington and New York. Access to a nationwide audience was very infrequent. The WRB even had difficulty persuading stations to broadcast programs it produced. [42]
    American filmmakers avoided the subject of the Jewish catastrophe.
    During the war, Hollywood released numerous feature films on refugees and on Nazi atrocities. None dealt with the Holocaust. Despite extensive Jewish influence in the movie industry, the American Jewish Congress was unable to persuade anyone to produce even a short film on the mass killing of the Jews. The very popular March of Time news series did not touch the extermination issue, nor did the official U.S. war films in the Why We Fight series. [43]
    There is no clear explanation for the mass media’s failure to publicize the Holocaust. Conflicting details and inconsistent numbers in the different reports from Europe may have made editors cautious. But no one could have expected full accuracy in data compiled under the difficulties encountered in underground work.
    Another problem was the fabricated atrocity stories of World War 1.
    This time, editors were very skeptical. Yet, well before word of the “final solution” filtered out numerous confirmed reports of Nazi crimes against civilian populations had broken down much of that barrier to belief. [44]
    The way war news flooded and dominated the mass media may have
    been a factor. Holocaust events merged into and became lost in the big events of the world conflict. For example, information on the destruction of the Hungarian Jews was overwhelmed by news about preparations for the cross-channel invasion, the invasion itself, and the dramatic reconquest of France that summer.
    It is possible that editors took a cue from the New York Times. Other newspapers recognized the Times’s superior reporting resources abroad and looked to it for guidance in foreign news policy. A perception that the Jewish-owned Times did not think the massive killing of Jews was worth emphasizing could have influenced other newspapers. Again, Roosevelt’s failure until March 1944 to mention the. extermination of the Jews in his press conferences may have led editors to conclude that the issue was not a major one. [45]
    The mass media’s response to the Holocaust undoubtedly was also
    affected by the complicated problem of credibility. Publishers and broadcasters feared accusations of sensationalism and exaggeration.
    They may also have had difficulty themselves in believing the reports.
    Annihilation of an entire people was a concept that went well beyond previous experience. Moreover, extermination of the Jews made no sense, because it served no practical purpose. The German explanation that Jews were being deported to labor centers seemed more plausible. [v] [46]
    The problem of disbelief may be illustrated by a conversation in December 1944 between A. Leon Kubowitzki of the World Jewish
    Congress and Assistant Secretary of War John McCloy. Kubowitzki
    recorded the episode:
    “We are alone,” he [McCloy] said to me. “Tell me the truth. Do you really believe that all those horrible things happened?”
    His sources of information, needless to say, were better than mine. But he could not grasp the terrible destruction. [48]
    On a broader level, the enigma was reflected in the way that military leaders, government officials, newsmen, and members of Congress reacted to what was found when American and British forces liberated German concentration camps in spring 1945. They were stunned. Vet most had been exposed for a long time to information about the camps and the extermination of the Jews-information augmented by two striking disclosures released as recently as August and November 1944.
