Sunday, March 11, 2007

Chuchill to Jews: Assimilate and your troubles will stop.

In 1937, Britain's leader, Winston Churchill arrived at the same conclusion as Theodore Herzel:

For Jews to survive as a people, and to avoid antisemitism, they need to assimilate (while Herzel said they should just outright "convert".)

In a recently found article entitled, "How The Jews Can Combat Persecution", Churchill wrote about the Jews:

"The central fact which dominates the relations of Jew and non-Jew is that the Jew is 'different'.

"He looks different. He thinks differently. He has a different tradition and background. He refuses to be absorbed."

Though, as Herzel, Churchill wasn't specifically "targeting Jews", and he also praised them as "sober, industrious, law-abiding" and urged Britons to stand up for the race against persecution.

So as anti-Israel sentiment and antisemitism continue to race across Europe today, is the solution to remove one's kippa, and hunker down in the trenches to disguise one's Judaism?

I don't blame Churchill -- he was thinking "pragmatically".

Moving to Israel and building a Jewish State was such a "crazy" idea, that he probably didn't think it was viable.

It's still not viable today.

Yet we continue to survive anyway.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


Anonymous said...

Martin Gilbert spoke recently at the Jerusalem Book Fair. He recalled visiting Rishon leZion, where the mayor showed him records of the debate between elder and younger members on how to greet Churchill. The elders wanted to list challenges and problems. The young wanted the men to meet him on horseback at the entrance, with the ladies finely dressed to receive him in the center of the settlement. The young won the day, and Churchill later said the contrast between the complaints he heard from the Arab villages and the positive attitude he encountered at Rishon encouraged him in his advocacy for the yishuv.

[unsure if he refers to quote below]
"Anyone who has seen the work of the Jewish colonies . . . will be struck by the enormous productive results which they have achieved. I had the opportunity of visiting the colony of Rishon le-Zion . . . and there, from the most inhospitable soil, surrounded on every side by barrenness and the most miserable form of cultivation, I was driven into a fertile and thriving country estate, where the scanty soil gave place to good crops and then to vineyards and finally to the most beautiful luxurious orange groves, all created in 20 or 30 years by the exertions of the Jewish community who live there. . . . I defy anybody after seeing work of this kind, achieved by so much labour, effort and skill, to say that the British Government, having taken the position it has, could cast it all aside and leave it to be rudely and brutally overturned by the incursion of a fanatical attack by the Arab population from outside. . . . I am talking of what I saw. All round the Jewish colony the Arab houses were tiled instead of being built of mud, so that the culture from this centre has spread out into the surrounding district. . . ." Gilbert, "Churchill and Zionism," lecture... pp. 10-11

Anonymous said...

""For Jews to survive as a people, and to avoid antisemitism, they need to assimilate""

People don't understand. If we all assimilate, we won't survive because over time we would loose our identity and disappear, G-d forbid. Secondly, even if we blend in with the rest of society, the world will still hate because they'll still see us as Jews. And so we might as well stay who we are and be strong.

Gandalin said...

As the quote posted by cg shows, Churchill became a great friend of the Yishuv and supported the Zionist project. Had he not been turned out of power in favor of the anti-Semitic socialists in 1945, the history of the foundation of the State of Israel would have been different.

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