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How an anti-Semitic US law helped bring about Israel’s creation

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Shlomo Sand, a remarkable scholar who studies how “peoples,” including the Jewish people, have been invented through myths propagated by court historians and politicians, makes a starting yet obvious connection in his book The Invention of the Land of Israel (2014):

In fact, it was the United States’ refusal, between the anti-immigration legislation of 1924 and the year 1948, to accept the victims of European Judeophobic persecution that enabled decision makers to channel somewhat more significant numbers of Jews toward the Middle East. Absent this stern anti-immigration policy, it is doubtful whether the State of Israel could have been established. [Emphasis added.]

In the same book, Sand writes:

It is fair to say that the [British] Balfourian legislation of 1905 regarding foreigners, along with a similar law enacted two decades later in the United States that further toughened the terms of immigration (the Immigration Act of 1924, also known as the Johnson-Reed Act), contributed to the establishment of the State of Israel no less than the Balfour Declaration of 1917, and perhaps even more. These two anti-immigrant laws — along with Balfour’s letter to Rothschild regarding the United Kingdom’s willingness to view favorably “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,” … — lay down the historical conditions under which Jews would be channeled to the Middle East. [Emphasis added.]

Shlomo Sand, by Phil Weiss

According to the US Office of the Historian, “The Immigration Act of 1924 [Johnson-Reed] limited the number of immigrants allowed entry into the United States through a national origins quota. The quota provided immigration visas to two percent of the total number of people of each nationality in the United States as of the 1890 national census. It completely excluded immigrants from Asia…. In all of its parts, the most basic purpose of the 1924 Immigration Act was to preserve the ideal of U.S. homogeneity.” (The act was revised in 1952.)

In its intention and effect, the law, which passed the houses of Congress with overwhelming majorities, blocked people from Southern and Eastern Europe, Catholics, Arabs, and Jews. A. James Rudin writes:

The bill’s co-sponsor, U.S. Rep. Albert Johnson, R-Wash., said the law would block “a stream of alien blood, with all its inherited misconceptions…” from entering America. Sen. David Reed, R-Pa., the other co-sponsor, represented “those of us who are interested in keeping American stock up to the highest standard — that is, the people who were born here.” Southern and Eastern Europeans (many of them Catholics and Jews), he believed, “arrive sick and starving and therefore less capable of contributing to the American economy, and unable to adapt to American culture.”

Unsurprisingly, Hitler praised the act as model legislation for keeping a population racially pure.

For supporting material, see “Foundations of Holocaust: 1924, Congress Decides No More Jews” and “Trump’s Move to End DACA and Echoes of the Immigration Act of 1924.” From the latter: “The policy was so defiantly and arrogantly racist that, as James Q. Whitman, a professor at Yale Law School, writes in “Hitler’s American Model,” it earned praise from Adolf Hitler. ‘The American Union categorically refuses immigration of unhealthy elements, and simply excludes the immigration of certain races,’ Hitler wrote in ‘Mein Kampf [1925].’ This, he said, made the country a leader in preserving racial purity through immigration policy.”

All very well and good, you say, but how did the 1924 law — which is so relevant today — create, or help to create, the State of Israel? To answer this question, it must be recalled (if not learned) that in 1924 very few Jews had any interest in Palestine. The orthodox Jews, believing that God had expelled the Jews from the Holy Land (the Babylonian exile), thought it the height of impertinence for any mere mortal to decide when the Jews should return. That was up to God. They certainly were not going to take their lead from atheist so-called Jews from Eastern Europe, such as David Ben-Gurion. True, some old orthodox men went to the Holy Land to die (planning on resurrection later) or to await mashiach (messiah). But they did not seek the creation of a political entity — a Jewish State. That was the furthest thing from their minds. In Sand’s words, it was a Holy Land, not a Homeland. “Next year in Jerusalem” was not a statement from a political program. It was a messianic hope.

On the other hand, Reform Judaism was organized in opposition to the then-small Zionist movement, which in the Reform view was counterfeit, idolatrous “Judaism” in which (purported) blood and soil replaced God, Torah, and the universalism of the great prophets. Reform Jews explicitly rejected that they were part of a Diaspora. They believed that Judaism in fact represented a worldwide religious community comprising many different citizens of many different countries of many different cultures — not a distinct racial or ethnic entity. (“Jewish blood” was of interest only to anti-Semites.) Indeed, earlier Reform Jews would have opposed the formation of the State of Israel even had Palestine been a “land without a people” — which of course it was not.