    In August, a month after the Red Army captured the Majdanek
    killing center, near Lublin, Soviet authorities permitted American reporters to inspect the still-intact murder camp-gas chambers, crematoria, mounds of ashes, and the rest. One American voiced the reaction of all who viewed Majdanek: “I am now prepared to believe any story of German atrocities, no matter how savage, crud and depraved.” [49]
    The newsmen sent back detailed accounts, which were widely published in American newspapers and magazines, in many cases on the front pages. A few reports pointed out that Jews were the main victims, but most mentioned them only as part of a list of the different peoples murdered there. And none of the correspondents or their editors connected Majdanek with the extensive information available by then about the systematic extermination of European Jewry. Author Arthur Koestler had tried to explain the phenomenon earlier that year. People, he wrote, can be convinced for a while of the reality of such a crime, but then “their mental self-defense begins to work.” In a week, “incredulity has returned like a reflex temporarily weakened by a shock.” [50]
    The second disclosure, released to the press by the War Refugee
    Board in November, was the Vrba-Wetzler report of mass murder at Auschwitz. It had reached McClelland in Switzerland in June. He soon telegraphed a condensation to the WRB in Washington, but “; as unable to forward the complete text until mid-October. [vi] [51]
    The full Auschwitz report — officially issued by a government agency — received prominent notice throughout the country, including Sunday front-page coverage in many newspapers. News accounts were long and graphic; many newspapers followed up with editorials. Radio also spread the information. [vii] [53]
    Despite the reports on Majdanek and Auschwitz (and numerous
    other accounts of extermination), many well-informed Americans failed to comprehend what was happening. This explains, in part, the wave of amazement that resulted when German concentration camps were opened in April 1945. Military ‘men were appalled and astonished at
    what they saw. Hardened war correspondents found the horror “too great for the human mind to believe.” General Eisenhower called the “barbarous treatment” inflicted on inmates “almost unbelievable.” [55]
    To dispel any doubts about the accuracy of reporters’ accounts, Eisenhower requested that a dozen congressmen and a delegation of American editors fly to Germany to look at the camps. The legislators emerged from Buchenwald “shocked almost beyond belief.” Editors, expecting to find that correspondents had overstated the situation, came away convinced that “exaggeration, in fact, would be difficult.” [56]
    Failure to grasp the earlier information about Nazi camps was the key cause for this astonishment. Another reason was that camp conditions, ordinarily deplorable, sank to appalling depths during the last part of the war. As the Third Reich crumbled, administration systems broke down. Transportation of food and supplies failed. And as they retreated, the Germans shifted thousands of inmates from outlying camps to the already overloaded ones in the interior of Germany. Conditions were abysmal: massive starvation, unchecked disease. terrible
    crowding, thousands of unburied corpses. [57]
    Ironically, these camps (Buchenwald, Belsen, Dachau, and so on)
    were not among the most destructive. They were not extermination camps. The horrors that took place within their confines were on a different plane from the millions of murders committed at Auschwitz, Majdanek, and the four other killing centers, all situated in Poland.
    The American press, which for so long had barely whispered of mass murder and extermination, exploded with news of the German camps.
    For over a month, stories ran in all the newspapers and news magazines, frequently on the front pages, accompanied by shocking photographs.
    And newsreels, made by Hollywood studios from Army Signal Corps
    footage, confronted millions of American moviegoers with stark scenes of the carnage. [58]
    During spring 1945, American newspaper editors blamed the false
    atrocity stories of World War I for their earlier skepticism about Nazi war crimes. One of the congressmen who saw the camps explained that Hit was always a question whether the reports were propaganda and now they can be confirmed.” In fact, after the Nazis obliterated the Czech village of Lidice, in mid-1942, the press had not hesitated to publicize German atrocities against occupied populations. But it had consistently pushed information about Europe’s Jews into the inner pages, or omitted it entirely. This minimized a substantial body of
    evidence that pointed to a hard-to-believe fact — the systematic extermination of a whole people. [viii] [59]
    In the last analysis, it is impossible to know how many Americans were aware of the Holocaust during the war years. Starting in late 1942, enough information appeared that careful followers of the daily news, as well as people especially alert to humanitarian issues or to Jewish problems, understood the situation. Probably millions more had at least a vague idea that terrible things were happening to the European Jews.
