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Friday, June 08, 2012

Why the nations of the world agreed to a Jewish state

Diana Muir Applebaum explains that the nations of the world went along with the creation of a Jewish state after World War II out of their own self-interest.
Margarete Myers Feinstein’s review of In War’s Wake: Europe’s Displaced Persons in the Postwar Order by Gerald Daniel Cohen (Oxford 2011) will persuade you that the Jewish State was created because politicians in France, Britain and Belgium did not want to admit Jews as immigrants (they happily admitted large numbers of displaced persons who were Christian). And because Poland and the USSR did not want their displaced Jewish citizens back. The European politicians who did not want to admit Jews to their countries were decent men. They could see that an enormous injustice had been done. and there solution was what Cohen calls “emergency Zionism”; Zionism as the solution to an emergency. The emergency was that something had to be done with Europe’s displaced Jews, other than admitting large numbers of them to European countries.

The phrase “emergency Zionism” was used by Peter Novick in his 199 book “The Holocaust in American Life” (p. 75) to describe the post war support for the creation of a Jewish State among American Jews who had previously been opposed to Zionism, not because they had come to agree with Zionist ideas, but out of a feeling that something must be done to help the displaced Jews of Europe.

Novick’s use of the phrase has probably made people who recoil from Novick’s harsh criticism and lack of sympathy for towards Jews recoil from the phrase, but it is time to rehabilitate it for the simple reason that it is useful. It describes the attitude of a great many people who supported the creation of Israel.

It also describes the attitude of the men who signed the 1891 Blackstone Memorial, a petition that asked:

“Why not give Palestine back to them again? According to God’s distribution of nations it is their home, an inalienable possession from which they were expelled by force.”

“Why shall not the powers which under the Treaty of Berlin, in 1878, gave Bulgaria to the Bulgarians and Servia (Serbia) to the Servians now give Palestine back to the Jews? These provinces, as well as Roumania, Montenegro, and Greece, were wrested from the Turks and given to their natural owners. Does not Palestine as rightfully belong to the Jews?”



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