A Problem of All Humanity

(Ha'aretz) Tom Segev - On Jan. 22, 1942, the New York Times ran an editorial that rejected the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel. The immediate context was the idea of forming a Jewish brigade within the British Army. The Times based its objection, among other things, on the assumption that Jews did not need a state of their own, because once the Allies achieved a victory, they would be citizens with equal rights in their countries of residence, in accordance with the Atlantic Charter signed by the U.S. and Britain in August 1941. Moshe Shertok - who would later change his name to Sharett and serve as Israel's first foreign minister and second prime minister - submitted a lengthy response to the Times, the gist of which was that resolving the Jewish problem does not concern only Jews, but all of humanity. Anti-Semitism was not invented by Hitler, he wrote; indeed, the standing of the Jews in Europe had been steadily eroding over the previous 50 years. Democratic rule and human rights will be endangered as long as the Jews are not granted a country of their own, he added, and as long as they continue to serve as a target for demagogues who wish to sow suspicions and hatred between classes and peoples.

2010-01-08 08:42:12

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