    Most likely, though, they were a minority of the American public. Only three opinion polls (all by Gallup) asked Americans whether they believed the reports about German atrocities, and only one of them dealt directly with Jews. The first survey, in January 1943, specifically referred to news reports of the killing of two million Jews. Forty-seven percent
    thought the reports were true. (Twenty-nine percent did not, and 24 percent gave no opinion.) [61]
    Late in the war, in mid-November 1944 and again in May 1945, the pollsters asked whether reports that the Germans had murdered “many people in concentration camps” were true. The November poll indicated that 76 percent believed the information was accurate. By early May, following three weeks of steady news about the liberated concentration camps in Germany, the figure had risen to 84 percent. On the face of it, public knowledge of Nazi atrocities had reached a high level
    by November 1944. But the last two polls furnish no real evidence
    about awareness of the extermination of the Jews, because Jews were not mentioned in either of them. [62]
    Throughout the war, most of the mass media, whether from disbelief or fear of accusations of sensationalism or for some other reason, played down the information about the Jewish tragedy. As a result, a large part of the American public remained unaware of the plight of European Jewry. Hesitation about giving full credence to reports of the systematic
    extermination of an entire people may be understandable. But those who edited the news surely realized, at the very least, that European Jews were being murdered in vast numbers. That was important news.
    But it was not brought clearly into public view.
    Popular concern for Europe’s Jews could not develop without widespread knowledge of what was happening to them. But the information gap, though extremely important, was not the only limiting factor.
    Strong currents of anti-Semitism and nativism in American society also diminished the possibilities for a sympathetic response. A quieter, more prevalent prejudice, a “passive anti-Semitism,” was another major barrier to the growth of concern. It was reflected in opinion surveys taken by the Office of War Information. They showed that the impact of atrocity information on the average American was seven times stronger
    when it involved atrocities in general than when it referred specifically to atrocities against Jews. A Christian clergyman with extensive connections in Protestant circles reached a similar conclusion: “Not only were Christians insensitive and callous [about rescue]; … there was an anti-Semitism there, just beneath the surface.” [ix] [63]
    The American government did not respond decisively to the extermination of Europe’s Jews. Much of the general public was indifferent or uninformed. What about American Jews-how did they meet the challenge? [x]
    American Jewish leaders recognized that the best hope for rescue lay in a strong effort to induce the U.S. government to act. The obvious approaches were two: appeals to high government officials and a national campaign to publicize the mass killings with a view to directing public pressure on the Roosevelt administration and Congress. Jewish leaders made progress in both directions, but their effectiveness was
    severely limited by their failure to create a united Jewish movement and by their lack of sustained action. [66]
    A unified effort by the main Jewish organizations did take place for two weeks in late 1942, coordinated by the “Temporary Committee.”
    For ten additional weeks, from early March to mid-May 1943, cooperative action resumed under the Joint Emergency Committee on European Jewish Affairs. During those twelve weeks, some advances were won, but that amount of time was too brief to budge the Roosevelt administration. Besides, none of the cooperating organizations gave top priority to the rescue problem. And they refused the Bergsonites’ requests to be included in the effort. [67]
    The basis for united action existed throughout the war. All Jewish organizations agreed on the need for rescue and the need to abolish the White Paper and open Palestine to European Jews. But the split over the issue of Zionism proved unbridgeable. It was the chief obstacle to formation of a united drive for rescue. [68]
    The outcome was that non-Zionist organizations (American Jewish
    Committee, Jewish Labor Committee, B’nai B’rith, and the ultra-Orthodox groups) went their separate ways and accomplished little in building pressure for rescue. The Zionists, who were the best organized of the Jewish groups, were more effective in pushing for rescue action.
    But the major part of their resources went into the effort for a postwar state in Palestine. [69]
    The Bergsonite Emergency Committee tried to fill the gap in the
    rescue campaign. Its work was vital in finally bringing the War Refugee Board into existence. But the Bergsonites were too weak to generate enough pressure after the formation of the board to force the Roosevelt administration to give it the support that it should have had. The situation was not helped when they divided their limited energies by launching their own statehood movement through the Hebrew Committee for National Liberation and its partner, the American League for a Free Palestine. [70]
    The fact that the tiny Bergsonite faction accomplished what it did toward the establishment of the WRB is compelling evidence that a major, sustained, and united Jewish effort could have obtained the rescue board earlier and insisted on its receiving greater support than it did. Such an effort could have drawn on substantial strengths. The Zionist groups had mass followings, organizational skills, some financial capability, a few prestigious leaders, and valuable contacts high in government. The American Jewish Committee combined wealth and important influence in high places. The Jewish Labor Committee was backed by a sizable constituency and could count on help from the American Federation of Labor. B’nai B’rith held the allegiance of a broad cross section of American Jews. Agudath Israel represented a very active element of Orthodoxy. And the
    Bergson group offered energy, publicity skills, fund-raising proficiency, and the capacity to win friends in Congress and elsewhere in Washington.
