Secretary of State Antony J. Ben addressed State Department's failure to protect refugees fleeing the Holocaust on Thursday, linking atrocities to recent surge in anti-Semitism, violence against Asian Americans and others human rights crises around the world.
Sir. Ben,Speaking virtually at an event hosted by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, honored Breckinridge Long, Assistant Secretary of State during World War II, for blocking the processing of refugees for all except a "tiny fraction" of the candidates, and lying to Congress about the gravity of the Holocaust "as thousands of Jews were murdered every day.
"He had immense power to help those who were being persecuted, " Mr. Ben Long said ." Yet while as the Nazis began to systematically round up and execute Jews, Long made it increasingly difficult for Jews to obtain refuge in the United States.
Long also retained cables withs reports of the massacres, Mr. Ben said, and inflated the number of Jewishrefugees the United States had accepted during the war. On November 26, 1943, Long claimed in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the United States admitted 580,000 "victims of persecution by the regime Hitler ”. In fact, Mr Ben said, the United States admitted 138,000 at the time, less than a quarter of the number claimed.
"We live in a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise again in America and around the world " said Mr. Ben.
"As always, hatred of Jews tends to go hand in hand with hatred of others," he added. hate ideology rises, violence is neveris far behind, as the recent attacks on Asian Americans have illustrated. " He also spoke of "people imprisoned in modern internment camps because of what they worship or believe, or tortured for speaking out against tyranny.
The impact of the Holocaust is personal to Mr. Ben. Her stepfather, Samuel Pisar, was a survivor of the Nazi death camps of Majdanek, Auschwitz and Dachau, and was freed by American troops towards the end of the war.
His stepfather's experiences influenced Mr. Ben's interventionist tendency in foreign policy. During a press briefing after the speech, Ned Price, a spokesperson for the State Department, said Mr. Ben was motivated by his link ppersonal with the tragedy of the Holocaust.
"This is precisely why he has spoken so passionately about the human rights violations, abuses and atrocities that are occurring in the world, "said Mr. Price.