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Post "Next Year in Jerusalem," not Madagascar
Created by John Eipper on 11/08/18 2:43 AM

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"Next Year in Jerusalem," not Madagascar (Istvan Simon, USA, 11/08/18 2:43 am)

With all due respect to John Heelan, he asks questions of "neo-Zionists," whatever that means, and in my view his questions are offensive. Frankly, it is no different than Marie Antoinette saying "let them eat cake" or making a remark like "the rich and the poor are equally entitled to live under a bridge."

I am not a Zionist, and I do not live in Israel. But contrary to John Heelan, I understand those who do.

Metaphorically John Heelan should walk a mile in Jewish shoes before making criticisms of those who did not want to live in say Madagascar. An offer, which by the way, was never made by the people of Madagascar, but their murderers in Europe.

The history of Jews in the last 2,000 years is one of a sea of tears imposed by others. In almost every land where Jews were forced to live, they were eventually savagely persecuted, murdered, or at best given the option to either be tortured to death or convert, as in the Spanish Inquisition. The excuses for why they were singled out to be murdered varied. The means by which they were murdered also varied. But the fact that they were in every generation murdered did not. It is this history that created Zionism, and John Heelan's apparent lack of sympathy or understanding of this history is very much part of the problem, not the solution.

Every Jewish family of the Diaspora for thousands of years greeted the Passover with the phrase, "Next Year in Jerusalem." The connection of Jews to Israel have long-lasting deep roots. Once again it explains why many Jews desired to return to Israel, not to Madagascar.

John also said: "In my view, there can never be peace in the Middle East until Israel ceases to demand the Eretz Israel borders remaining as they are, until Hamas changes its stated objective of eliminating Israel, and until Iran and Saudi Arabia stop stirring this witches brew."

I agree partly. The following clarifies this further.

First I disagree with John's first premise. Israel will never cease to demand borders that are internationally recognized by all, including the Arab States. So if John really thinks what he wrote, it implies that there never will be peace. However, I do not believe that to be the case.

I asked this question of a Palestinian merchant in Jerusalem. I asked: in your opinion what is the percentage of Palestinians who want peace with Israel? The merchant, who lived in Bethlehem, and came every day to his shop to sell his wares in Jerusalem, did not directly respond, but said most wanted peace. It was obvious that he was one who wanted peace. He had a direct economic interest in wanting peace. No peace, no income. An elegant beautiful young Muslim woman came into the shop, and the merchant asked her the same question. She said maybe 10%. She evidently did not want peace. I did not voice my opinion, but it is evident that if you do not want peace, you shall have war. I also asked an Israeli soldier the same question. He said, I have many Palestinian friends. 80% are fed up with Hamas and want peace.

Israel will not cease to exist, will defend itself against terrorism and aggression, and is self-reliant. I do not support Prime Minister Netanyahu's many policies, but Netanyahu is not Israel and may not even be Prime Minister for very much longer. I believe that anyone who visits Israel with a fair mind, will see a remarkable free, modern, technologically advanced multi-ethnic democratic state, that learned to live better with unending terrorism than any other country I know of, and nonetheless created an admirable little country largely at peace despite efforts to destroy it, and which will undoubtedly endure no matter what its belligerent neighbors throw at it in the future.

Finally, John Heelan said incorrectly that I dismissed the Palestinian exodus as a myth. No John, I did not dismiss it as a myth, I acknowledged explicitly the Palestinian exodus. What I said was a myth are the causes for that exodus, which were not what the Palestinians and the Arab countries say it is.

John's citation of the UNRWA web site does not contradict what I have written in the slightest. It confirms it.

JE comments:  Who can walk us through the "alternate Israels" that were proposed over the years?  Wasn't the Madagascar "solution" actually the brainchild of the Nazis?  There were also attempts to create Jewish colonies in the Argentine Pampa.

Istvan, I believe your are in Colombia at present.  Your thoughts/impressions?


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  • History's "Alternate Israels": Angola (Mendo Henriques, Portugal 11/09/18 3:09 AM)
    JE asked about the "alternate Israels" that were proposed over the years.  (See Istvan Simon, 8 November.)

    The idea of a colonization of parts of Portuguese Angola through the relocation of tens of thousands of Jews dates back to the second half of the nineteenth century.


    After the 1910 proclamation of the Republic in Portugal, the Chamber of Deputies unanimously approved on June 15, 1912, the "Manuel Bravo Project," which provided for the granting of 60 to 100 hectares of land to Jewish immigrants. Despite final approval in the Senate, a year later (June 29, 1913), the project never materialized. A detail was missing: in order to become law, the project needed to be submitted to an approval by both chambers.


    On the eve of World War II, in the face of an ever-decreasing number of states willing to absorb a growing number of Jewish refugees increasingly impoverished, the colonization of Angola became even more appealing. One of the most prominent voices in this process was the American press magnate, William R. Hearst. who wrote about an homeland for dispossessed or persecuted Jews in the San Francisco Examiner, 20 November 1938.


    After the pogroms of November 1938, he defended the delivery of former German colonies to Jews who had fled from Germany; the territory should be expanded by the incorporation of Belgian Congo and the Portuguese Colonies of Angola and Mozambique. This Israeli territory on African soil would correspond to about half the area of the United States and would permit the formation of a new political superpower in Africa. The territories could be acquired in exchange for "cash or other concrete advantages."


    This proposal provoked a reaction from the Portuguese consul in San Francisco, Jordão Mauricio Henriques, actually my grandfather. In his communiqué to the press, in The Monitor 3 December 1938, my grandfather emphasized the official position of the Portuguese government, that colonies were not on sale since they formed with the mother nation, Portugal, an indivisible whole with reciprocal interests and moral affinities.


    The debate went on and it reached the British Parliament where a certain Cazalet M.P. proposed the colonization of Angola by Jewish refugees. It provoked an uproar in Portugal and the debate went on and on. It was good for my grandfather because his firm reaction brought him a promotion to Consul at São Paulo, Brazil and then first general Consul at Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian Capital.


    You can see more about this issue in "Portugal e os refugiados judeus provenientes do território alemão (1933-1940)," by Ansgar Schaefer. Coimbra: Imprensa da Universidade de Coimbra, 2014.


    JE comments:  This is fascinating history, Mendo--I've said before that the very best WAIS posts mix the historical-international and the personal.   Dare I say the chances are very good your grandfather met Ronald Hilton in his early Stanford days?  Did you have the chance to discuss this possibility with Prof. H?

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