As the Reform founders put in the Pittsburgh Platform (1885):

We consider ourselves no longer a nation, but a religious community, and therefore expect neither a return to Palestine, nor a sacrificial worship under the sons of Aaron, nor the restoration of any of the laws concerning the Jewish state.

Despite this deep opposition, the Zionist movement picked up steam, after World War II, ostensibly as a humanitarian project to resettle the displaced Jews of Europe. But this was merely a public-relations move, albeit a most effective one even for many Reform Jews. One must realize that Zionism was never a refugee project. Its intention was to “ingather” the whole of the Diaspora, especially those “Jews [in other lands who] are absorbed in sinful self-satisfaction,” to Palestine, the only place (so the Zionists preached) where Jews could be a “normal people.” (In portraying the Jew as an alien anywhere else — as an authentic Jew only in Israel — Zionism parroted the vilest views of the anti-Semites. Indeed, its leaders feared — ironically? — that without anti-Semitism and anti-assimilationism, there would be no Jews after a short while.)

Sand’s point is that Jews from Eastern Europe and other parts of Christendom — unlike most of their more-fortunate coreligionists in Islamic countries like Iraq — longed to move to America or, if not America, elsewhere in the West. Like his creator, the writer Sholom Aleichem, Tevye the dairyman in Fiddler on the Roof, takes his family not to Palestine but to “New York, America,” when the awful tsar expels the Jews from Anatevka, their shtetl in the Pale of Settlement in the Russian empire. (Tevye’s brother had previously moved to America.) His neighbor and almost-son-in-law, the butcher Lazar Wolf, is excited that they will be neighbors, for he is going to “Chicago, America.”

This attitude was and remained typical. For most Jews who left their homes (for whatever reason), Israel was the last “choice” and only when all other routes were blocked (including, for example, with the Soviet Jews, by Israel itself) or tax subsidies were offered to the poor. After the 1956 Suez Crisis, most Jews who left Egypt moved to the United States, Argentina, France, or Switzerland. Why is that? We know why.

If between the world wars, Sand is saying, the Jews of Christendom had been free to go to America, the Zionist movement would have had far too few people with which to fulfill its dubious dream.

But we can push this further. Could the Holocaust have occurred if Jews had been free to move to America in the interwar period? Remember that the Roosevelt administration turned away the German ship St. Louis, filled with nearly a thousand German Jews fleeing the Nazis, from Miami in 1939 under the strict immigration quotas signed into law 15 years earlier by Republican President Calvin Coolidge, beloved by a few libertarians for his putative devotion to limited government. “America must remain American,” Coolidge said when signing the bill.

Had the surviving Jews of Central and Eastern Europe not become displaced by the Nazis because they had been living safely in America since the 1920s, the campaign for a Jewish State in Palestine would have certainly flopped. Think about it: No UN General Assembly recommendation for partition. No Nakba. No Palestinian refugees. No policy- and politics-distorting “Israel lobby.” Perhaps no 9/11. It’s mind-blowing!

Not to put too fine a point on it, but we could blame someone else besides Coolidge: Woodrow Wilson. It was he who took the United States into World War I, setting the stage for the punitive “peace” treaty declaring Germany uniquely guilty for the war, the emergence of Hitler and his regime bent on vengeance for the indignity visited on the proud German nation, World War II, and the Holocaust.

Not a bad day’s work in the Oval Office. Let it sink in: without Wilson’s war, no Versailles Treaty; without the Versailles Treaty, no Hitler; without Hitler, no Holocaust; without the Holocaust, no State of Israel; without the State of Israel, well, you get the idea. I’m not saying everything today would be sweetness and light in the Middle East, of course. The Great Powers would have still wanted to control the oil, but the major source of strife and war in that region — not to mention immeasurable domestic political corruption — would not have materialized.

Blame aside, we may confidently say that the 20th century and beyond would have looked very different had America welcomed rather than scorned immigrants. What say you, Donald Trump?

This post first appeared on the Libertarian Institute site. 

Sheldon Richman

Sheldon Richman is executive editor of The Libertarian Institute; keeper of the blog Free Association (; former editor of The Freeman.

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40 Responses

  1. Boomer on June 1, 2018, 1:37 pm

    There was plenty of anti-Semitism around back then, but the law wasn’t just about excluding Jews. Calling it an “anti-semitic” law doesn’t communicate well what was going on. Racial thinking was indeed common at that time.. There was concern about social cohesion and economic factors as well.

