The first speaker on the panel was Prof. Mark Raider, chairman of Judaic Studies at the University at Albany (SUNY).
described Wise as "cautious and ineffective" in response to "the disgracefully slow response of the Allies" to the Nazi persecution of European Jewry.
said that in his
younger days, Wise was known as a maverick, for embracing Zionism when most of his
Reform colleagues were anti-Zionist and establishing his
own synagogue so that he
could speak his
But during the Holocaust years, Raider
said, "Wise exchanged his maverick independence for the illusory promises of the Roosevelt
suggested that additional reasons for Wise's ineffective response to the Holocaust were his
declining health and his
involvement in a wide range of organizations and causes, which took up much of Wise's time and energy.
Raider was followed by Dr. Zohar Segev of Haifa University, who surveyed the record of Wise and Nahum Goldmann as co-chairs of the World Jewish Congress.
remarked that "while every life is precious, and saving even one life is like saving an entire world," given the scope of the Nazi genocide, the achievements of those who promoted rescue must be regarded as comparatively minor.