Whitewashing FDR’s Abandonment of the Jews

by Rafael Medoff and Stephen H. Norwood

Franklin D. Roosevelt is widely remembered as a strong leader who boldly led America out of the Great Depression and to the brink of victory in World War II. Yet when it comes to the Holocaust, some defenders of FDR’s record want us to believe he was not responsible for keeping Jewish refugees out of America—as if that was all the handiwork of the State Department, which supposedly ran U.S. immigration policy and foreign policy independently of the president’s wishes.
Sorry, but you can’t have it both ways.

Prof. Daniel Greene, speaking recently at the University of Oklahoma, continued to perpetuate the implausible notion that President Roosevelt was too hapless to make his own foreign policy. Remarkably, Greene spoke for nearly an hour about America’s response to Nazism and the Holocaust, yet barely mentioned the president.

This tendentious approach is consistent with the theme of the controversial exhibit on “Americans and the Holocaust” at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, for which Greene was senior curator. The exhibit has been criticized by many scholars for downplaying President Roosevelt’s abandonment of European Jewry.

Greene told his Oklahoma audience that the reason so few German Jews were admitted to the U.S. in the 1930s was because of “bureaucratic walls put in place by the State Department” —as if the White House had no occupant. 

What actually happened is that the State Department implemented Roosevelt’s policy of restricting immigration far below what the existing law allowed. The annual quota of German immigrants—about 26,000—was filled only once in FDR’s twelve years in office; in most of those years, it was less than 25% filled.

There are letters from the president himself at the time in which he acknowledged and defended the fact that visas were, as he put it, “considerably under-issued.” There are documents showing that State Department officials briefed the president on their efforts to keep refugees out.

Equally troubling was Greene’s deeply flawed description of the American response to the Nazis’ Kristallnacht pogrom in 1938. Greene simply omitted any mention of the offer by the governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands to open his territory to Jewish refugees, and FDR’s rejection of the offer. The exhibit at the museum likewise fails to mention the Virgin Islands as a possible haven for refugees.

The sad truth about President Roosevelt and Nazi Germany in the 1930s—never acknowledged by Greene or the U.S. Holocaust Museum—is that FDR consistently sought to maintain good relations with the Hitler regime prior to the war.

Under President Roosevelt, the U.S. government warmly welcomed the swastika-bedecked German warships Karlsruhe and Emden, which Hitler sent to American ports in 1934-1936 to promote good will between the Third Reich and the United States. The warships visited American Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf Coast ports at a critical time, when Nazi Germany was emerging as a major military power. High-level U.S. military officials openly fraternized with the Nazi warships’ officers, helping to legitimize Hitler’s rearmament program, which put all of European Jewry in extreme danger. With the assistance of Roosevelt’s State Department, the U.S. Navy even helped the Nazi warships improve their combat readiness.  In numerous speeches to American business and civic groups, the German warships’ officers aggressively promoted Nazism and Hitler’s expansionist policies.

The Roosevelt administration ignored  fierce protests by American Jews and trade unionists against the Nazi warships’ visits. The administration’s policy helped enable Nazi Germany to present itself as a respectable member of the community of nations, with many legitimate grievances. Greene mentioned none of this, nor can it be found in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s exhibit. 

The hosting of the Nazi warships was consistent with President Roosevelt’s policy of maintaining cordial, sometimes even friendly, relations with the Nazi regime. From 1933 until the end of 1938, FDR never publicly criticized Hitler’s persecution of German Jews. He never suspended diplomatic or trade relations with Nazi Germany before World War II. And even as many Americans were boycotting German goods in the 1930s, the Roosevelt administration was helping the Hitler regime evade the boycott by allowing it to use deceptive labeling on their goods so that American consumers would not recognize their country of origin.

Toward the end of his talk in Oklahoma, Greene described how the Holocaust Museum’s exhibit was intended especially for younger audiences, so he and his colleagues polled high school students in advance. He said he was surprised when “high school students didn’t do well on the question of who was president in World War 2.” 

Sadly, neither the exhibit nor its roving spokesman is doing much to improve the situation. So long as they depict Roosevelt as the amazing vanishing president—who suddenly goes missing when the embarrassing abandonment of the Jews is discussed—how could high schoolers be expected to know any better?

