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November 11, 2011

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Christians mostly failed to act in response to Kristallnacht By Rafael Medoff WASHINGTON (JTA)--Most American Christian leaders strongly condemned the Kristallnacht pogrom that the Nazis carried out against Germany's Jews 73 years ago this week, when hundreds of synagogues were torched, the windows of thousands of Jew- ish businesses were smashed, 100 Jews were murdered and 30,000 more were dragged off to concentration camps. But ,the words of condemnation were not always accompanied by calls for action. When it came to advocating steps such as opening America's doors to Jewish refugees or severing U.S. relations with Nazi Germany, Christian voices too often fell silent. The liberal Catholic publication Com- monweal called for susPending America's immigration quotas in order to admit more refugees. The largerCatholic weekly maga- zine America, however, took a different line. America headlined its post-Kristailnacht issue "NAZI CRISIS." But the two feature stories did not focus on the plight of Hitler's Jewish victims. The first was a report about the mistreatment of nuns by Nazis in Austria. The second article charged that protests by American Jews against the Nazi pogrom were generating"a fit of national hysteria" intended "to prepare us for war with Germany." The issue did include an editorial titled "The Refugees and Ourselves" but it was about the "grave duty" of American Catholics to help European Catholic refugees. Jewish refugees weren't even mentioned. An editorial in the leading Protestant maga- zine Christian Century did address the Jewish refugee problem: It argued that America's own economic problems necessitated "that instead of inviting further complications by relaxing our immigration laws, these laws be maintained or even further tightened." A few months later, refugee advocates proposed legislation to help German Jews that could not be construed as undermining America's economy. The Wagner-Rogers bill would have admitted 20,000 children--too young to compete with American citizens for jobs. Yet even then, Christian Century found a reason to oppose helping the Jews. "[A]dmitting Jewish immigrants would only exacerbate America's Jewish problem," itwrote. One notable Christian response to Kristall- nacht was an initiative by the U.S. branch of the Young Women's Christian Association. Less than two weeks after the pogrom, the YWCA established a Committee on Refugees, which undertook information campaigns aimed at persuading the public that refugees were loyal and hardworking. Unfortunately, the YWCA's national board soon lost interest in the project and declined to fund it. Accord- ing to Professor Haim Genizi, the American The New York Times and Israel By David Harris I've been reading The New York Times pretty much every single day since I was 10 years old. That's more than a half century by now. Along the way, I've been informed, inspired, and occasionally infuriated. Last month, there was cause for infuriation. First, it came on a Monday, in the form of four photographs that appeared on the first page (p. A4) of the International section. The largest of the four, 6 x 9 inches, was at the top of the page and immediately caught the reader's attention. Itwas a poignant picture of a little girl lean- ing against a largely empty wall and staring upward, as the caption explained, to a small picture of her grandfather. Walid Aqel, 48, was to be among those Pal- estinian prisoners released in the exchange for Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hamas in 2006 and held incommunicado until his release last month. The paper failed to mention, in the cap- tion or elsewhere, that Aqel was a founder of Hamas' military wing, had much Israeli blood on his hands, and was sentenced by Israel to life imprisonment. Instead, the overriding impression conveyed was that Aqel was, above all, a grandfather, whose adorable granddaughter was pining for his return from his Israeli captors. Then, just below the photo was the article itself: "Israel Names 477 to Go Free in Trade for Hamas-Held Soldier." And beneath the article were three small photos, each measuring 2 x 3 inches, which conveyed images of the human havoc wrecked in Israel by some of those Palestinians to be released in the deal: Because of their diminutive size and busy images, those photos didn't draw the eye eas- ily, although they should have been the heart of the story. After all, they conveyed the nature of the terrorists to be freed, helping readers under- stand how gut-wrenching the decision must have been for Israel. Yet those photos, together totaling 18 square inches, were submerged, while the single, stark photo at the top, 54 square inches, dominated. Then came the Times' editorial, "Gilad Shalit's Release," on Wednesday. It was, frankly, among the most upsetting I've ever read. The day after Shalit was released and re- turned to Israel, With 477 Palestinian prisoners sent to Gaza, the West Bank, and elsewhere, and a second group to be freed soon, the paper chose to go after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yet again. He's been a favorite whipping boy for the edi- torial writers since he assumed office in 2009. They give him