Magazine article The Spectator


Magazine article The Spectator


Article excerpt

Zionism and the Holocaust From Farrel Lifson

Sir: I read Geoffrey Wheatcroft's `The Jewish answer?' (14/21 December) with great interest. Mr Wheatcroft goes into great detail to document Jewish secular and religious objections to the formation of a Jewish state, but curiously all his objections come to a screeching halt in the period before the second world war. Mr Wheatcroft, it seems, has totally neglected the immense impact that the Holocaust had on Jewish opinion and thought. Indeed, he mentions the Holocaust only once and even that is a quotation from another writer.

What Mr Wheatcroft fails to discuss is the reality which the Holocaust so cruelly unveiled to the Jews of Europe. While the Jews were engrossed in a mission of `Weltburgertum', the simmering anti-Semitism that had been building up since the Tsars unleashed their pogroms in the early 20th century came to a rapid and murderous peak under the rule of the German Nazi party. The speed at which the native populations in countries like Poland, Hungary and Lithuania turned on their Jewish neighbours, willingly handing them over to the Nazi occupiers, demonstrated that in many communities where Jews assumed they were accepted, they were merely tolerated.

This was the fundamental turning point in the Jewish psyche - the realisation that no matter how hard you try to fit in you will forever be labelled a Jew, unsafe in your own land of birth. What survivor of the Holocaust would return to the country that had just tried to exterminate him? How could one fully trust any government again? It was with this horrendous event that Jewish thought returned to Zion, for a homeland, and most of all for genuine self-determination and safety - not the fragile cocoon that Europe had offered and then subsequently crushed.

Farrel Lifson

University of Cape Town, South Africa From Dr Azzam Tamimi

Sir: I commend Geoffrey Wheatcroft for his courage and well-informed position. However, I would like to draw his attention to a missing factor in his piece - namely the other victims of Zionism, the Palestinians. While seeking to drive Jews out of their own homes in Europe in order to accomplish its political ambition, Zionism had no concern whatsoever for the population of Palestine - Muslim and Christian Arabs - some of whom are descendants of the Canaanites, some, of the Israelites, and some of various peoples that conquered and inhabited the land over the past four millennia or so.

One of the myths created and propagated by the Zionists over the years was that Palestine was a land without a people for a people without a land. The very reason why the bloodshed in Palestine has not ceased since Israel was created is that Palestine has always been inhabited by its own people, the Palestinians. Conversely, the majority of Israel's Jews today have dual nationality because they had, and still have, an original homeland. What choices have the Palestinians been left with? Either salute the invaders of their land, give up their legitimate rights and search for another homeland elsewhere, or do what every other people in the history of humanity has done: put up a resistance and wage a struggle for freedom and justice, and go down in history as an honourable and dignified people.

Azzam Tamimi Director, Institute of Islamic Political Thought, London NW2

Ode to the Euro-Schmucks From Mr Herb Greer

Sir: As an American living in England, I should like to offer your readers my Ode to the Guardian, the Independent, the Daily Mirror and certain schmucks here and in Europe who - a year and more after 9/11 - are sneering at Bush and the war against terror, and lauding Saddam.

Priapic postscript From Mr John Clay

Sir: There is more to add to James Delingpole's review of David M. …

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