(Dr. Rafael Medoff is founding director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies; his most recent book is The Jews Should Keep Quiet: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, and the Holocaust. Dr. Stephen Norwood is Professor of History and Judaic Studies at the University of Oklahoma; his latest book, which is in press, is Prologue to Annihilation: Ordinary American and British Jews Challenge the Third Reich.)

Let Go Of What The World Tells You To Be

Rebbe Nachman’s story the Sophisticate and the Simpleton is a classic explanation about the struggle each of us experiences within. It is also the struggle between the increasingly vacuous Western World’s importance on success in one’s career versus a life filled with faith and contentment.

Completing Ourselves With The Foods We Eat

Rebbe Nachman teaches in lesson 54 of the Likutey Moharan that the Creator sends us messages everyday to draw us close to him. His chief student, Reb Noson of Breslov expands on this by teaching that it is in fact our mission to use the sparks or souls found in fruits and vegetable to help complete our own souls.

Looking at this even deeper, we can now understand why we desire certain fruits and vegetables. Our personal Holy desires found in these fruits and vegetables are there for us to uplift ourselves and the world around us.

Once again we see that wholeness of the Creation – the Divine System which is embedded in the fabric of our reality reality depends on our own choices, especially what we ingest into ourselves.

The more we live in a manner that is in. sync with the Creator’s blueprint, the more world will return to its initial balance.

This is ultimately why the blessings we say over the fruits of the earth and trees have special blessings, because the produce of the Land contains the route back to our true inner expression and enlivens our life force in this world.

The more we connect properly to the Creation and the food produces the more we will connect to our personal and cosmic Divine Mission.

The Fall of the State, the Rise of a New Order

We are entering a new phase of the breakdown of the State’s structure. Those people who are taking these third elections seriously are not understanding that in a real sense no matter if Bibi has enough to make a coalition or not, the State of Israel has been transformed by the current political chaos.

The Left will never have enough votes to win an election. The Supreme Court should have shut down the Prime Minister’s ability to form a coalition and instead decided to wait until after the election.


Nothing is simple. The Supreme Court knows the street is against it. To prevent the PM before an election from essentially having the ability to run would have revealed their true intentions and yet by punting the decision to March 2nd and beyond they are hinting that all may not be as it seems.


The Deep State will strike if it needs to. They are losing their grip on the country and as Bibi seems no closer to exiting, their strategy is to make chaos out of the situation. Third, fourth, and even a fifth election is not a problem for them. After all, they built the state and in their mind they can destroy it.

This is the real debate. Bibi and the Revisionist camp of the Likud and even the Religious Zionist parties believe that the crumbling tools of the Deep State/Mapai descedents can be uplifted to be used for the next stage of the Redemptive process. While this is partly true, the State as we understand it to be was built to be a series of structures in order to allow the elitists to rule over those who came to the Land of Israel as well as those already in it.

Bibi’s continued tenure is buying time for the idealists to effect change from within. He is the cover for them and the Deep State knows this.


This upcoming election will decide if the Deep State can further the chaos by preventing another coalition with the Prime Minister at its head or by the court ruling he cannot put together a coalition. They know they cannot win and so their goal is chaos that will lead to the State’s destruction.

However, chaos is not so bad. From chaos comes a new order – a new way of doing things. While the State as we know it maybe “falling apart” in the political sense, a new leadership with new ideas can arise taking the broken pieces of a system designed to service the few and rebuild it in order to create a fusion of Divine principles and physical tools.

Will this happen? Eventually, but the time it takes to unfold primarily depends on our own actions and whether or not we have awakened to a true Redemptive vision.

Returning to Ourselves

In the cosmic struggle between our authentic divine expressions and our limited physical wrappings we allow this inner confrontation to disconnect us from our purpose and path in this universe. The trauma that each one of us feels to a certain degree stems from this disconnection, which has become the best means to sidestepping the tremendous pain our divine element feels while being “trapped” in this world.

Despite the reasons for this disconnection, it has ultimately resulted in a lack of memory for who we really are and what we are meant to be doing here – both as individuals and as a national collective.

