Via Breath of the Beast, I was reminded of a chap I haven’t thought of in years – the second Lord Melchett*, a Jewish peer, one-third of a famous London ménage à trois, and Chairman of the British Agency for Palestine. In 1933, he gave an interview to The Palestine Post (now The Jerusalem Post), reporting back on a recent visit to Europe. Among the insights:
It was his impression that anti-semitism in Germany was on the wane, as Hitler was beginning to realize that it was his anti-semitism that was keeping him out of power.
Two weeks after the interview, Hitler was in power. I guess that anti-semitism was waning even faster than Melchett reckoned.
Many of history’s greatest catastrophes arise from not taking people at their word, and, indeed, disbelieving well established patterns of behavior. Lord Melchett would have made a fine Secretary of State, Attorney-General or Director of National Intelligence in the present administration.
(*No relation to the fictional Lord Melchett played by Stephen Fry in the BBC’s “Blackadder” sitcom, who if only by comparison is a model of good sense.)