    Along with the lack of unity, American Jewry’s efforts for rescue were handicapped by a crisis in leadership. The dominant figure, Stephen Wise, was aging, increasingly beset by medical problems, and burdened with far too many responsibilities. Abba Hillel Silver’s rise to the top was slowed by his rivalry with Wise and by his own tendency to create enemies. He was, nonetheless, a forceful leader; but his single.
    minded commitment to postwar Jewish statehood meant that he did
    not participate in the campaign for government rescue action. No other leaders approached the stature of these two. [71]
    The scarcity of fresh, innovative leadership aroused concern at the time. In 1944, the editor of the Brooklyn Jewish Examiner asserted that “not a new personality with the possible exception of Henry Monsky has come to the fore in the past decade.” As evidence he listed the leading Jewish spokesmen of 1933 and pointed out that, except for two who had died, “the names today are the same; there are no new ones.”
    A tendency among second- and third-generation American Jews to minimize their Jewishness may have hindered the emergence of strong new leadership during the 1930s and 1940s. [72]
    An additional problem was the inability of American Jewish leaders to break out of a business-as-usual pattern. Too few schedules were rearranged. Vacations were seldom sacrificed. Too few projects of lesser significance were put aside. An important American Zionist remarked years later that the terrible crisis failed to arouse the “unquenchable sense of urgency” that was needed. Even from afar, this inability to
    adapt was painfully clear. In late 1942, Jewish leaders in Warsaw entrusted a message to Jan Karski, the Polish underground agent who was about to leave for Britain and the United States. It called on Jews in the free nations to turn to unprecedented measures to persuade their governments to act. But the Polish Jews had no illusions. Before Karski departed, one of them warned him:
    Jewish leaders abroad won’t be interested. At 11 in the morning you will begin telling them about the anguish of the Jews in Poland, but at 10 clock they will ask you to halt the narrative so they can have lunch. That is a difference which cannot be bridged. They will go on lunching at the regular hour at their favorite restaurant. So they cannot understand what is happening in Poland. [xi] [73]
    Despite the obstacles and failures, American Jews were responsible for some important achievements. Finding the mass media largely indifferent, they devised ways to spread the extermination news and create limited but crucial support among non-Jews. This, combined with pressures from the American Jewish community, helped bring the War Refugee Board into existence.
    American Jewish organizations also carried out valuable rescue and relief work overseas. During World War II, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee provided more aid to European Jews than all the world’s governments combined. In doing so, it paid for nearly 85 percent of the work of the War Refugee Board. The Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society dealt effectively with migration and ocean transportation problems. The World Jewish Congress, though chronically short of funds, undertook important rescue projects in collaboration
    with overseas Zionist organizations and anti-Nazi underground
    movements. Vaad Hahatzalah, grounded in the requirements of Jewish law for the preservation of human life, turned to all available rescue tactics, however unconventional. Other American Jewish organizations contributed, though on a smaller scale. [74]
    In the end, American Jewish groups and their overseas affiliates were central to most of the WRB’s direct-action projects. This fact, while reflecting great credit on American Jewry, must cast a shadow over the rest of the nation. Voluntary. contributions from American Jews — in the millions of dollars — funded these organizations and thus most of the limited help that America extended to Europe’s Jews.