little credit for what he's done to advance prospects for peace and Palestin- ian development--the 100-month settlement freeze, the lifting of blockades and checkpoints on the West Bank, oft-expressed support for a two-state outcome, and help for the rising Palestinian economy. And they spare no criti- cism for his alleged misdeeds. But this editorial took the cake. By the second of eight paragraphs, and barely 24 hours after the drama of what had just taken place with Shalit, the editorial was already darkly suggesting this was really a Machiavellian plot to further weaken chances for peace--and the blame, predictably, was laid at Netanyahu's doorstep. Of course, the editorial could have gone in other directions. It might have dwelled on the extraordinary importance Israel attaches to human life, in this case the life of one soldier. It could have focused on the nature of Israeli democracy, where Gilad Shalit's parents never stopped mobilizing on behalf of their son, and created a national movement to liberate him, irrespective of the cost. It might have reminded the world of the contrast between Shalit's captivity--more than five years without a single visit by the International Committee of the Red Cross, much less his family--and that of the Times on page 19A THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT.   CENTRAL FLORIDA'SINDEPENDENTJEWISHVOICE #  ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 4O Press Awards EdltPubllsher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Assistant Editor Gene Starn Lyn Davidson Mike Etzkin HERITAGE Florida Jewish News (ISN 0199-0721) is published weekly for $37.95 per year to Florida ad- Society Editor Bookkeeping dresses ($46.95 for the rest of the U.S.) by HERITAGE Gloria Yo,sha Paulette Harmon Kim Fischer Central Florida Jewish News, Inc., 207 O'Brien Road, Suite 101, Fern Park, FL 32730. Periodicals postage Account Executives paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. Barbara do Carmo Marci Gaeser POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Contributing Columnists Fern Park, FL 32730. Jim Shipley Ira Sharkansky Tim Boxer David Bomstein Terri Fine Ed Ziegler MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Production Department Fern Park FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 David Lehman David (;audio Teri Marks email: news@orlandoheritage.corn Loft Apple Elaine Schooping Gil Dornbrosky Jewish Committee ended up providing much of the committee's budget. Christian Scientists, although small in num- ber, had the opportunity to exercise influence through their mass-circulation newspaper, the Christian Science Monitor. But true to their church's emphasis on the potential of prayer to heal all ills, the Monitor's editors argued that in response to Kristallnacht, "prayer ... will do more than any amount of ordinary protests to heal the hate released in the last few days and to end injustices and excesses practiced in the name of anti-Semitism." The Monitor did acknowledge that "finding havens for [the] refugees" was a necessity, but refrained from suggesting thatAmerica should serve as one of those havens. One of the few consistently strong Christian voices in the aftermath of Kristallnacht was that of U.S. Sen. William King of Utah, a for- mer missionary who was arguably the most prominent Mormon in America at the time. While President Roosevelt only recalled the U.S. ambassador from Germany temporarily for "consultations," Senator King urged the administration to completely break off U.S. diplomatic relations with Hitler. While FDR said that liberalization of America's immi- gration quotas was "not in contemplation," King introduced legislation to open Alaska to Jewish refugees. Sadly, Senator King's initiatives attracted almost no support from America's churches. The response Of most Christian leaders to Kristallnacht, like the response of the Roos- evelt administration and most of the American public, was, in the words of Professor Henry Feingold, "no more than a strong spectator sympathy for the underdog." Dr. Rafaet Medoff is director of The DavM S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, which focuses on issues related to America's response to the Holocaust. The material in this article is based on the Wyman Institute's ongoing research project on American Chris- tian responses to the Holocaust. Israek A true ally in the Middle East By Robert D. Blackwill This intimate relationship reinforces overall and Walter B. Slocombe U.S.intelligenceeffortsbyprovidingWashington with access to Israel's unique set of capabilities LOS ANGELES (JTA)---American leaders for information collection and assessments on have traditionally explained the foundations key countries and issues in the region. Such was Of the U.S.-Israel relationship by citing shared the case, for example, when Israel passed to the democratic values and the moral responsibility United States conclusive photographic evidence America bears to protect the small nation-state in 2007 that Syria, with North Korean assistance, of the Jewish people. Although accurate and had made enormous strides toward "going hot" essential, this characterization is incomplete with a plutonium-producing reactor. because it fails to capture a third, crucial as- On important issues, the two nations do pect: the many ways in which Israel advances sometimes differ, aphenomenon not unique to U.S. national interests, the U.S.