مرکزی صفحہ International Journal Middle East Studies Dina Porat, The Blue and the Yellow Stars of David: The Zionist Leadership in Palestine and the...
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Reviews 325 Cohen's conclusions are that despite Truman's "ambivalent, and at times . . . even schizophrenic" attitudes towards Jews (which private papers reveal to have continued well into the 1940s), he ultimately played a key role in the founding of Israel because of the influence of Jewish friends and presidential advisers, the importance of the Jewish electoral vote, his underlying belief in the essential moral lightness of the Zionist cause, and his assessments of the U.S. national interest. Though Cohen himself does not draw the parallel, it is striking that much the same thing might have been said about Richard Nixon, who also combined strong support for Israel—based on both national interest and moral considerations—with a strong streak of personal anti-Semitism. In sum, while Cohen's overall arguments are not particularly new, they are well written and well developed and firmly grounded in new scholarship. Perhaps most importantly, they serve to remind us that American support for Israel has always been based on several foundations, perhaps the least important of which is the influence of "the Jewish lobby," and the most important of which are presidential, congressional, and public beliefs in the moral Tightness of Israel, especially by contrast with its enemies. Whether this bedrock moral support for Israel can survive the continuing Israeli intransigence in dealing with the Palestinians is another story. Department of Political Science State University of New York, Buffalo JEROME SLATER DINA PORAT, The Blue and the Yellow Stars of David: The Zionist Leadership in Palestine and the Holocaust, 1939-1945 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990). Pp. 343. This book presents an impressively researched and detailed account of the Yishuv's response to the Holocaust. It is accompanied by extensive and meticulously organized appendices: the detailed notes present a wealth of sources in addition to those mentioned in the body of the work, and the bibliography contains lists of ; archival sources, a list of interviews conducted by the author, collections of official documents and publications, memoirs, testimonies, speeches, essays, and letters, as well as a comprehensive list of major studies on the Holocaust. Students will find particularly useful both the biographical glossary with its biographies of the figures mentioned in the text and the chronology, the parallel layout of which juxtaposes the main events of the "final solution" and the corresponding events on the war's front lines. The text itself examines methodically and comprehensively the responses of the Yishuv to the evolving destruction of the European Jewry. It explores the political aspect of the response, and thus it deliberately limits its discussion to the activities of the Jewish Agency Executive (JAE), headed by Ben-Gurion, and to related political organizations. While the focus on political reactions excludes other social groups not necessarily engaged in the Yishuv's political life (e.g., intellectual and artistic circles and various ethnic segments of the Israeli society), the political aspect of this investigation, consistently maintained throughout the text, helps to evaluate the role of "the government of the state-in-themaking" against the larger context of the Jewish political response to the European catastrophe. In this respect Porat's study presents an interesting and illuminating companion piece to Leon Weliczker Wells's study, Who Speaks for the Vanquished? American Jewish Leaders and the Holocaust (Peter Lang, 1987), which raises similar issues in its investigation of the political responses to the European catastrophe made by American Jews. Porat identifies three aspects of the Yishuv's response: the channels of communication through which the JAE gained information about the catastrophe; the impact of this information 326 Reviews on JAE leadership within the Yishuv; the rescue efforts undertaken as the result of incoming information. Such a three-pronged approach entails certain redundancy. For instance, the matter of the allocation of the 29,000 unused immigration certificates for children is considered in the context of the Yishuv's mobilization to absorb refugees in Palestine (p. 74), then again in connection with the plans made to save Jews in Europe (p. 149), and a third time in the statistical summary of rescued children (p. 229). In view of the author's attempt to explore all the ramifications of the response, some overlapping seems unavoidable. For the most part, however, the discussion is concisely presented. The shift in meaning of the term "Shoah" in the war years, as demonstrated in the first part of the study, leads to the heart of the matter. In the late 1930s it referred to a disastrous pogrom; after that the word gradually came to signify an unprecedented, unexpected, and unavoidable catastrophe of global dimensions. According to the author, this transformation of meaning helps us to understand the "emerging apologetic mechanism of the Yishuv" in its attempt to account for its failure to meet the challenge of rescue. Yet, the Yishuv was well informed about the forthcoming disaster. Refugees, emissaries, and even Yishuv members who somehow escaped from Europe all concurred in the specific and reliable depiction of the inexorably worsening situation of European Jewry. Porat suggests that the inability of the Yishuv to respond decisively and resourcefully to the situation is grounded in its multifaceted political insecurity. The ambivalence toward the British who fought against the Nazi aggressor and, at the same time, barred the entrance of Jews to Palestine was cogently encapsulated in Ben-Gurion's famous declaration: "We must fight the war as if there were no White Paper and we must