Back in the mid-nineteenth century Jews in America created the Board of Delegates of American Israelites to help impoverished Jewish immigrants.
American Jews intercede for Rumanian Jews
From Peter Golden, O Powerful Western Star! (2012) we learn that “They approached the Lincoln administration and prevailed on Secretary of State Seward to help the beleaguered Jews of Morocco by instructing his consul ‘to exert all proper influence to prevent repetition of the barbarous cruelties to which Israelites…have been subject.’”
We further learn that “when the Romanian government instituted a rash of anti-Semitic laws, and supported an eruption of pogroms, the Board convinced President Ulysses S. Grant to send a Jewish consul to Romania, where he met Prince Charles in Bucharest and presented a letter from the President. In language drawn from the best traditions of that righteous city on the hill [Jerusalem], the letter said: ‘The United States, knowing no distinction of her citizens on count of religion or nativity, naturally believes in a civilized world that will secure the same universal views.’”
“The letter led Prince Charles to have a change of heart. He spoke of his country’s fondness for the United States and for ‘our Romania Jews.’ For the next five years, while the consul was in residence in Bucharest, the government-supported mob violence disappeared.”
Who will intercede today for Iranian Jews?
Does there exist today in the United States a comparable group of Iranians that would approach Secretary of State John Kerry or President Barack Obama and petition him to send a letter to the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, comparable to that which was sent to Prince Charles of Romania?
The suggestion is absurd. Nevertheless, suppose the American Presidential candidates were to send such a letter to President Rouhani on behalf of the four Americans wrongly held captive in Iran.
Not that a response comparable to that of Prince Charles is to be expected. But after a brief period of waiting for a response from Tehran, it may be fitting to publish the letter in the Wall Street Journal. This might remind people of American Exceptionalism.◙
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