ERIC HOFFER, 38 YEARS LATER

Alan S.: ‘Look when this was written – 1968! Do you remember Eric Hoffer? He was a longshoreman turned social philosopher. Not Jewish. He died in 1983, aged 81, after writing nine books and winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Here is one of his columns from 1968.’

ISRAEL’S PECULIAR POSITION by Eric Hoffer (LA Times 5/26/68)

The Jews are a peculiar people: things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews.

Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it, Poland and Czechoslovakia did it, Turkey threw out a million Greeks, and Algeria a million Frenchman. Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese-and no one says a word about refugees.

But in the case of Israel the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single Arab. Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis. Other nations when victorious on the battlefield dictate peace terms. But when Israel is victorious it must sue for peace.

Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world. Other nations when they are defeated survive and recover but should Israel be defeated it would be destroyed. Had Nasser triumphed last June [1967] he would have wiped Israel off the map, and no one would have lifted a finger to save the Jews. No commitment to the Jews by any government, including our own, is worth the paper it is written on.

There is a cry of outrage all over the world when people die in Vietnam or when two Blacks are executed in Rhodesia. But when Hitler slaughtered Jews no one remonstrated with him. The Swedes, who are ready to break off diplomatic relations with America because of what we do in Vietnam, did not let out a peep when Hitler was slaughtering Jews. They sent Hitler choice iron ore, and ball bearings, and serviced his troop trains to Norway.

The Jews are alone in the world. If Israel survives, it will be solely because of Jewish efforts. And Jewish resources. Yet at this moment Israel is our only reliable and unconditional ally. We can rely more on Israel than Israel can rely on us. And one has only to imagine what would have happened last summer [1967] had the Arabs and their Russian backers won the war to realize how vital the survival of Israel is to America and the West in general.

I have a premonition that will not leave me; as it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us.

Should Israel perish the holocaust will be upon us.

MORE ON STRINDBERG

Yaakov Har-Oz: ‘I’m going to keep it down to two points: (1.) Anders Strindberg claims that, ‘Since its withdrawal of occupation forces from southern Lebanon in May 2000, Israel has violated the United Nations-monitored ‘blue line’ on an almost daily basis.’ I don’t know what reports he is relying on – he quotes ‘UN reports’ without giving any detail – but he does give one and only one concrete example, claiming that earlier this year ’15-year-old shepherd Yusuf Rahil was killed by unprovoked Israeli cross-border fire as he tended his flock in southern Lebanon.’ Did you happen to Google Yusuf Rahil? I did. It got 67 hits. All but one were cites to various versions of Strindberg’s article on the Web! (The 67th, tellingly enough, was a cite to a character in a movie.) It’s a bit hard to believe that this event actually happened, but wasn’t reported on anywhere. (2.) You suggest that the land should have been purchased. Ummm . . . much of it was. According to the Survey of Palestine of 1946, more than 70% of the land (pre-1967) was owned by the British Mandate, which was the successor to the Turkish Ottoman occupiers. (Most of this devolved to Israel after 1948 and the remainder became Gaza and the West Bank.) Land in the area now known as Israel owned by Jews amounted to some 8.6%. Land owned by Arabs who left the country amounted to 16.5%, and owned by Arabs who remained 3.3%.’

EXECUTING 11 YEAR OLDS

‘Gays flee Iraq as Shia death squads find a new target,’ reads the headline.

 

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