Can you Imagine the State of Israel not being in our ancestral land?
Well their have been many proposals and initiatives over the years to establish the Jewish State all over the world!
In a continuous series we will explore all of these foreign lands that the Jews could of called home.
In 1938, United States Department of the Interior Secretary Harold L. Ickes visited various parts of Alaska to determine whether or not he would support a proposal to designate the Alaska Territory as a resettlement sanctuary for Jewish refugees from Germany.
Because Ickes believed much of Alaska to be uninhabited and underdeveloped by governmental standards, and because he believed that mass Jewish resettlement could potentially strengthen security in a U.S. Territory then deemed vulnerable to attack.
He moved for Interior Undersecretary Harry A. Slattery to author a report: The Problem of Alaskan Development. The proposal advocated for the relocation of incoming European refugees into four main parts of Alaska. The report included multiple points of contention, and it divided government leaders and community members at the time.
The State Department and FDR were not the only prominent voices to reject Ickes and Slattery’s proposition. Once published, the Slattery Report was widely criticized by local officials, media and residents in Alaska, as well as a sizable number of prominent leaders in the Jewish American community at the time. Rabbi Stephen Wise, who was then the head of the American Jewish Congress, is noted as saying that the Alaska plan “makes a wrong and hurtful impression…that Jews are taking over some part of the country for settlement” .
Conversely, anti-Semitic rhetoric was also a prominent opposing voice to the resettlement plan. In a piece titled “German-Jews Unsuited for Alaska Settlers is Prevailing View Here,” published in the the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner on November 21, 1938, Alaskan residents are quoted as saying, “A Jewish group or any other racial group of aliens would not be able to maintain themselves in Alaska.” And in a 1939 Daily News-Miner editorial: “Alaska wants no misfits, and none who are unprepared to make their way without becoming a burden upon the territory.”
Thus, despite attempts to garner more support, the Slattery Report fell short of federal acceptance.