Most of us disregard the feeling of yearning our soul has for where it came from. We stare at those who have made the leap to live a life of expanded consciousness and connection, looking at them as special. In return, we view ourselves as simply “not on their level.”

Yet, we must know that as far as the Creator is concerned, there are no differences between the myriads of people within the Jewish national collective and those who have risen above known as the tzaddikim. All yidden descend from lofty levels – from the world of emunah, simple faith.

The difference between the tzaddikim and those who have yet to unlock their eternal memories and their internal God wisdom, is the toil and effort the tzaddikim undertook to achieve great heights.

The “common” yid must know and believe that the disconnection he feels within, can be overcome when a decision is made to embark on repairing his inner memory and working on following the path of the true tzaddikim.

The Land of Israel is about memory. It is gateway both nationally and individually to our inner Godly awareness and wisdom, yet this gateway cannot be fully traversed unless one follows the light of the tzaddik, whose mission it is to unlock God awareness within each yid – no matter how far away he is.

The first step is realizing that each one of us is a child of the Creator – a prince or princess to the king. Only then we can begin to return to who we truly are.

(Based on Likutey Halachot Birchat HaShachar, Halacha 3.6)

HISTORY MADE: Israel Officially Recognizes Ethiopian Kesim as Religious Leaders

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

The ministerial committee on the integration of Israeli citizens of Ethiopian origin chaired by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Monday, 19 February 2018), in an historic step, approved a decision to – for the first time – provide for the status of the overall religious services for Israeli citizens of Ethiopian origin.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “At today’s meeting we will finally provide for the status of the kesim who have led the Ethiopian Jewish community for hundreds of years. This arrangement should have been implemented a long time ago, and I am pleased that we have the opportunity to do so now. I think this is part of the same step, the same package of steps that we are enacting to aid our brothers and sisters in the Ethiopian Jewish community. The change is very welcome and there will also be other things that we will do at this meeting.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu added, “The heritage of Israel is a mosaic of many communities. This community has a special status precisely because it kept this heritage even in complete isolation. I find this moving and close to my heart. Therefore, this is an historic undertaking. We will continue this important journey for all of us, for our brothers and sisters.”

The outline that was approved includes a historic recognition of the kesim as spiritual shepherds for Ethiopian Jews and thereby provides for their status as part of the package of religious services. This step constitutes recognition of the ancient and unique heritage of Jews of Ethiopian origin, also in the area of religious services.

The decision also includes an orderly outline for the integration of rabbis of Ethiopian origin into religious councils so as to bring about their optimal integration in the network of religious services and to improve religious services available to Israeli citizens of Ethiopian origin as well as to the general public.

Construction and Housing Minister Yoav Galant briefed the committee on the successful implementation of the mortgage assistance plan for families of Ethiopian origin and the urban renewal plan. Under the plan, NIS 120 million has been allocated for housing loans to 200 families and couples of Ethiopian origin per annum, for four years.

In 2017, the first year of the plan, 184 couples and families used the assistance to purchase apartments in communities throughout the country. Additional families and couples are in the process of applying for the assistance. In order to facilitate optimal realization of the assistance, couples are also entitled to advice in purchasing apartments and taking mortgages from the Israel Interest-free Loan Fund. Regarding the urban renewal plan, achievements in five neighborhoods – at an overall investment of NIS 120 million over five years – were presented. Since the plan was approved last month, agreements have been signed with the three local councils where the neighborhoods are located.

Regarding the ministerial committee:

93% (66 out of 71) actions set by the committee have been implemented to date.

The ministerial committee monitors all actions under the government plan for integrating Israelis of Ethiopian origin. The plan includes 71 actions worth NIS 165 million per annum (not including housing). The actions are being implemented by ten ministries and agencies and entail all aspects of life. Among the plans approved by the committee: Scholastic enrichment in order to increase matriculation eligibility, boosting efforts to locate gifted and outstanding students and integrating them into appropriate frameworks, increasing the number of IDF and Israel Police officers, integrating academics into high-paying private sector jobs, and issuing subsidy coupons for children’s extra-curricular activities (since last September over 3,500 children have been participating in a variety of arts-and-crafts, music, sports and science activities).