    Many of the notions about race that were commonly accepted are now commonly regarded as pernicious, but some of the concerns about social cohesion are still discussed as legitimate issues among social scientists. Then too, after 1929, with the unprecedented unemployment of the Great Depression, concern about competition from foreigners was a factor supporting continued limitations.

    I’m not trying to sugar-coat the reality of that era, but it is well to remember it in context. Not many people outside Hitler’s inner circle were dreaming of mass genocide. So the law had a frankly racist element, but it wasn’t genocidal, nor all about Jews. Looking at the history, we can see that there was room for the U.S. to take more, but how many, and who was most entitled to accommodation at that time, may be complex questions.

    I’m no expert on the social science involved, but I suspect that modern societies with significant public welfare policies begin to encounter social pressures when the percentage of foreign born rise above a certain point. Where that point is, I can’t say, but I imagine that it changes over time as the society and economy change.

  2. just on June 1, 2018, 1:57 pm

    “In its intention and effect, the law, which passed the houses of Congress with overwhelming majorities, blocked people from Southern and Eastern Europe, Catholics, Arabs, and Jews.”

    So, it was not only “anti-Semitic”, was it? Sounds more as though it was massively and disgracefully xenophobic. They wanted Western Europeans and folks from the British Isles… eugenics was being practiced. A dismal part of US history.

    • JLewisDickerson on June 1, 2018, 3:38 pm

      RE: “America must remain American.” ~ Republican President Calvin Coolidge


      ▣ White Australia policy –

      A Tribe Called Red – The Road feat. Black Bear
      Published on Jul 27, 2013
      ATCR’s song “The Road” featuring Black Bear is on their album “Nation II Nation”

    • Emory Riddle on June 2, 2018, 8:59 am

      Always the victim. The only victim.

      • catalan on June 2, 2018, 10:10 am

        “Always the victim. The only victim” Emory
        They just play the victim but in fact they keep winning. BDS will change that because justice always prevails. Shakira rejecting them is the begginning of the end. I do my part as well – yesterday I had a craving for a latte at Starbucks but instead brewed the coffee at home (Yuban brand). Is Yuban allowed?

      • JLewisDickerson on June 4, 2018, 10:08 pm


        NOTES: Maple Syrup, Nougat, Citrus. (LIGHT ROAST)

        The 125 members of the Organica cooperative (Association de Productores Organicos del Cauca) are located outside the towns of Popayan, Piendamo, Tambo, and Timbio in the mountainous Cauca region of southern Colombia. This group has been organically certified since 2005 and the farms range in size from 1 to 20 hectares (1 hectare = 2.471 acres). This specific coffee lot comes from the 40 producers located in El Tambo. Over this last year Allegro has helped fund the work of agronomists for this sub-group to look at issues related to organic production capacity, organic pest management, organic compost building, and disease mitigation practices.
        LINK –,%20coffee,%20specialty-coffee,%20light%20roast,%20allegro-coffee-roasters,%20ACR

      • Mikhael on June 6, 2018, 7:19 pm

        Emory Riddle June 2, 2018, 8:59 am
        Always the victim. The only victim

        You wish. To your dismay, never again a victim, Giles/Uncle99b/oldjoe5.

      • Mooser on June 8, 2018, 11:35 am

        “You wish. To your dismay, never again a victim”

        Watch out for that kite!

  3. JLewisDickerson on June 1, 2018, 3:10 pm

    RE: One must realize that Zionism was never a refugee project. Its intention was to “ingather” the whole of the Diaspora, especially those “Jews [in other lands who] are absorbed in sinful self-satisfaction,” to Palestine, the only place (so the Zionists preached) where Jews could be a “normal people.” (In portraying the Jew as an alien anywhere else — as an authentic Jew only in Israel — Zionism parroted the vilest views of the anti-Semites. ~ Sheldon Richman

    The Dark Charisma Of Adolf Hitler

  4. JLewisDickerson on June 1, 2018, 7:25 pm

    RE: “How an anti-Semitic US law helped bring about Israel’s creation”


    Vol. 40 No. 10 · 24 May 2018 | The London Review of Books, pages 17-18 | 3027 words

    “The Two-State Solution: An Autopsy” | By Henry Siegman

    [EXCERPT] . . . According to this double standard, my people’s terrorism is sacred, but my neighbour’s terrorism is criminal. When my neighbour renames a street after his terrorist hero it proves he will continue his terrorism even after he achieves statehood, whereas when my country elects former terrorists as prime ministers (Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir) it proves we are the greatest democracy in the Middle East. When my terrorists are killed or imprisoned, a grateful people take care of their families. When my neighbours do the same, it proves they reward terrorism, and must be denied statehood. The point is not that states behave hypocritically – of course they do. The point is that when hypocrisy is the starting point of diplomacy, you will not get peace but only more hypocrisy and violence.

