Between 1941 and 1944, attempts to rescue the Jews of Europe were meet initially with denial of their plight and ultimately with cynical evasion. The British Foreign Office and the American State Department preferred to see Jews sent to murder camps instead of rescuing them because the Allies could not figure out where to put them. Britain’s Foreign Office and the American State Department’s greatest fear was that Hitler would release the Jews and the Allies would be caught in headlights of their own hypocrisy.
In its infamous White Paper of 1939, Britain restricted Jewish emigration to the Palestine Mandate just after Kristallnacht, when the fate of Germany’s Jews was written in chards of glass. But if that were not sufficient treachery, Britain also long delayed permitting Jews to settle in temporary refugee camps in Libya. When Tito opened an escape route through Yugoslavia for transporting refugees to Libya, the British welcomed them, unless of course they happened to also be Jewish.
Even when Britain finally succumbed to political pressure to issue Jewish refugees visas for Libya, the Foreign Office suddenly could not find any ships of willing neutral powers to transport Jews.
Throughout this period, the mainstream Jewish leadership observed legal niceties and depended on the promises and good will of Franklin D. Roosevelt to assist European Jewry. With Jews prominently placed in Roosevelt’s administration, Roosevelt was trusted to do what was humanly possible to rescue the Jews of Europe. In reality, Roosevelt talked a good game but let his Department of State obfuscate and delay as each day thousands of Jews went to their deaths.
In every generation Jews have faced an intractable enemy intent on their banishment or slaughter. Today, it is Iran. And the regime has made no secret of its intention to acquire nuclear weapons for the purpose of wiping out Israel.
As its grandfathers looked to Franklin Roosevelt to shield its brethren from the existential threat, today the American Jewish community blindly puts its faith in the Obama administration for the same purpose.
Israel must act for itself, for the Obama administration will behave no differently from the Roosevelt administration. Already the Obama administration has showcased Rahm Emanuel (whom some have called “the house Jew”) to link the existential threat from Iran with progress on the Palestinian statehood issue. This while the administration continues to spend the blood of its young men and women to keep Iraq and Afghanistan from becoming what they already are — failed states. So the existential threat to Israel’s existence, Iran’s nuclear program, is to be considered in the context of creating another failed, radical Islamic state on Israel’s border.
The time for the two-state solution has passed. Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah can’t even win a decisive victory in a local election on the West Bank against Hamas, and Abbas only stays in power with support from Israel and the West.
A Palestinian state will be a Hamasistan that eyes not only Israel as rightful territory but also Jordan. After all, Jordan is a state that Britain artificially and illegally created and comprises nearly three-quarters of the original British mandate.
Obama, Susan Rice and Samantha Power embrace the mythical view that the creation of a Palestinian state will not only stabilize the Middle East, but also solve most, if not all, of its problems. Suddenly, Osama bin Laden will stop calling for jihad, the Muslim Brotherhood will embrace Western democracy, and the Shi’ia and Sunni will stop blowing each other up in Iraq.
Barack Obama believes that he is going to engage the Iranians in meaningful negotiations. The Europeans have had negotiations with the Iranians for more than five years, and all that the Europeans have accomplished is to permit Iran to get closer to building a nuclear weapon.
Meanwhile American Jews are mindlessly embracing Obama as they once embraced Franklin Roosevelt. I grow weary of the talk about the Jews in the administration, the Passover Seder at the White House, Michelle Obama’s cousin, the black rabbi in Chicago, and even the fact that Obama’s Hyde Park mansion was once a Jewish day school, as if any of this had a bearing on foreign policy.
Maybe this generation of Jews needs to be reminded that the people who were most successful in rescuing the handful of Europe’s Jews that were saved during World War II were a group of orthodox rabbis who ignored Franklin Roosevelt, the State Department, the niceties of diplomatic protocol, the admonitions of the British Foreign Office, and the moribund leadership of the organized Jewish community.
Today, it is not enough that a high level Iranian nuclear scientist has disappeared, that planes carrying supplies for Iran’s nuclear program have met with unforeseen accidents, and that unaccounted accidents have occurred in Iran’s nuclear program. These operations have only delayed Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon. Israel must emulate the role model of the orthodox rabbis of the 1940s and do whatever is necessary to assure its survival, irrespective of who is offended.
We should remember that then Vice President George H. W. Bush was so upset by Israel’s bombing of Saddam Hussein’s Osirak nuclear reactor that he wanted the Reagan administration to cut off all military aid to Israel. Yet, ten years later, President George H. W. Bush’s secretary of defense, Dick Cheney, congratulated the lead Israeli pilot who destroyed Osirak for making Desert Storm easier, if not possible. Perhaps President Obama too will one day see the benefits of Israel eliminating the Iranian nuclear threat.