One of the world’s most popular anti-Semitic libels claims that the Jews wield omnipotent political power and influence in the world. This fantasy became infamous via the anti-Semitic book The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which bizarrely alleged that a group of Jewish leaders control every country and institution in the world, even though history has proven that most nations and global institutions have always been antagonistic towards Jewish interests. This has been the case even when Jewish interests accorded with their own.
For example, the United Nations is notoriously anti-Israel, with 14 resolutions passed in 2021 that condemned the Jewish state, compared to four resolutions condemning other countries. These resolutions alone make it obvious that most countries in the world are opposed to Jewish interests.
Years ago, our family had the honor of hosting a Shabbat lunch with a survivor of the ship the St. Louis. In 1939, the Roosevelt administration refused to permit the ship to reach America because its 973 Jewish passengers were fleeing Nazi Germany. If the U.S. had allowed German and other European Jews to come to America at that time, six million Jews would not have been murdered by the Nazis. Moreover, the American Jewish community was unable to get the Roosevelt administration to bomb the railroad lines to Auschwitz, which would have saved innumerable Jewish lives.
Shortly after the Holocaust, almost the entire world—including the U.S.—refused to supply arms to the Jews during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, even though the U.N. had approved the creation of a Jewish state. It is astonishing to think that this was the case less than four years after six million Jews lost their lives because the world did not open their doors to them.
In 1967, Israel again had no allies when it was faced with a massive coalition of Arab nations determined to destroy it. Once again, American Jewish lobbying failed, and President Lyndon Johnson refused to arm or support Israel during the Six-Day War.
The truth is that the U.S. supports Israel today because Israel won without U.S. support in 1948 and 1967. However, it is now clearly in the interests of the U.S. to support the Jewish state due to Israel’s success as a military and economic power.
Recently, President Joe Biden nominated an anti-Semite for the post of U.S. ambassador to Brazil. In a 1998 interview, Elizabeth Frawley Bagley bemoaned “the influence of the Jewish lobby, because there is major money involved.” She went on to claim that “the Democrats always tend to go with the Jewish constituency on Israel and say stupid things, like moving the capital to Jerusalem always comes up.” U.S. support for Israel, she claimed, is due to “the Jewish factor; it’s money.” The interview was conducted by a historian at the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training for an oral history project.
Democratic Senators Ben Cardin and Robert Menendez of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee criticized Bagley’s comments as anti-Semitic. Cardin said, “The language you used in regard to the Jewish community, Israel’s influence on our election and Jewish money have me concerned. The choice of words fit into the traditional tropes of anti-Semitism.” Menendez asked if Bagley’s statement was “a suggestion that one group of Americans don’t have the right to engage in the political process as others do?”
In response, Bagley said her anti-Semitic comments were the result of a “free-flowing discussion” with the interviewer. She continued, “I regret that you would think that it was a problem.” She asserted, “I certainly didn’t mean anything by it. It was a poor choice of words, but it was something that the interviewer had asked me, prompted by something about politics.”
Bagley did go on to tell Sen. Cardin that what she said did not reflect her views then or now. However, this makes little sense. If her statement did not reflect her views at the time, then why did she say it? Further, in response to Sen. Menendez, Bagley maintained her opposition to the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Such incoherent answers should have led all members of the Foreign Relations Committee to reject her nomination. But astonishingly, all of the Democrats on the Committee voted to confirm her, including Cardin and Menendez. The vote, however, ended in a tie, because all the Republicans voted against her.
The truth is that American Jews’ political activism has had a notably positive impact on U.S. foreign policy. The most famous example of such activism was the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, which not only led to the freedom and exodus of over a million Soviet Jews to Israel and the U.S., but also contributed to the demise of the USSR’s communist empire and to the freedom of Eastern Europe.
The American Jewish community’s support for Israel advocates a policy that is obviously in the U.S. interest: To support a democratic military and economic ally in the Middle East over a Palestinian Authority that supports the destruction of Israel and financially rewards murderers of Jews and Americans. The fact that Bagley still does not understand this makes her unqualified to be a U.S. ambassador.
Actions speak louder than words. Cardin and Menendez spoke great words when they criticized Bagley, but they did not back up those words with actions. It should have been made clear that anti-Semitic statements disqualify any nominee for a diplomatic post. The Biden administration should drop Bagley’s nomination. If they do not, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer should oppose her nomination and thus end her candidacy.