Liberman’s new home demolition initiative: The point and the pointlessness

For its long term survival and security Israel needs strategic coherence, not haphazard tactical machoism.  

There is no difference between an attack that ends in murder and an attack that ends with serious injury. In both cases the homes of the terrorists must be destroyedDefense Minister Avidgor Liberman, Oct 29, 2007.

Earlier this week, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman instructed the Defense Ministry’s legal team to explore avenues that would extend the ability of the IDF to destroy not only the homes of terrorists who have murdered Israelis, but also of terrorists who have severely wounded them. Currently home demolitions are restricted to cases of terror attacks that result in the death of Israelis.

Is incompetence reason for clemency?

In justifying his proposal, Liberman claimed that Israel’s policy of home demolitions has proven itself an effective deterrent against terrorism, and there is no reason to distinguish between the different types of attacks whose purposeful intent was the slaughter of Israelis.

Prima facie, this contention has a sound ring of logic to it. After all, why should the murderous intent of one terrorist be treated less harshly simply because the harm inflicted was—despite that intent—less “successful” than those of another nefarious perpetrator?

After all, if home demolitions are, as Liberman claims, an effective measure in reducing the mortal danger to Israelis, why not apply it to any terror attempt—whether successful or not? Indeed, one might well ask, why should the efficiency of Israel’s counterterror operations be a mitigating factor in dealing with any thwarted would-be Judeocidal butcher?

But perhaps even more to the point is this: If home demolitions are in fact an effective terror deterrent, then perhaps even more than the actual perpetrators, who murder or maim their victims, this measure should be applied to those who plan, finance or incite such atrocities.   

Indeed, given that frequently, the perpetrators themselves are willing to sacrifice their lives in the commission of their brutal acts, it could well be that the threat of having one’s residence razed might have greater deterrent effect on those responsible for planning, funding and inciting such acts—and who do not seem to share such a manifest death-wish as their more dispensable kinsfolk.

Correctly conceptualizing the conflict

Critics of home demolitions, in general and certainly of any expansion of its application such as advanced by Liberman, in particular, allege that, as it entails inflicting punishment on the families of the perpetrator for acts they did not commit, it is inherently unfair. Accordingly, its use should be prohibited or at least severely curtailed.

While this characterization might be factually true, in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict it is operationally (and ethically) irrelevant.

It should be almost self-evident that to arrive at some kind of durable resolution of the conflict and the lasting cessation of violence, the conflict must be correctly conceptualized. This is not a prescription for abstract theorizing detached from the harsh and harrowing realities of day-to-day experience. Quite the opposite. Unless the conflict is correctly conceptualized, no effective policy can be devised to contend with it –and certainly not to end it. Indeed, just as a disease cannot be properly treated if incorrectly diagnosed, so a conflict cannot be correctly addressed if it is incorrectly conceptualized.  

Little analytical acumen is required to draw the conclusion that the conflict between Arab and Jew over control of the Holy Land is a clash between two collectives: A Jewish collective and an Arab collective—for which the Palestinian collective is its operational spearhead.

In this regard, during a November 2015 address, then-defense minister, Moshe “Bogey” Yaalon, aptly characterized the conflict as a clash of collectives, describing it as: “…predominantly a war of wills, of two societies with conflicting wills.”

Accordingly, the conflict, as one between collectives, cannot be individualized. One collective must prevail, the other be prevailed upon. Only then, after such a decisive outcome, can the issue of personal misfortune or injustice within the collectives be addressed.

Collective punishments for collective conflicts

If the clash is essentially one between collectives with conflicting societal wills, then clearly, for one collective to prevail over the other requires breaking the will of the rival collective.

Consequently, any wrongdoings perpetrated in the name of the Palestinian collective must carry a price, for which the collective pays – for if not, it will have no incentive to curb them.

In this regard, it must be kept in mind that the Palestinian population is not, as some might suggest, a hapless victim of the terror groups, rendering it blameless for the atrocities committed in its name. To the contrary, it is the very crucible from which such groups have emerged. By its own hand, by its own deeds and declarations, it has made it clear that it will not—except on some temporary, tactical basis–brook any manifestation of Jewish political independence or national sovereignty “between the River and the Sea”.

