WWII and today: An opinion for your Christian friends who ask

… “Why do so many American Jews vote for the Democrat Party?” “Why did American Jews in the run up to WWII opt for neutrality?” many will say. “Surely, they must have known the fate of their families and friends.”

 CONTEXT For many people, a seminal event accelerates the development from childhood to adolescence. The awareness that life is more complicated than we thought it was. For me, it was watching the footage of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps after the 11 o’clock news. It took me a long time to process what I had seen. But then the inevitable question, “Why didn’t America’s Jews do anything about it?” Over time, I learned a great deal more, and the question changed from “Why didn’t they do anything about it?” to “Did they do enough about it?” The attached chronological essays by my good friend, Dr. Alex Grobman, is a treasure trove of information that caused me to reflect more deeply than I ever had. His meticulous research of authentic documentation is irrefutable. (Note: Please pay careful attention to Part VIII. One word comes to my mind … incomprehensible!) I don’t know that I’ll ever have an answer, or even the right question. But the state of anti-Semitism in this country gives me flashbacks of a period of foreshadowing that convinces me that the time to resist is before they come for us, not after.


… “Why do so many American Jews vote for the Democrat Party?” “Why did American Jews in the run up to WWII opt for neutrality?” many will say. “Surely, they must have known the fate of their families and friends.”

No simple answer, but a confluence of social, religious, economic, and historical forces, and never ending power struggles among European countries. WWI, WWII, Roman Catholic Church, Protestants, Orthodox Christian Church, Ottoman Empire among many. Throughout this unpredictable, tumultuous period, life for Jewish people in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa remained a constant … Jews were powerless … helpless, and at the mercy of those who despised them for being Jews.

But wasn’t life for American Jewish people vastly better, more free, and more secure? Shouldn’t American Jewish leadership have mobilized Jewish people to exercise their political power to prevent a holocaust? What were they afraid of? A lot! The answer is that the small Jewish population was, as it is today, a small percentage of the country’s population. Political power was insignificant in dealing with a President/Congress facing battle-ready military Axis powers. Sympathetic media was virtually non-existent. The big dog, the New York Times, buried reports of the Nazi roundups, and its murder machine.

New York City was the epicenter for media organizations and it was the epicenter for national Jewish organizations. In addition, an estimated 1/3 of America’s population was of German descent. So Hitler’s plan had a frightening amount of support in America. Even before WWII, Jewish people were often treated as second-class citizens. Major corporations had policies of not hiring Jews.  They were prohibited from some hotels and restaurants. University enrollment for doctors, dentists, and attorneys were subject to quotas. All of the world’s problems were the fault of the Jews and the only way the problem could be corrected was to eliminate them.

Henry Ford’s anti-Semitic Dearborn Independent and publication of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion institutionalized a climate of Jew hatred that reinforced the Christ-killer narrative in a vastly more religious Christian country than today.  Virulent, anti-Semitic radio broadcasts by Roman Catholic priest Father Coughlin left little doubt that American Jewish people were not sufficiently secure in their own country. The most severe anti-Semitism only began to decline in the 50’s, as Americans learned about the horrific atrocities of the Holocaust from televised World War II footage following the 11 o’clock newsThere will always be speculation as to whether Jewish leadership did enough to help European Jews in their darkest hours during World War II. Some will say, “Well they tried, they were powerless to do very much and ran the risk of retribution at the hands of anti-Semites,  some who may well have lived right next-door to them.” Some thought that while neutrality was certain death for European Jews, it might spare American Jews. However, once America entered the war, the realization that a German victory would lead to the same fate for American Jews changed some minds and solidified others. So is there little wonder that the leadership of the Jewish organizations we’re not on the same page at all times? Do any of us know what we would have done under those circumstances? I doubt it.


As the Democrat Party moves further left, anti-Semitism within the party and its leadership is in plain view and expanding, The Obama years of hostility to Israel, the Iran nuclear “Deal”, and growing campus anti-Semitism have placed Jewish American Democrats in another dilemma.  Is history on the cusp of repeating itself?  Authored by my good friend, Alex Grobman, a Hebrew University-trained historian, has written extensively on the Shoah and Israel including: License to Murder: The Enduring Threat of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion; Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened, and Why Do They Say It? with Michael Shermer; Battling For Souls: The Vaad Hatzala Rescue Committee in Post-War Europe; Genocide: Critical Issues of the Holocaust; BDS: The Movement To Destroy Israel.; Nations United: How The UN Undermines Israel and West. He is a member of the Council of Scholars for Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME).


Ron Dolinsky

The Voice of Moderation

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Ron Dolinsky