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Israel and the Holocaust - it is time to forget the myth

04/02/2005

Many people hold the view that Israel was created because of the Holocaust. It is a view that is impossible to prove or disprove, because you cannot re-run the film of history without the Holocaust and see what would have happened.

Americans are correct in believing that the Holocaust helped to win US and world support for the UN partition plan in 1947. The 250,000 Jewish Displaced Persons in Europe and the Holocaust figured largely in the public debate and in the Report of the Anglo American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine of 1946. However, that does not mean that there would never have been a state of Israel were it not for the Holocaust, or that the world did not previously recognize the right of the Jews to a national home (though not necessarily a state). The right of the Jews to a national home was declared in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine given to Great Britain.

However, as historian Tom Segev points out in his book about the British Mandate, "One Palestine Complete," Zionists had envisioned European Jews as the mainstay of the Jewish state. Mass immigration of European Jews was prevented first by the Russian revolution, then by the British White Paper of 1939, and finally by the Holocaust.

The myth of the state that was born from the Holocaust has again been challenged by Sever Plocker, writing in the mass circulation Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth. Plocker wrote:


The Holocaust only re-validated Zionism's basic assumptions, whereby the Jews are a nation living in the Diaspora among other nations that despise them, to some extent or another, and that seemingly "harmless" anti-Semitism can escalate into murderous pogroms.

The Holocaust was such a pogrom; its scale makes it a unique, but not deviant, event in the history of anti-Jewish hatred. Indeed, it was proceeded by numerous "minor" and "moderate" Holocausts and violent anti-Semitic outbursts across the globe.

However, the strongest argument for rejecting the claim the Holocaust produced Israel has to do with demographics.

... The number of European Jews in 1975 would reach some 18 million,and today the number would stand at about 33 million.

...
Indeed, the Europeans would not have accepted the existence of such huge Jewish minority amidst them, and the Jews, in turn, would not have agreed to the status of a minority devoid of national-sovereign rights.


If the Holocaust had never occurred, the mass immigration of European Jews to Palestine-Israel would have commenced in the 1950s, with the approval and encouragement of European governments, including the Soviet Union.


No Arab protest could have prevented this from happening: A Jewish state accepting millions of Jews from Europe would quickly become an acknowledged fact.


The Holocaust did not beget Israel; rather, the Holocaust almost foiled the country's establishment, by depleting the Jewish nation's resources, threatening its very existence, and creating a huge gap in Jewish demography.

...

It is noteworthy that neither Segev nor Plocker are identified with extremist views. Segev is often labeled a "new historian" of the type despised by Zionist extremists.

Of course, we cannot know if history would have happened that way, but we can't assume that without the Holocaust there would be no state. It is certainly a fact that once the British decided to leave Palestine, the issue was in the end to be decided by force. It would have made no difference what resolutions the UN might have made, because the UN lacked the will to enforce those resolutions. The Jews didn't fight off their attackers because of the Holocaust, but because they were being attacked.

It is time to leave the issue of the Holocaust and the creation of Israel behind. The world did not "owe" the Jews a state because of the Holocaust, nor was creation of the state of Israel a "punishment" inflicted on Palestinians for the sins of Europeans, nor do Israelis owe the world anything for the "favor" of have created Israel, any more that the USA or India might owe the world a "favor" for their creation. Self-determination is the right of every people, even if a third of them have not been murdered.

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000346.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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Replies: 2 comments

Ami,
After suffering through several op ed pieces in my local paper saying that, European guilt for the Holocaust that was repsonsible of the creation of Israel, your essay was welcome relief.
Thank you for saying what needed to be said .

Harlan

Posted by Harlan Baker @ 04/04/2005 12:30 AM CST

Logical and uncommon common sense.

Posted by Paul R. @ 04/06/2005 05:04 AM CST


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