Indeed, a July 2017 survey by Palestinian Center of Policy and Survey Research, found that within the Palestinian collective, there is virtually unanimous endorsement of the acts of terror perpetrated against the Jewish collective and similar sympathy and support for perpetrators. According to its findings, “an almost total consensus rejects pressure on the PA to terminate payments to Palestinian security prisoners [i.e. jailed terrorists- MS]” and “91% are opposed to the suspension of PA payments to Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails; only 7% support such measure.  

Putting home demolitions in perspective

Accordingly, in the context of a clash between conflicted collectives, the issue of the “collective nature” of punitive measures should not be considered grounds for their preclusion.

After all, this was never a consideration in, say, Serbia, where markets, hospitals, buses, bridges and old age facilities, to name but a few civilian targets hit in high altitude bombing sorties in the US-led NATO attacks in the Balkans War of the 1990s.

Moreover, as polls repeatedly show, terror attacks against Israelis are not something foisted on a reluctant peace-seeking Palestinian population, but are in fact, widely embraced by it—reflecting nothing more (or less) than vox populi.  

Seen in this light, home demolitions and the extension of their imposition on perpetrators of non-lethal terror attacks (or even planners and facilitators of such attacks) are entirely appropriate if they:

– militate towards diminishing dangers to which members of the Jewish collective are exposed; and

– diminish the will of the Palestinians-Arabs, as a collective, to carry out assaults against Jews (as a collective).

However, unless integrated into a wider conceptually coherent strategic policy, home demolitions, like any other operational tactics, such as targeted killing, are unlikely to be effective in any meaningful way. This is particularly true if the affected family members are allowed to receive aid to quickly rebuild an alternative abode and financial compensation for their kinsman’s commission of the act for which their home was demolished.

Lack of strategy stymies tactics

Indeed, while it might be possible to present data showing that harsh punitive and/or preventative measures—whether house demolitions, administrative detention or targeted killings—may have reduced the frequency of terror attacks, even their most fervent proponents will be forced to admit that they have not been able  to terminate such attacks. And certainly they have been unable to break the terrorists’ will to undertake them.  

Nor will they ever be able to do so, if they remain detached from a wider strategic blueprint, which draws on the awareness that in the ongoing clash between two collectives with irreconcilable core aspirations, only one can prevail.

This calls for Israel to cease relating to the Palestinian-Arab collective as a prospective peace partner, and to begin relating to it as it relates to itself—as an implacable enemy.  Only then can a coherent, comprehensive and logically consistent strategy be fashioned in which Israel ceases to sustain an inimical collective by gradually ceasing to supply it with goods and services it needs for its existence. In applying such a strategy, a clear distinction should be made between the belligerent Palestinian-Arab collective and non-belligerent Palestinian-Arab individuals.

The former must be unequivocally and unmercifully vanquished and dismantled. The latter must be provided with the means to seek a better, more secure life elsewhere in third party countries, outside the “circle of violence” and free from the clutches of the cruel corrupt cliques who, for decades, have wrought nothing but disaster and devastation upon them.    

Strategic coherence not haphazard tactical machoism

Only once such a strategic approach is adopted, can various operational tactics –such as an enhanced demolitions policy—be effectively incorporated into it as tools to achieve strategic goals. Until that happens, until Israel foreswears any aspirations of reaching some consensual arrangement with the Palestinians, harsh tactical measures will always, to some degree or other,  be at cross purposes with ostensibly more benign strategic objectives. Until that happens, Israeli policy will be plagued by internal contradictions that hamstring its implementation and the effectiveness of its operational tactics, making it appear disingenuous and devious—and an easy target for international acrimony and opprobrium.

Surely it is high time for the national leadership to grasp these almost self-evident truths and demonstrate an awareness that for its long term survival and security, Israel needs strategic coherence, not haphazard tactical machoism.  