    What Might Have Been Done
    What could the American government have achieved if it had really committed itself to rescue? The Possibilities were narrowed by the Nazis’ determination to wipe Out the Jews. War conditions themselves also made rescue difficult. And by mid-1942, when clear news of the systematic murder reached the West, two million Jews had already been massacred and the killing was going forward at a rapid rate. Most likely,
    it would not have been possible to rescue millions. But without impeding the War effort, additional tens of thousands — probably hundreds of thousands — could have been saved. What follows is a selection of twelve programs that could have been tried. All of them, and others, were proposed during the Holocaust. [75]
    (1) Most important, the War Refugee Board should have been established in 1942. And it should have received adequate government funding and much broader powers.
    (2) The U.S. government, working through neutral governments or
    the Vatican, could have pressed Germany to release the Jews. If nothing else, this would have demonstrated to the Nazis — and to the world — that America Was committed to saving the European Jews. It is worth recalling that until late summer 1944, when the Germans blocked the Horthy offer, it Was far from clear to the Allies that Germany would not let the Jews out. On the contrary, until then the State Department and the British Foreign Office feared that Hitler might confront the
    Allies with an exodus of Jews, a possibility that they assiduously sought to avoid. [76]
    In a related area, ransom overtures might have been much more
    thoroughly investigated. The use of blocked funds for this purpose would not have compromised the War effort. Nor, by early 1944, would payments of limited amounts of currency have hurt the progress of the war. In particular, the Sternbuch-Musy negotiations could have received fuller American backing. [77]
    (3) The United States could have applied constant pressure on Axis satellites to release their Jews. By spring 1943, the State Department knew that some satellites, convinced that the War was lost, were seeking favorable peace terms. Stern threats of punishment for mistreating Jews or allowing their deportation, coupled with indications that permitting them to leave for safety would earn Allied goodwill, could have opened
    the way to the rescue of large numbers from Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and perhaps Slovakia. Before the Germans took control of Italy, in September 1943, similar pressures might have persuaded the Italian government to allow its Jews to flee, as well as those in Italian-occupied areas of Greece, Yugoslavia, and France. [78]
    (4) Success in setting off an exodus of Jews would have posed the problem of where they could go. Strong pressure needed to be applied to neutral countries near the Axis (Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Switzerland, and Sweden) to take Jews in. To bypass time-consuming immigration procedures, these nations could have been urged to set up reception camps near the borders. In return, the Allies should have offered to fund the operations, supply food, and guarantee removal of the refugees. At the same time, havens of refuge outside Europe were essential to accommodate a steady movement of Jews out of the neutral
    countries. Thus the routes would have remained open and a continuing flow of fugitives could have left Axis territory.
    (5) Locating enough outside havens, places beyond continental Europe where refugees could safely await postwar resettlement, would have presented difficulties. The problems encountered in finding havens for the limited numbers of Jews who did get out during the war pointed up the callousness of the Western world. But an American government deeply concerned about the Jews and willing to share the burden could have used its prestige and power to open doors. If a camp existence was all that was offered, that was still far preferable to deportation and death.
    Ample room for camps was available in North Africa. In the United States, the immigration quotas were almost untouched; in addition, a government committed to rescue would have provided several camps besides Fort Ontario. A generous response by the United States would have put strong pressure on the Latin American nations, Canada, the British dominions, and Palestine. Instead, other countries used American stinginess as an excuse for not accepting Jews. For instance, in Jerusalem on his 1942 trip around the world, Wendell Willkie confronted the British leadership with the need to admit large numbers of Jews into Palestine. The British high commissioner replied that since
    the United States was not taking Jews in even up to the quota limits, Americans were hardly in a position to criticize. [79]
    (6) Shipping was needed to transfer Jews from neutral countries to outside havens. Abundant evidence (summarized later in this chapter) proves that it could have been provided without interfering with the war effort.
