The excerpt below is translated from an article by
Ben Gurion in the Hebrew periodical Bama'aracha Volume 4,
Part I, published in 1949 and presented his thought at that time, four years
after the Holocaust
regarding Anti-Semitism the Diaspora
and the need for the Jewish State,
The article should be viewed as presenting a Zionist point of view rather
than the Zionist point of view. The explanation of
Ben Gurion is:
...every nation designs their life style out of their own needs and
wishes -- and the framework of their existence and relations result from
their historical reality, and it is not to be imagined that these will try
to adapt themselves to the existence and mentality of the universal
exception called "Judaism."
The thesis that the Jews excite
because we are different and separate is hardly new. It is found in the words of
Haman in the scroll of Esther (Megilath Esther) and in the works of the pagan
anti-Semite, Apion. It might explain some outbreaks of anti-Semitism.
It is not a thesis that Herzl
would have adopted for example.
was an assimilated Austrian Jew who was inspired to Zionism by the wave of
that accompanied the Dreyfus Affair.
The Holocaust, the
most ferocious and vicious outbreak of
in history was initiated in Germany and directed at Jews who insisted that
Judaism was not a nationality, but a religion. It was also directed at people
who were totally assimilated and denied that they were Jewish. It is difficult
to believe that Hitler's genocidal persecution of the Jews satisfied any
developmental requirement of the German people. In the USSR likewise,
was directed at Jewish communists who insisted they were part of an
international proletariat and put their allegiance to the Communist party first.
Anti-Semites and anti-Zionists frequently insist that the Jews or Zionists claim
some special exclusivity or differentness. Perhaps with this in mind, Ben
Gurion explained that:
We shall be different from
all peoples -- as each nation differs from others
April 27, 2011
The introduction and
the translation are copyright 2011 by Ami Isseroff.
...Anti-Semitism is not worrisome. I believe the Jewish people
erred in blaming anti-Semitism for all the trials and tribulations that befell it in the
Diaspora. That is one of the blind spots affecting the Jews in foreign lands.
Should and can the entire world behave toward us as ministering angels? Does a
people base its existence on the existence of the rule of justice --- within
other peoples? Do the Jews maintain the rue of justice amongst themselves? Do we
not have within us jealously and hatred with good cause and with none/ Do we
treat members of other Jewish communities and other parties with understanding
and perfect objectivity?
We. who differ from every people and language, who maintain with
unique stubborness our peculiar customs, ethics, beliefs and habits, and who
have refused for hundreds of years to give up to renounce the irritating and
suspicious difference that discriminates between us and the peoples amongst whom
we are settled, Yet we assume that that others will empathize with us,
will satisfy our wants, will accept us with love and brotherhood. If they do not
do so. we are angry and warn of their bad heartedness and lack of understanding,
their evil nature and poor character.
Do we really fail to understand that every nation designs their
life style out of their own needs and wishes -- and the framework of their
existence and relations result from their historical reality, and it is not to
be imagined that these will try to adapt themselves to the existence and
mentality of the universal exception called "Judaism." Our enemy is not
the wickedness of the gentiles that we call anti-Semitism -- but our peculiar status
that does not suit the framework of normal life of the nations of the world, and
what is anti-Semitism that we should complain of it? Our existence as Jews is
threatened, and hatred of Jews increases in the world, not when gentiles
become more wicked to us -- but when the requirements of the peoples amongst
whom we are settled can only be satisfied by changes in the political, social or
economic structure that do not suit our peculiar existence as a Jewish
minority that seeks to maintain its connection with the Jewish people and assure
its national future.
Our problem is not posed by anti-Semitism. The trends and laws
of development of the peoples amongst we dwell are not subservient to the needs
of Israel - That are peculiar needs of a people unlike any other in the world,
and there is no logical or ethical reason to demand that the world adapt
its way of life, ways of thinking, and state policies to the needs of a
scattered and separated minority that is unexampled in history, rather than to
the requirements of the majority peoples, that are concentrated in their own
countries and based upon accepted universal principles that are similar in all
The existence of the Jewish people without a state is
We shall be different from all peoples -- as each nation differs
from others. But in order to be different we must be -- and we shall not be if we do not have a state.
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