UMAN Rosh HaShana: A Spiritual Journey

When people hear of Uman Rosh HaShana many different things comes to ones mind such as ״woah why do people leave Israel and go to Uman?” Or “dude Uman is awesome it’s like a Jewish rave.” It’s shocking that I actually went to Uman after hearing all the negative gossip from the various peanut galleries but there is an aspect of Uman that is not televised on the news and written in articles. First of all traveling to Uman for Rosh HaShanah is not an easy journey, it’s a spiritual experience that challenges your emuna (faith) and your gratitude. Besides leaving the comfort of your home and family to travel to celebrate Rosh HaShanah in Uman doesn’t make any sense(if you don’t know why your going) but for a Torah observant Jew that has a strong connection to the teachings of Rebbe Nachman it makes a lot of sense. Anyways the moment you step outside your house with your suitcase ready or in my case a giant camping backpack the obstacles start to begin….. Now I can write down each and every thing that happened to me on my spiritual journey in UMAN during Rosh HaShanah but instead I’m going to share with you one powerful story that has forever changed the way I think.

This story that I am about to share with you is a true story and just happened this past Monday morning when I was at the Kiev airport traveling back to Israel. First of all I almost missed my shuttle to the airport from UMAN because I didn’t hear my alarm and I think I only got like an 1hr30mins worth of sleep that night. Ok but I made it on a later shuttle with my big backpack and a plastic carrying on bag which had my Tefilin and 5 of my Sefarim and my Rabbis book as well, so 6 books total (and all of them are very important, especially my Tefilin.) You might be asking yourself ” well if it was so important why didn’t he put it his big back pack?” Well when I flew to Kiev they made me check my bag and I thought they would make me do it again which they did. Anyways back to the story….. So we we make it to the Kiev international airport where no employee speaks english fluently. We soon found out we were at the wrong terminal and our flight was taking off in about an 2hrs, so we were all over the place trying to figure out how to get to this other terminal.

After a 20min walk in the cold damp land of Ukraine we made it to Terminal B. While we were going through security I realized I didn’t have my plastic carrying on bag which had my Tefilin and books. Once we got through security and passport control I received a text message in Hebrew that someone found my stuff and I was so relieved, but the flight was going to be taking off in about an 1hr and now I had to go back to the other terminal where I just came from. So I went back to the other terminal and it wasn’t there. I checked everywhere. I called the guy who texted me that he found it and he told me that security wouldn’t let him take it through. I think he was trying to bring it to Israel for me. Well anyways it didn’t work and no one had any clue where it was.

Since I was tight on time because I had a flight to catch and was in the wrong terminal I made my way back to my terminal and to my gate to start boarding. The entire flight back to Israel I spoke to G-D. I remember telling him “I know everything happens for a reason and even though I don’t know why this had to happen to me I know everything is going to be okay.”

I was bummed out but I was trying remain positive….. Well yesterday I was trying to figure out how I’m going to afford a new pair of Tefilin because they are not cheap and my Rabbi was telling me try not to worry about it right now, I think he also told me that because for the past 4 days I’ve been under the weather and it’s not so smart to make decisions when you are not feeling good.

Well anyways yesterday I pushed myself to go to work, and while I was at work I received a phone call from an unknown number. I picked up the phone and the man only spoke Hebrew, but I was able to understand what he was saying. Do you know what he told me???? “יש לי תפילין וספרים ” (i have your tefilin and books)…. I was blown away.

This man must of found my stuff in Kiev and brought it back with him to Israel. He lives in a city that’s about 2hrs away from me.

This is what UMAN is about. It’s about hardships, and happiness, faith and gratitude at the exact same time. When hardships happen in our life how are we going to deal with it? When amazing things happen to us will we be grateful? On the surface UMAN looks like a party but it’s actually a doctors appointment for the soul, and everyone need to get a check up once a year.

Fake Threats and the Wandering Jew Has Arrived

As all are certainly aware, there has recently been some drama surrounding (literally) the Temple Mount. This drama has been accompanied by grandiose threats from both local and foreign muslim terrorist leaders. From Mahmoud Abbas, dictator of the largest local arab mafia, “The Israelis will lose as a result of this.“ Others, such as Erdogan in Turkey and the little “King” in Jordan have been constantly predicting tragedy for Israel if security measures are not removed. Tons of endless threats. It reminds of the unwillingness of the new US Administration to move their Embassy to Jerusalem – the arab world will not tolerate it. There will be mayhem and chaos. blah, blah blah.

