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Emet m'Tsiyon

Monday, December 03, 2012

Another Broken Promise Made to Jews -- Part I

Anti-Zionism is the anti-imperialism of fools
Eliyahu m'Tsiyon

When fascism comes to Americaq, it will be
called anti-fascism, ascribed to Huey Long

Thursday's UN General Assembly vote to recognize the Arab  political entity in Judea-Samaria as a "non-member observer state" at the UN is not "historic" in the sense of something new. Rather it is  merely the last in a long series of violations of commitments made to Jews and the Jewish state of Israel by Western and Arab and Muslim powers. This international inclination was already at work in the 19th century when various new states created by the Congress of Berlin [1878] promised to treat their Jewish populations with respect and equality. Well, that was the 19th century. Did the 20th century change this tendency to betray Jews and the promises made to them? Of course not, The Bolsheviks who took over the Russian Empire in 1917 vowed to grant Jews equal rights in their new Soviet empire and to fight antisemitism. Did they keep their word? Stalin who assumed absolute power in the state by 1930 violated his promise of course, although he was capable of denouncing antisemitism intelligently to foreign journalists and sympathizers of the Soviet Union. By the late 1930s, Stalin's rival Trotsky denounced antisemitism in the USSR itself [in an interview with the Yiddish-language Jewish Daily Forward of New York] which he still considered  a "workers state." That is, Trotsky still viewed the USSR positively from his viewpoint.

Now let's look at the promises made and broken to Jews concerning the Land of Israel. In 1920, the San Remo Conference assigned the Land of Israel to the Jews as the Jewish National Home. The League of Nations endorsed this position in 1922, based on the historic connection of the Jews to the Land. The League also confirmed that Britain was to be the power entrusted by the League to foster development of the Jewish National Home according to the Mandate, a document of 28 articles, including "close settlement by Jews on the land" [Article 6]. It is clear that the Jewish National Home status applied to  the historic Land of Israel on both sides of the Jordan, just as the Roman Province of Judea stretched over both sides of the Jordan. Yet in that same year, 1922, the British cut off Transjordan --the area east of the Jordan-- from Jewish settlement, albeit Article 25 of the Mandate gave the UK the authority to postpone application of the Mandate's provisions east of the Jordan "with the consent of the Council of the League. . ." I am not aware that the UK ever asked for the League Council's consent. In any event, early in the history of the Mandatory government of the country, the British were restricting Jewish immigration [`aliyah] and promoting anti-Jewish Arabs --such as Haj Amin el-Husseini-- at the expense of the Jews.

The culmination of British betrayal came in 1939 with issuance of the  "Palestine White Paper." This new policy, found in violation of Britain's mandate from the League of Nations by the League's Permanent Mandates Commission, was a unilateral cancellation of the Jewish National Home, the purpose of the mandate. The White Paper limited Jewish immigration into the country to 15,000 per year for the next five years. After that the Arab majority --led by the Nazi sympathizer, Haj Amin el-Husseini-- was to govern the country and future Jewish immigration would require Arab agreement. Now 1939 was precisely a year in which tens of thousands --if not hundreds of thousands-- of Jews were trying to flee the countries already controlled or occupied by the Nazi Germans for lands of refuge. Haim Weizmann, the Zionist leader, said that the world was divided into countries where Jews could not live and countries where Jews could not enter. So Britain, with Arab approval and encouragement, was denying Jews refuge in the internationally designated Jewish National Home. Moreover, although the White Paper --on paper-- stipulated that 15,000 Jews per year could enter the country, this quota was not even filled in the war years, during the Holocaust years.  Even worse, British diplomats in southern European countries used their influence to prevent Jews from leaving those countries by ship or small boat in order to escape the Nazis. Nor did the British state radio, the BBC, even report the Holocaust until it was well under way.  Hence, when the Jews most needed a home, Britain, abetted by the Arabs, denied it to them. This justifies calling the UK "a silent partner" in the Holocaust.

Britain has never apologized for or asked forgiveness for its acting as a Holocaust "silent partner," unlike France. French presidents Jacques Chirac & Francois Hollande both apologized for the Vichy French government's role in facilitating the Holocaust in France.  Yet the apology doesn't seem to have done much good in view of France's current support for the genocidal Arab statelet or semi-state of "palestine," which just the other day was recognized by the UN General Assembly as a state, although it does not fit the criteria for a state as enunciated in the Montevideo convention. Again, the UK has never acknowledged its Holocaust role. Whereas France under Vichy was violating its ostensible principles of freedom, equality and brotherhood by betraying the Jews in France, the UK was violating its formal commitment to foster the Jewish National Home made to the League of Nations.

SOURCES -- Partial List
R. Ainsztein, "New Light on Szmul Zygelbojm's Suicide," Yad Vashem Bulletin [August 1964- Jerusalem]
Martin Gilbert, Exile and Return: The Struggle for a Jewish Homeland [Philadelphia: Lippincott 1978]
William R Perl, The Four-Front War: From the Holocaust to the Promised Land [New York: Crown 1979]
Bernard Wasserstein, Britain and the Jews of Europe, 1939-1945 [Oxford: Clarendon 1979].
David S Wyman, The Abandonment of the Jews [New York:: Pantheon 1985]
William Ziff, The Rape of Palestine [1938]

To Be Continued with Part II


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