    The preceding steps, vigorously pursued, might have saved scores or even hundreds of thousands. Instead, important opportunities were lost by default. Early in 1943, the United States turned its back on the Rumanian proposal to release 70,000 Jews. It was a pivotal failure; seizure of that chance might have led to other overtures by Axis satellites. [80]
    At the same time, Switzerland was willing to accept thousands of children from France if it had assurance of their postwar removal.
    After refusing for more than a year, the State Department furnished the guarantee. But by then the main opportunity had passed. During the summer of 1943, the way opened for evacuating 500 children from the Balkans. But a boat had to be obtained within a month. The State Department responded with bureaucratic delays. Allied actions, instead of encouraging neutral countries to welcome fleeing Jews, influenced them to do the opposite. For instance, it took more than a year to move
    a few hundred refugees out of Spain to the long-promised camp in North Africa. With a determined American effort, these failures, and others, could have been successes. [81]
    (7) A campaign to stimulate and assist escapes would have led to a sizable outflow of Jews. Once the neutral nations had agreed to open their borders, that information could have been publicized throughout Europe by radio, airdropped leaflets, and underground communications channels. Local currencies could have been purchased in occupied countries, often with blocked foreign accounts. These funds could have financed escape systems, false documentation, and bribery of lower.
    level officials. Underground movements were willing to cooperate. (The WRB, in fact, carried out such operations on a small scale.) Even with out help, and despite closed borders, tens of thousands of Jews at tempted to escape to Switzerland, Spain, Palestine, and other places.
    Thousands succeeded. With assistance, and assurance of acceptance into neutral nations, those thousands could have been scores of thousands.
    (8) Much larger sums of money should have been transferred to
    Europe. After the WRB was formed, the earlier, tiny trickle of funds from the United States was increased. But the amounts were still inadequate. Besides facilitating escapes, money would have helped in hiding Jews, supplying food and other essentials, strengthening Jewish undergrounds, and gaining the assistance of non-Jewish forces. [82]
    (9) Much more effort should have gone into finding ways to send in food and medical supplies. The American government should have approached the problem far sooner than it did. And it should have put heavy pressure on the International Red Cross and British blockade authorities on this issue.
    (10) Drawing on its great prestige and influence, the United States could have applied much more pressure than it did on neutral governments, the Vatican, and the International Red Cross to induce them to take earlier and more vigorous action. By expanding their diplomatic missions in Axis countries, they would have increased the numbers of outside observers on the scene and perhaps inhibited actions against Jews. More important, the measures taken by Raoul Wallenberg in Budapest should have been implemented by all neutral diplomatic missions and repeated in city after city throughout Axis Europe. And they should have begun long before the summer of 1944. [83]
    The United States could also have pressed its two great allies to help.
    The Soviet Union turned away all requests for cooperation, including those from the WRB. An American government that was serious about rescue might have extracted some assistance from the Russians. [84]
    Britain, though more responsive, still compiled an abysmal record.
    Until 1944, Roosevelt and the State Department let the British lead in setting policy regarding European Jews. Even when the United States finally took the initiative, Roosevelt did not press for British cooperation. British officials resented the WRB, dismissed it as an election-year tactic, and tried to obstruct its work. The situation did not have to develop that way. An American president strongly committed to rescue could have insisted on a more helpful British response. [85]
    (11) Some military assistance was possible. The Air Force could have eliminated the Auschwitz killing installations. Some bombing of deportation railroads was feasible. The military could have aided in other ways without impeding the war effort. It was, in fact, legally required to do so by the executive order that established the WRB. [86]
    (12) Much more publicity about the extermination of the Jews
    should have been disseminated through Europe. Allied radio could have beamed the information for weeks at a time, on all possible wavelengths, as the Germans did regarding the alleged Russian massacre of Polish officers at the Katyn forest. This might have influenced three groups: the Christian populations, the Nazis, and the Jews. Western leaders and, especially, the Pope could have appealed to Christians not to cooperate in any way with the anti-Jewish programs, and to hide and to aid Jews whenever possible. [87]
    Roosevelt, Churchill, and the Pope might have made clear to the
    Nazis their full awareness of the mass-murder program and their severe condemnation of it. If, in addition, Roosevelt and Churchill had threatened punishment for these crimes and offered asylum to the Jews, the Nazis at least would have ceased to believe that the West did not care what they were doing to the Jews. That might possibly have slowed the killing. And it might have hastened the decision of the SS, ultimately
    taken in late 1944, to end the extermination. Even if top Nazis had brushed the threats aside, their subordinates might have been given pause. [88]
    The European Jews themselves should have been repeatedly warned
    of what was happening and told what the deportation trains really meant. (With good reason, the Nazis employed numerous precautions and ruses to keep this information from their victims.) Decades later, Rudolf Vrba, one of the escapees who exposed Auschwitz to the outside world, remained angry that the Jews had not been alerted. “Would anybody get me alive to Auschwitz if I had this information?” he demanded.