-Israel relationship. Over the decades, Today, Israeli contributions to U.S. national there have been periodicpolicy flare-ups, some interests cover a broad spectrum. Through even bitter, on topics ranging from Israel's joint training, exercises and exchanges on mill- preventive action against Iraq's nuclear reactor tary doctrine, the United States has benefited to Israeli sales of weaponry and military tech- in the areas of counter-terrorism, intelligence nology to China. Some of the most contentious and experience in urban warfare. Increasingly, disputes have been about actions affecting the U.S. homeland security and military agencies Middle East peace process. areturningtoIsraelitechnologytosolvesome But more often have been instances of of their most vexing technical and strategic U.S.-Israel collaboration--most important, problems, the Arab-Israeli peace treaties that are the This support includes advice and expertise anchor of American national interests in the on behavioral screening techniques for airport Middle East. securityandacquisitionofan Israeli-produced We do not deny that there are costs to the. tactical radar system to enhance force pro- United States, intheArabworldandelsewhere, tection. Israel has been a world leader in the for its support of Israel, as there are costs development of unmanned aerial systems, to U.S. support of other beleaguered--and both for intelligence collection and combat, sometime imperfect--frJends, includingWest and it has shared with the U.S. military the Berlin in the Cold War, Kuwait in 1990-91 and technology, the doctrine and its experience Taiwan today. regarding these systems. Israel is also a global But the long-standing U.S. commitment to. pacesetter in armored vehicle protection, Israel has not prevented development of close defense against short-range rockets, and the ties with Arab nations, which understand-- techniques and procedures of robotics, all of however much they disagree with U.S. support which it has shared with the United States. for Israel--that they benefit from a good rela- In missile defense, the United States has a tionshipwiththeUnitedStatesonotherissues. broad and multifaceted partnership with Is- Nor has it made the Arab oil-exporting states rael. Israel's nationalmissiledefenses--which any less conscious of their own economic and include the U.S. deployment in Israel of an " strategic interest in a reasonably stable flow advanced X-band radar system and the more of oil to world markets, or their eagerness to than 100 American military personnel who buy first-class military equipment from the man itmwill be an integral part of a larger United States or to enjoy the benefits of U.S. missile defense spanning Europe, the eastern protectionagainstIranianorotheraggression. Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf to help Would Saudi Arabia's policies toward the protect U.S. forces and allies. United States, for example, be markedly dif- Israeli-developed defense equipment, some ferent if Washington entered into a sustained ofwhichbenefitedfromgenerousU.S.aid, now crisis with Israel over the Palestine issue? used by the U.S. military include short-range Would Riyadh lower the price of oil? Would unmannedaircraftsystemsthathaveseenser- it stop hedging its regional bets concerning viceinIraqandAfghanistan;targetingpodson U.S. attempts to coerce Iran into freezing its hundreds of Air Force, Navy and Marine strike nuclear weapons programs? Would it regard aircraft; a revolutionary helmet-mounted current U.S. policy toward Afghanistan more sight that is standard in nearly all frontline positively?WoulditviewAmericandemocracy Air Force and Navy fighter aircraft; lifesaving promotion in the Middle East more favorably? armor installed in thousandsofMRAParmored Wouidit be more inclined to reformits internal vehicles used in Iraq and Afghanistan; and a governmental processes to be more in line with gun system for close-in defense of naval yes- U.S. preferences? No, sels against terrorist dinghies and small-boat In sum, we believe that Israel's substan- swarms, tial contributions to U.S. interests are an Moreover, U.S. and Israeli companies are underappreciated aspect of this relationship working together to produce Israel's Iron and deserve equal billing to shared values Dome--the world's first combat-proven and historical responsibility as rationales for counter-rocket system. American support of Israel. Counter-terrorism and intelligence coop- Robert D. Blackwill, deputy national se- eration is deep and extensive, with the United curity advisor for strategic planning in the States and Israel working to advance their George W. Bush administration, andWalterB: common interest in defeating the terrorism of Slocombe, undersecretaryofdefenseforpolicy Hamas, HezbollahandaI-Qaedaanditsaffiliate in the Clinton administration, are authors of groups, and preventing nuclear proliferation the new report "Israel: A Strategic Asset for in the region. There are joint Special Forces the United States" (The Washington Institute training and exercises, and collaboration on for Near East Policy). This Op-Ed originally shared targets, appeared in the Los Angeles Times.