Open Letter to Acting Prime Minister Ehud Barak

Article excerpt

11 December 2000 (by direct FAX)

Churchill's forebodings after Hitler annexed Austria (House of Commons, 24 March 1938) are pertinent today for Israel. Only a few words need be modified to describe the present danger to the "State of Israel" and the "Jewish people," as the year 2000 draws to a close and Israel prepares for new elections. Here are Churchill's inimitable words on that grim occasion:

      "I have watched this famous island descending incontinently, fecklessly,
   the stairway which leads to a dark gulf. It is a fine broad stairway at the
   beginning, but after a bit the carpet ends. A little farther on there are
   only flagstones, and a little farther on still these break beneath your
   feet ... if mortal catastrophe should overtake the British Nation and the
   British Empire, historians a thousand years hence will still be baffled by
   the mystery of our affairs. They will never understand how it was that a
   victorious nation, with everything in hand, suffered themselves to be
   brought low, and to cast away all that they had gained by measureless
   sacrifice and absolute victory -- gone with the wind!

      "Now the victors are the vanquished, and those who threw down their arms
   in the field and sued for an armistice are striding on to world mastery.
   That is the position -- that is the terrible transformation that has taken
   place bit by bit. I rejoice to hear from the Prime Minister [Neville
   Chamberlain] that a further supreme effort is to be made to place us in a
   position of security. Now is the time at last to rouse the nation. Perhaps
   it is the last time it can be roused with a chance of preventing war, or
   with a chance of coming through to victory should our efforts to prevent
   war fail. …