    American diplomats have always known this. The members of the US diplomatic corps who served in the Middle East during the more than half a century that I worked professionally on this subject were outstanding. They understood that, given the vast disparity of power between Israel and the Palestinians, without determined American intervention the outcome of the conflict would be entirely on Israel’s terms. But US politicians consistently undercut its diplomats by assuring Israel’s governments that even though the US objected to policies that violated previous agreements, international law and democratic norms, they would always have Israel’s back.

    And the US has had Israel’s back, and not only when Israel’s security was threatened; it has also scuttled Security Council resolutions that might have changed Israeli calculations about the costs of its permanent subjugation of the Palestinian people. America’s assurances convinced successive governments that they could safely turn their country into an apartheid state, a transformation that far-right governments headed by Netanyahu have now made a reality. US administrations have allowed this situation in part because of the unique vulnerability of American domestic politics to the pro-Israel lobby – unique because of America’s large and influential Jewish community and its even larger influential Christian evangelical community. More recently, alt-right and neo-Nazi elements that form the most loyal members of Trump’s base have joined this circle of supporters: they now see Israel’s embrace of a religiously defined national Jewish identity (replacing its previous status as ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’) as a validation of their own Christian, racist, fascist and white supremacist ideology. White supremacists can now join with Netanyahu in castigating Jewish critics of Israel’s xenophobic and far-right nationalistic policies as self-hating Jews. . .


    • Boomer on June 3, 2018, 4:05 pm

      re ““The Two-State Solution: An Autopsy” | By Henry Siegman

      Thanks for the quotation. Amazingly forthright. Perhaps noteworthy that it was published in the UK.

  5. Keith on June 1, 2018, 8:04 pm

    SHELDON RICHMAN- “How an anti-Semitic US law helped bring about Israel’s creation”
    “Foundations of Holocaust: 1924, Congress Decides No More Jews”

    Why, oh why, oh why? Why spoil an otherwise good article with blatant falsehoods? Congress didn’t decide “No More Jews,” and the immigration quotes were not “anti-Semitic.” They were racist in their intent to keep out Asians and restrict Eastern Europeans, and this undoubtedly had a disasterous effect on European Jews, most of whom would have been unable to immigrate in any event from a war torn Eastern Europe. However, to interpret this from a Judeocentric perspective as anti-Semitism while ignoring the impact on the millions of non-Jews impacted feeds the Zionist myth-history of never ending Gentile anti-Semitism. I provide a different perspective by quoting a former Mondoweiss commenter.

    “Jews were not restricted as Jews from immigrating to the US and they were the overwhelming majority of the immigrants arriving in the US from Germany during this time. Overall, from 1931-39, over 20% of all US immigrants were Jews, which was the highest Jewish percentage of any decade in US history. In 1939 alone, over 50% of ALL US immigrants were Jews.
    “It should also be noted that during the time of the US immigration quotas, Ukrainians, who were dying in the millions from the forced starvation of the Holodomor, were almost completely cut off from any immigration to the US. Poles, who were as a nation suffering from the Soviet Union’s Great Terror were also nearly completely cut off from US immigration, as were other Eastern and Southern Europeans. The majority of the Europeans who were victimized by the massive curtailment of US immigration opportunities that occurred in the 1920’s and onward were religiously Catholic or Eastern Orthodox.”

    • RoHa on June 1, 2018, 11:57 pm

      Keith, you are forgetting an important, basic, principle: the others don’t count.

      • Sheldonrichman on July 7, 2018, 11:59 am

        It seems presumptuous to infer that I don’t think that the others who were harmed counted. It is certainly not my position; I pointed out that Catholics and Arabs were also affected. But my focus on the Jews victims was appropriate given the article’s thesis. After all, Shlomo Sand sees that 1924 Act as critical to Israel’s creation. Do you think he believes that the non-Jews harmed by that law don’t matter? Let’s keep our heads and not judge people you don’t know by preconceived categories.

