It’s extraordinary to see how different the contemporary American political climate is for Jews than it was seventy years ago. Today, the “Israel lobby” is widely regarded as all-powerful, and all but one of the 2012 Republican Presidential contenders — along with the Democratic incumbent — have eagerly sought Jewish support. In the 1930s and early ’40s, Jewish lives were barely worth a mention for most Americans.

The authors of these two books address this subject from opposite vantage points on the political spectrum. Samuel Merlin, author of Millions of Jews to Rescue, was a member of the Irgun Zvai Leumi (the National Military Organization or Irgun) — the right-wing “Revisionist” underground associated with Ze’ev Jabotinsky and Menachem Begin. Ariel Hurwitz, author of Jews Without Power, immigrated to Israel from the United States as a member of the radical-left Hashomer Hatzair...

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