    “Would thousands and thousands of able-bodied Jewish men
    send their children, wives, mothers to Auschwitz from all over Europe, if they knew?” Roosevelt, Churchill, other Western leaders, and major Jewish spokesmen should have warned Jews over and over against the steps that led to deportation and urged them to try to hide or flee ot resist. To help implement these actions, the Allies could have smuggled in cadres of specially trained Jewish agents. [89]
    None of these proposals guaranteed results. But all deserved serious consideration, and those that offered any chance of success should have been tried. There was a moral imperative to attempt everything possible that would not hurt the war effort. If that had been done, even if few or no lives had been saved, the moral obligation would have been fulfilled. But the outcome would not have been anything like that barren.
    The. War Refugee Board, a very tardy, inadequately supported,
    partial commitment, saved several tens of thousands. A timely American rescue effort that had the wholehearted support of the government would have achieved much more.
    A commitment of that caliber did not materialize. Instead, the Roosevelt administration turned aside most rescue proposals. In the process, government officials developed four main rationalizations for inaction. The most frequent excuse, the unavailability of shipping, was a fraud. When the Allies wanted to find ships for nonmilitary projects, they located them. In 1943, American naval vessels carried 1,400 non-Jewish Polish refugees from India to the American West Coast. The State and War departments arranged to move 2,000 Spanish Loyalist
    refugees to Mexico using military shipping. In March 1944, blaming the shipping shortage, the British backed out of an agreement to transport 630 Jewish refugees from Spain to the Fedala camp, near Casablanca.
    Yet at the same time, they were providing troopships to move
    non-Jewish refugees by the thousands from Yugoslavia to southern Italy and on to camps in Egypt. [90]
    When it was a matter of transporting Jews, ships could almost never be found. This was not because shipping was unavailable but because the Allies were unwilling to take the lews in. In November 1943, Breckinridge Long told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that lack of transportation was the reason the State Department was issuing so few visas. “In December 1941,” he explained, “most neutral shipping disappeared from the seas…. There just is not any transportation.” In reality, ample shipping existed. Neutral vessels crossed the Atlantic
    throughout the war. Three Portuguese liners, with a combined capacity of 2,000 passengers, sailed regularly between Lisbon and U.S. ports.
