In fact very many orthodox Jews not only in Palestine but all over the world view with the deepest misapprehension, not to say dislike, this principle of a Zionist home in Palestine…The scheme of of a Zionist Home seems to make Zionist political predominance effective in Palestine by importing into the country extraneous and and alien Jews from other parts of the world..
Lord Islington in the British House of Commons June 21, 1922
Judaism has been corrupted by its politicization. For some, a form of idolatry seems to have been embraced, making Israel an object of worship, much like the golden calf in the Bible. It is not only Palestinians who have been the victims of this enterprise, but Jewish moral and ethical values as well.
Allan C Brownfeld, the American Council for Judaism,
Aug 9, 2014
It is commonly accepted that knowledge of the Nazi holocaust had a profound psychic effect on people after the end of World War ll. Before television carried horrific images at breakneck speed around the world, people relied on radio, newsreels and the printed word Even then most people were staggered by reports of Nazi cruelty. Such monumental evil seemed beyond category. It simply exploded our mental horizons. News of Hiroshima had the same effect.How could humans act like this?
The death of so many however was a boon to Zionism. Three million Jews remained in Europe after the war, many having been saved by decent people. Various governments responded to the calamity and were prepared to aid the struggling remnant.
In this period Zionism hardly distinguished itself. Another “new historian” Tom Segev unearthed this embarrassing fact. It seemed that Ben Gurion was more committed to Jewish sovereignty in Palestine than rescuing Jews caught in the Nazi net. This infamous clinical attitude was best summed up in the Zionist leader’s famous 1938 remark:
If i knew that it was possible to save all the children of Germany by transporting them to England but only half by transporting them to Palestine I would choose the second-because we face not only the reckoning of those children but the historical reckoning of the Jewish people.
Was Ben Gurion that cold hearted? Hardly but he had committed his whole life to the formation of the Jewish state in Palestine. He was never interested in a mere “homeland”. He would never be satisfied with anything but a state with no room for the Palestinian people.
After the Peel Commission (1937) recommended partition as the only solution to the growing Palestinian resistance, the wily leader accepted this as a mere stop gap to Jewish sovereignty. He fully understood that the Palestinians “had legitimate fears and grievances”. He stated to party members in 1937:
We will abolish partition and expand to to the whole of Palestine. I do not see partition as the final solution of the Palestine question…it is not the end but the beginning…we will expel the Arabs and take their place.
One must be aware that the deepening global understanding of the Zionist endgame and its hypocritical face to the rest of the world slowly come about through the pioneering work of the humanist Israeli historians. They have unearthed what so long has been covered up.
As it was becoming obvious in the mid 40s that Nazism was headed for a catastrophic defeat the American president Franklin Roosevelt sent his close fiend, a New York Jewish lawyer Morris Ernst around the USA to galvanize support for the rescue of broken European Jewry. Ernst was stunned at the lack of support of Jewish leaders. He discovered to his great chagrin that almost to a person They were committed not to a Jewish homeland but a Zionist state.
Getting the Jewish survivors to emigrate to Palestine would have filled the Yishuv with much needed recruits in filling the country. No Jew would be forced to go anywhere much less to Palestine. Ernst again was shocked at the response he received. ”I was thrown out of parlors of friends,” he wrote. ”They said, Morris you are undermining the Zionist movement.”
It turned out that the sophisticated Roosevelt understood the Jewish community better than his bosom friend. He had predicted to Ernst
“They (Zionists) know they can raise vast sums for Palestine by saying to donors ”there is no other place this poor Jew can go.” But if there is a world political asylum for all people irrespective of race, creed or color, they cannot raise their money. Then the people who do not want to give the money will have no excuse to say “What do you mean there is no place they can go but Palestine?They are the preferred wards of the world.”
Ernst many years later later said that everywhere he found “ a deep genuine often fanatically emotional vested interest in putting over the Palestinian movement” in men “who are little concerned about human blood if it is not their own.”
Roosevelt and Ernst were universalists. They had met their match in men who were tribalists. The progressive values of the early idealists were gradually being trumped by a movement whose core belief rested on land, and nationalism. They had little understanding of the moral . price to be paid. In their enthusiasm they were unable to see what would happen when Torah was replaced by an Israeli flag.
The brilliant Orthodox scholar Yeshayahu Leibowitz (d.1994) put it this way:
The historical Jewish people, despite all its contradictions and despite all the division that arose within it never considered the state apparatus—that is the force of organized power under which the people live—as one of the constitutive elements of its national essence. The same holds true with regard to the land…In its historical consciousness the people existed outside outside all territorial attachments…Its national identity is incarnated in one specific, immanent element—Judaism.
Ben Gurion was a secular Jew whose prime aim was to was to convert Jews to become members of a secular nation. He needed bodies fast to fill the country. For him the historical Judaism of mercy, charity, compassion and introspection was dead. Zionism needed strength, self-affirmation and power. Brilliant tactician that he was, Ben Gurion sent out his operatives into the DP camps to basically force these survivors to come to Palestine. Soldiers were needed for the upcoming battle. Many of course did not want to go. America not Israel was the goldene medine (the promised land). The same holds true for American Jews today. Israel has turned out to be no safe haven at all.It is the most dangerous place in the world for Jews.
Less than half of the European Jewish remnant came to Israel. One can understand why so many resisted the often crude pressure of the Zionists. What could Palestine offer them? It was not even a country with a highly developed infrastructure. Many had been coerced into coming to a strange land. Zionists had seized control in these holding camps and they did everything in their power to steer people to Palestine.
How things would have been different had Zionists simply agreed to a homeland. The land could have been shared but the age-old virus of nationalism, so foreign to Judaism won the day and we see the tragic results today.