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Why Must America be Israel's Sole Hope?
Last uploaded : Wednesday 26th Jun 2002 at 00:30
Contributed by : The Editor



Maybe I am very naive or even stupid, but since I was a child I have had a problem with the huge amount of support given to Israel by the United States. Before you run to your e-mail to accuse me of being anti-Zionist, read on.

For the past one thousand years, the most heinous acts against Jews have been perpetrated in Christian Europe. The infamous Blood Libel originated in England with the William of Norwich and Hugh of Lincoln fabrications. Both fictions led to the slaughter of Jews and their ultimate expulsion from Britain in 1290, their readmittance only occurring under Cromwell in the late seventeenth century.

The words ‘Inquisition,’ ‘Pogrom’ and ‘Genocide’ connote crimes against humanity. Christian clergy will argue that all three have their origins in the Hebrew Bible. I assert that they were invented by Europeans and have been used almost exclusively against Jews.

The history of Europe and its Jews, culminating in the Holocaust, is the ugliest of any group of humankind against any other. The overwhelming majority of communities, as far afield as Greece and as near to civilised Britain as the Channel Islands, cast a blind eye to the mass deportations that, the Nazis assured them, would eventually lead to Judenrein --a world free of Jews. In the Middle East the Grand Mufti allied himself with Hitler and was largely successful in rallying the Arab world to the concept of Judenrein.

Then there is America. Looking at the history of the United States, I can see no instances since William Penn and the pilgrim fathers landed in the mid-seventeenth century, that would indicate any fervent campaigns to kill, torture and otherwise disenfranchise Jews. There have been numerous ugly moments in American history – Thomas Edison’s attitude towards Jews inadvertently led to the birth of Hollywood as we know it today because he objected to the early ‘foreign born’ moguls setting up nickelodeon houses in New York. (The Messrs Mayer, Goldwyn et al went west and the rest is – truly --history.)

My own family prospered and lived in total freedom in the American South as they would never have hoped to have lived in the Czars’Pale of Settlement or even in nineteenth century Britain. Europeans love to throw slavery at me as one of America’s crimes, but I like to look at the Civil War as a magnificent assertion of human rights by the millions of Northern citizens and troops who took up arms against the Confederacy for the cause of Abolition. Whilst Europe was mired in decades of selfish strife and war, America came out of the Civil War intact and a better nation; though it would take a century to fully enact the freedoms envisaged by Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address, the United States was not starting world wars.

The Great War and World War II were perpetrated by Europe. How interesting that an American, Woodrow Wilson, would bring the warring parties to the recognition of a need for a peacemaking body – the League of Nations – and that another American, Franklin Roosevelt, would lead his country out of the Great Depression without one ounce of blood being shed. (Those who love to throw the book at me about the evils of America might like to reflect on the fact that had Europe and Japan adopted Roosevelt’s ingenious Depression New Deal programmes encompassing TVA,WPA and other ground-breaking social reforms, the recent history of the world might have been very different indeed.)

Yes, I hear you saying, ‘But is was irresponsible American greed that dragged the rest of the world into the Great Depression..’ and I will listen, but did the Depression produce Black shirts, Brown shirts, Storm troopers or kamikaze pilots in America when they started to emerge from its deprivations? I think not.

When starving and tortured refugees from Hitler’s Hell tried to make their way to Palestine, the British forced their ships to turn back. Citizens of scores of countries happily turned in their neighbours – Jewish doctors, lawyers, professors – without remorse. The United States does not have a virtuous record, either, during the Shoah: It has, however, repaid a thousandfold its misdemeanours in that dark chapter of Jewish history. No doubt its massive support for Israel is a militarily strategic necessity, but its less-than-admirable behaviour during the Holocaust has been, in my view, negated by its staunch alliance with the Jewish State since its birth in 1948.

Not so Europe.

Here is where I get to my point: if there ever existed a continent that owes a fortune in remorse to the Jews it is Europe and the former Soviet Union. When I was little, I would nag my parents about why the Jews weren’t given Europe to build a new Jewish State. I would be told that the very idea of Jews returning to the location of Hitler’s crematoria was too obscene to contemplate. Being a persistent type, I nagged some more: but if we nuked Japan, why didn’t we nuke the Germans? Again, my parents reminded me of the thousands of Jewish refugees who would also have been incinerated...

So, if Europe was to blame for the knowing, deliberate and large-scale plan to rid the world of Jews, should Europe not be Israel’s number one ally and supporter? If the USA did not start World War II and did not perpetrate the Shoah, why must its taxpayers alone shoulder the burden of Israel’s survival? As the BBC's Stephen Sackur observed tonight, 'The USA is Israel's only ally.'

I find this shameful.

Right now, and throughout the past eighteen months, British and continental European writers have been in a frenzy alleging Israel’s crimes against humanity. Having been a peacenik waving my banners in Israel during Oslo, I still have twinges of despair when I see tanks re-entering Gaza. However, here come Denmark, Sweden and Norway responding with hysterical, terrifyingly hostile boycotts of Israeli goods. (The new generation of Danes obviously has a short memory or no education in history at all: it was the King of Denmark who, during the German occupation in the second World War, inspired his entire nation to wear yellow Stars of David when the Nazis demanded that Danish Jews wear the Star.) A major translation academy in Britain has dismissed two Israeli scholars from its Board. Sound familiar?

Instead of condemning Israel and engaging in perpetual diatribes against the tiny Jewish State, Europe should be taking a leading role in the war on terrorism. Europe should be doing everything it can to stop the fifty-four year misery of Arab animosity towards the small community of progressive, cultured Jews who tried to bring dynamic democracy to their feudal world.

Instead, Europeans – of feudal descent themselves --feel more comfortable siding with the oppressors and killers of Jews. I find this abhorrent and disturbing. A continent – and I include Stalin’s Russia in this collective entity – that waged two World Wars, a Holocaust and Purges – not to mention Japan and its own legacy of cruelty – still feels that it is acceptable to detest Jewish lawyers, doctors, university professors – except this time, they are Israelis. Instead of talking to Sharon, he is accused in a Belgian Court of war crimes, whilst Robert Mugabe is wined and dined in that same continent of Europe. Sharon’s hard-line policies are deplorable to many, but a boycott of the Jewish State whilst its citizens are being slaughtered in the streets is an ugly, spiteful and medieval tactic. I am dismayed and disheartened.

To accompany this article, please read ‘Why America Loves Israel’ in our archive. Your comments on the European attitude towards Israel are invited.

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