    Each ship made the trip about every six weeks. Most of the time, because of the tight American visa policy, they carried only small fractions of their potential loads. Two dozen other Portuguese and Spanish passenger ships crossed the Atlantic less frequently but were available for fuller service. In addition, several score neutral cargo vessels could
    have been obtained and refitted to transport refugees. [91]
    American troopships and lend-lease and other cargo vessels could also have carried thousands of refugees across the Atlantic, clearing neutral European countries of fugitives and opening the way for a continuing exodus from Axis territory. War and State department correspondence shows that returning military transports could have performed this mission without hampering the war effort. In fact, U.S. Army authorities in North Africa offered in 1943 to take refugees to the United States on returning military ships. But the State and War departments blocked the plan. [92]
    In spring 1944, Roosevelt himself informed Pehle that the Navy could bring refugees to the United States on returning troopships. The War Shipping Administration believed that Liberty ships could also have transported refugees effectively. While the State Department was claiming that transportation for refugees was unavailable, Liberty ships were having difficulty finding ballast for the return trips from North Africa. [93]
    The United States and Britain leased Swedish ships to carry food from the Western Hemisphere to Greece. Sweden readily furnished replacements and additions to this fleet. Despite repeated pleas, however, the two great Allies never managed to provide a single boat to ferry Jews from the Balkans to Turkey or to shuttle Jews across the Mediterranean to safety. Vet the War Department admitted to the War Refugee Board in spring 1944 that it had “ample shipping” available for evacuating refugees; the problem, it agreed, was to find places where they could go. [94]
    Another stock excuse for inaction was the claim that Axis governments planted agents among the refugees. Although this possibility needed to be watched carefully, the problem was vastly overemphasized and could have been handled through reasonable security screening. It was significant that Army intelligence found not one suspicious person when it checked the 982 refugees who arrived at Fort Ontario. Nevertheless,
    potential subversion was continually used as a reason for keeping immigration to the United States very tightly restricted. Turkey, Latin American nations, Britain, and other countries used the same exaggerated argument. It played an important part in blocking the channels of rescue. [95]
    A third rationalization for failing to aid European Jews took the high ground of nondiscrimination. It asserted that helping Jews would improperly single out one group for assistance when many peoples were suffering under Nazi brutality. Equating the genocide of the Jews with the oppression imposed on other Europeans was, in the words of one
    of the world’s foremost churchmen, Willem Visser ‘t Hooft, “a dangerous half-truth which could only serve to distract attention from the fact that no other race was faced with the situation of having every one of its members … threatened by death in the gas chambers.” [96]
    The Roosevelt administration, the British government, and the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees regularly refused to acknowledge that the Jews faced a special situation. One reason for this was to avoid responsibility for taking special steps to save them. Such steps, if Successful, would have confronted the Allies with the difficult problem of finding p

  • Dan Friedman

    This is what is driving American Jewish leftists, like Beinart, Goldberg and Friedman nuts!

  • Jerusalem Temple Mount Guide 1925
    Jerusalem Temple Mount Guide 1925
    Click here for the 1925 Temple Mount Guide
    One of the most disturbing end times propaganda being
    promoted today is the absurd notion that the Jews never had a presence on the
    famous Temple Mount area in Jerusalem. Anyone who is
    knowledgeable about history and aware of the recent archaeological
    discoveries on the Temple Mount area over the years knows that the propaganda being perpetuated by the
    Islamics, United Nations, and other ungodly organizations is simply a
    political ploy to deny the Jews their historical capital of Jerusalem
    and the sacred Temple Mount area. The Temple Mount area is the holiest place in Judaism and the remnants of the Second Temple area visible in the form of the “Wailing Wall” where religious Jews flock from around the
    world in order to pray near the site of the First and Second Temples. Some of the outstanding
    quotes from the official Temple Mount Guide are as follows:
    “The site is one of the oldest in the world. Its sanctity dates from the earliest times. Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to universal belief, on
    which David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings” (2 Samuel 24:25).
    Posted by: YJ Draiman

  • Ruth Muskat

    At least two thirds of the money received from the United States must be spent in the U.S.
    The U.S. gives – and gets back. I am not aware of any other country than Israel where this condition is built in. I am puzzled that Arens was not explicit about this

  • Jill Burk

    It is very important that Israel becomes self-sufficient, because one never knows when western nations will show their true colors and drop us like a hot potato into the soup. Arens did not mention that there have been LOTS of products and ideas that Israel has sold, given or shared with the United States…endless brain-power taken advantage of by the United States….who often demand, in return, that Israel relinquish the rights to their own
    creativity. We need to break that habit soon…