fight the White Paper as if there were no war." But the war against the White Paper often took the form of appeasement and thus the inactivity of the Yishuv's leadership vis-a-vis Europe can, to some extent, be explained by the fear that disobeying the British, who were unwilling to do anything for the Jews in Europe, could be detrimental to the uncertain future of the Jewish state. The indecisiveness of the Yishuv was intensified by the continuous infighting among the various political factions, especially among the Mapai, the Revisionists, and Agudat Israel. The internal struggle to rescue European Jews assumed a particularly painful dimension: it highlighted the inner division between the Zionists and the non-Zionists. Those who insisted (incorrectly) that only members of the Zionist movement forcefully resisted the Nazi aggressor, while the other Jews "went like lambs to the slaughter," demanded that the Zionists be rescued first. This ideological argument was underscored by a practical one, namely that the Yishuv needed Zionists who could contribute to the enormous task of building the state. For the JAE under Ben-Gurion's leadership, the interests of the Jewish state constituted the ultimate political and ideological priority. This segregational attitude becomes painfully ironic in view of the fact that the Zionist leaders in Europe consistently refused to be rescued. As documented in this study, their heroic decision to remain in Europe reflected an intense feeling of solidarity with other Jews doomed to destruction. The European Zionists' conscious decision to face certain death points to the Israeli Zionists' failure to face a challenge that surpassed all political considerations and interests, a failure that has evoked a pervasive sense of guilt. In the curious way, the self-sacrificial heroism of these acts of pure altruism also highlights what seems to me an incongruity between the aim of this study and the methodology employed to meet this aim. In the introduction, the author sets out to address the issue of guilt by answering a series of questions about the Yishuv's leadership involvement in the Holocaust. To resolve the Israeli trauma that "no uncontrollable impulse to make an extraordinary response in an extraordinary situation" was undertaken by the Yishuv, the author resorts to rigorous historical investigation. This investigation leads her to the conclusion that "possibly . . . [desperate] actions would have changed nothing" (p. 257) Reviews 327 regarding the fate of Jews in Europe. Thus, historical research is called upon to resolve a predicament of a psychological-ethical nature. It is historically correct to say that very little could have been done to save Jews in Europe. Yet, as Saul Friedlander notes in the foreword, the Israelis and, surprisingly enough, especially the postwar generation have an intensifying sense of unease regarding the Holocaust. The rationality of factual evidence seems to have provided little help in dealing with the effective problem of empathic failure. As a therapeutic act intended to free the Israelis from their guilt, this book does not— indeed cannot—fulfill its promise. As a factual account of the political responses of the Yishuv to the Holocaust, it is a definite contribution to the body of historical research on that catastrophe. Humanities Division RACHEL FELDHAY BRENNER York University Toronto, Canada EVERETT MENDELSOHN, A Compassionate Peace: A Future for Israel, Palestine, and the Middle East (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1989). Pp. 330. This revised edition of the American Friends Service Committee's (AFSC) 1982 visionary work on the nature of the conflict and the requirements for a just and lasting peace throughout the Middle East is welcome indeed. It is a work of extraordinary integrity and clarity, of accurate and well-balanced research and incisive analysis, and it is solidly grounded in the needs, aspirations, and interests of the human beings of the region (rather than in national, state, economic, or ideological interests). The value of the book resides not only in the quality of its research and analysis but also in the solutions it provides for seemingly intractable regional problems. A Compassionate Peace cuts through the multiple layers of disinformation, obfuscation, and misunderstanding that cloud Middle East issues and provides much needed enlightenment, especially on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (of which it demonstrates that peace is attainable and lays out the principles and path that are required), on U.S. policy in the region, and on the arms race. Additionally, there are good chapters on Lebanon, Iran, Afghanistan, and Soviet Middle East policy. It should be required reading for everyone— scholar, policy maker, participant, and observer—concerned with the Middle East. The AFSC's unflinching examination of Israel and the Palestinians illuminates the fact that "the missing element" to a solution is the lack of "political will to undertake the historic compromise necessary" (p. 3). The principles on which a solution is to be based are: self-determination for both Israelis and Palestinians including the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, mutual recognition, mutual security, and a sharing of Jerusalem involving . . . free movement about the entire city For the Israelis, this freedom is not at the sufferance of an Arab authority Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are under Palestinian, not Israeli, rule Jerusalem becomes the capital of both Israel and the West Bank-Gaza Palestinian state (p. 129). With regard to such a settlement, the report augments its 1982 analysis with a discussion of four linked and relevant events: the Intifada that began on 9 December 1987; Jordan's 31 July 1988 severance of ties with the West Bank; the November 1988 Palestine National Council meeting in Algiers (which declared an independent Palestinian state, renounced