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Benjamin Pogrund has written what is in many ways an excellent and sensitive little article in the Guardian about the Holocaust and Israel. It is in many ways excellent, except that he called it Why we are here. and that by way of introduction, he wrote a remark that was bound to be misconstrued: "The foundation of Israel was born out of the Holocaust."

Whenever someone relates the foundation of Israel to the Holocaust, it invites a chorus of anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic criticism, along with cries of "Why should the Palestinians pay for the crimes of the Europeans?" Inevitably, this was the predictable reaction of a part of the Guardian audience.

Israel indeed was founded in the ashes of the Holocaust. Our success is the best possible monument and memorial to all our beloved relatives who perished at the hands of the Nazis and of other persecutors in Europe and Asia over many centuries of exile. But the Holocaust is not the reason we are here, nor was it the reason that in 1922, the right of self-determination of the Jewish people was recognized in international law by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. My ancestors did not come here over a hundred years ago to found a Jewish commonwealth because of the Holocaust, and the state of Israel was not founded because of the Holocaust, but rather despite the Holocaust, as many have pointed out.

The reason we are here is that that Zionist movement recognized rightly that the Jews are a people, and that we should not be safe anywhere as long as we were a people without a land. Zionism predicted pogroms, catastrophes and holocausts that would result from the stateless condition of the Jews as long as that condition persisted. We are here despite the Holocaust, not because of it. The foundations of the Jewish state were laid by Zionists out of a correct analysis of the Jewish condition and the natural desire of our people for self-determination in our own land. The Holocaust only served to underline the deadly accurate nature of the Zionist analysis of history.

The Holocaust was a ghastly event and a crime against humanity. The Holocaust was not the defining event of Jewish identity or the Jewish people. It didn't create the Zionist movement. It is not the reason I am a Jew, and it is not the reason I live in Israel.

IDF chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazy is quoted as saying in the Auschwitz-Birkenau march:

I vow to uphold the responsibility of the Israel Defense Forces - never again to allow Jewish blood to be spilled in vain.

It is a noble sentiment, but it is not enough. The responsibility of the IDF is not simply to ensure that those who kill Jews pay a price, but rather to ensure the national existence of the Jewish people by defending our state, so there can never be another Holocaust.

Ami Isseroff

Original content is Copyright by the author 2008. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000534.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to ZNN-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.

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Replies: 2 Comments

Just adding a supplement to what Noga has said.




Dvar Dea, Friday, May 2nd

"Whenever someone relates the foundation of Israel to the Holocaust, it invites a chorus of anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic criticism, along with cries of "Why should the Palestinians pay for the crimes of the Europeans?"

In the Peel Commission Report of July 1937, one sentence distinguishes itself:

ĒConsidering what the possibility of finding a refuge in Palestine means to thousands of suffering Jews, is the loss occasioned by Partition, great as it would be, more than Arab generosity can bear?Ē

The statement was written in 1937, when the world was beginning to get wise to what was being planned for the Jews, but even so, the report can only imagine "thousands" of suffering Jews getting a lease on life if permitted to immigrate to Palestine.

The Arabs of Palestine, though addressed with the most explicit plea in the report for showing "generosity" to the persecuted Jews of Europe, existentially threatened, did not for a second consider this possibility and continued to mount their pressure on the British to seal the borders. When there was hardly a country in the world open to accept Jewish refugees fleeing from Hitler's ominous programmes, Mandate Palestine, which had been commissioned by The League of Nations to provide a safe haven for Jews, chose to close ranks with the Arabs and seal the borders, against the Jews.

The only place that would have welcomed these refugees and could have saved hundreds of thousands, if not millions of lives, joined the rest of the world's complicity in these crimes.

So the staple Palestinian argument is that they had no responsibility whatsoever for what happened to the Jews is invalid. They did. They bear at least the same responsibility as as every country that ever refused to accept Jews who were looking to get out of Europe.

Never mind Arab sympathies for Hitler as Matthias Kuntzel chronicled in his work :

"In the 1930s, the mufti of Jerusalem, Amin el-Husseini, rigorously courted the Nazis. When, in 1936, he launched his terror war against the Jewish Yishuv in the British controlled Palestine Mandate, he repeatedly asked the Nazis for financial backing, which began arriving in 1937." "From 1936-39 Husseini's terror army murdered 415 Jews. In later years, Husseini noted that were it not for Nazi money, his onslaught would have been defeated in 1937. His movement was imbued with Nazism. His men saluted one another with Nazi salutes and members of his youth movement sported Hitler Youth uniforms."


Noga, Friday, May 2nd

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