With the plethora of threats and doomsday predictions, I was reminded of a particular passage in quite an interesting book I recently read – “The Wandering Jew Has Arrived” by French journalist Albert Londres (Geffen Publishing House). The book is the result of Mr. Londres’ extensive investigations into the perilous situation of world Jewry in the year 1929. He first describes in detail the dire po‎sition of Jews in Europe – both Western and Eastern. He follows this by making a personal pilgrimage to the Land of Israel to see firsthand the situation of the Jews there. Mr. Londres is quite enamored by Zionism and the secular Zionists in Tel Aviv and the various kibbutzim. He is less enchanted, although maintains a certain respect, by the religious Jews, both in Europe and Israel. (He would probably be surprised to hear that his book encouraged me to grow my peyos out.)

At the end of the book, there is a dialogue between the author and local arab leaders in Jaffa. At the end of the conversation about the recent massacres of Jews in Hevron and other cities, Mr. Londres recalls a discussion he previously had with the current Mayor of Jerusalem, Ragheb Bey al-Nashashibi.  In that conversation, Al-Nashashibi said that as long as the Balfour Declaration stood, there would have to be more massacres. The author then said to him, “you can’t kill all the Jews. They number one hundred and fifty thousand. It would take too long!” To which the Mayor responded “Two days.” The author pointed out that would be “seventy-five thousand per day.”  The answer from the Mayor: “No problem!” The other arab notables all completely agreed with this sentiment.

Now for the best part: the journalist’s response:

“So, gentlemen, when the British board their ships, do me a favor and send me a telegram. I think that you are overestimating your strength. The new Jews are not going to let themselves bleed to death. I am even certain that they will pay you back in kind. It will be a tough battle. Here is my address. Don’t forget to notify me.”

A few years later, Mr. Londres perished in a fire. However, safe to assume the arabs never wrote to him with an update. Empty threats from the arabs are not new. You’d think we’d realize that by now. Often reading a book set in the past helps us to better understand the present. The Jewish People are not going to lose, regardless of Abbas’, Erdogan’s, or Abdullah’s  empty threats or Bibi’s pathetic capitulations. Its just very likely that in the future they might look as silly as these jokers do in this book.

RUSSIAN REDEMPTION: Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein Returns to Russia a Free Man

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein delivered a historic speech today in Moscow before the Russian Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament. Speaker Edelstein, who was invited for an official visit by Federation Council Chairwoman Valentina Matviyenko, gave the speech 30 years to the day after he served a three-year sentence in a Soviet labor camp for his Zionist activities.

Edelstein opened up with the following statement:

“Thirty-three years ago I was imprisoned here in Moscow by the authorities of the Soviet Union for teaching the Hebrew language. I was imprisoned because I was teaching the language which spread to the world the ideas of rejecting tyranny, upholding the rule of justice, love of mankind and the hopes of freedom; the language in which the prophets of Israel foretold the day on which `Nation shall not lift up sword against nation; nor will they learn war anymore.` I was imprisoned because I worked to disseminate the language in which Abraham, the founder of the Jewish religion, was told ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.’”

“Today, I stand before you as the Speaker of Knesset Yisrael, and, in the same language which I was imprisoned for teaching, I bless you with the ancient Jewish blessing: `Shalom Aleichem`! Even in my finest dreams, I never believed I`d reach this moment. For me, this brings double closure: For me, Yuli Edelstein, and for the entire Jewish nation, which I stand here as its representative.”

Edelstein touched on the success of Israel as well as the coninuted security challenges it faces. He urged great cooperation and communication in fighting terror.

The speech itself was the first spoken by any Israeli leader.  The honor is usually reserved for heads of state.  Jewish life in Russia under the Soviet regime was constantly threatened.  Despite the geopolitical differences between Putin and the West, Jewish life in Russia today is flourishing.

At the conclusion of his speech, Speaker Edelstein asked to convey a blessing in Hebrew from Jerusalem, “the eternal capital of the Jewish People, from which the message of justice and the war against evil has been coming out for nearly 3,000 years.” He then recited the following verse from Psalms: “Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say: ‘Peace be within thee.’ For the sake of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.

(Information in this article ​was Communicated by the Knesset Media and Public Relations Division)