    • Citizen on June 2, 2018, 7:48 am

      Yes, there’s a big difference between World History and Jewish History. That’s why they are different subjects taught in college. Context issue, or if you prefer in context vs out of context.

    • Boomer on June 3, 2018, 4:00 pm

      Keith: Thanks for remembering and quoting this from Tree. A lot of good history and analysis has been provided at this site over the years. Unfortunately, as users come and go, and post proliferate, only those with good memories are likely to retrieve it when relevant. I wish there were some way to organize or flag the more important contributions for the benefit of those of us who didn’t see these things the first time, or who don’t have such great memories. I know the moderators have enough to do as it is; I don’t know exactly how it could be done.

      • MHughes976 on June 3, 2018, 4:45 pm

        Tree is much missed

      • Maghlawatan on June 3, 2018, 4:53 pm


        Israel’s slow suicide is a vast subject. I have organised files from 2011-14. Haven’t got around to filing 15-now yet. I might put it up online or could share the files.

  6. Citizen on June 2, 2018, 8:11 am

    More mirroring the thrust of Mr. Richman’s article:

    • Keith on June 2, 2018, 1:01 pm

      CITIZEN- “More mirroring the thrust of Mr. Richman’s article:

      Jeez, do I disagree with you on this! Based upon the articles from your link, David Turner is a frothing Zionist racist totally committed to Zionist ideology and myth history. Sheldon Richman, however, has a lot of good things to say and his use of Zionist myth-history was relatively minor and contradicted by many things in the article itself. His observation that “One must realize that Zionism was never a refugee project.” is completely accurate and in direct opposition to later Zionist claims.

      Getting back to the meat of the article, there is a lot of relevant information in there which needs to be appreciated. That is why my original comment referred to “an otherwise good article.” It is always questionable playing the “what if” game. According to Tree, about 70% of German Jews escaped going primarily to Western countries, only about 10% of the refugees going to Palestine. Germany was the obvious place for Jews and others to get out of when Hitler came to power. Most of the Jews killed, however, were in Eastern Europe outside of Germany. Prior to the war, how could they predict what would happen? During the war, how could they get out? The harsh reality is that most of the Eastern European Jews (along with over 10 million Slavs) would have died no matter what.

      It may well be that Sheldon Richman used the Immigration laws as an excuse to provide a lot of interesting and relevant history. One could also examine the large increase in US business investment in Germany when the Nazis came to power, Hitler portrayed as a defense against the communist Soviets. Or ongoing imperial support for the Zionist project without which a specifically Jewish state may not have been created. What is indisputable, I think, is that without the Holocaust and the Zionist exploitation of the Holocaust, the creation of Israel as a Jewish state was unlikely.

      • Citizen on June 3, 2018, 6:34 am


        I don’t disagree with anything you say here, especially your conclusion sentence. At the time, I wrote “mirroring the thrust” I meant only in reference to the characterization of the subject US law as an “anti-semitic law” by banner introduction. I also completely agree with your original comment in this thread. I agree my comment to the link I was providing was way too misleading.
        I apologize to readers here, and if they go to said link and read Turner’s take as compared to Richman’s take, they will easily see why you were so upset.

      • Sheldonrichman on July 7, 2018, 12:13 pm

        Headlines can’t tell the whole story. The law was certainly in part anti-Semitic even if iother motives were in play. Racists didn’t usually make exceptions for Jews.

      • Keith on July 11, 2018, 2:35 pm

        SHELDON RICHMAN- “The law was certainly in part anti-Semitic even if iother motives were in play. Racists didn’t usually make exceptions for Jews.”

        I wasn’t going to respond to your belated comments on this dead thread, however, as your comments rolled around in the back of my mind I felt I needed to comment on this particular example of Zionist myth-history. Unfortunately, my long and detailed comment didn’t pass moderation. Not all that surprising on Mondoweiss where certain topics are off limits. A shortened version would be to point out that labeling something as anti-Semitic when Jews are lumped together with non-Jews, and in fact received somewhat better treatment compared to other Eastern Europeans and all Asians is a misrepresentation. Anti-Semitism implies that Jews are singled out for abuse simply because they are Jews. To claim that all Jewish hardship is a consequence of anti-Semitism is a Judeocentric worldview which sees World War II as little more than one big anti-Jewish pogrom, the 60 million non-Jews who died little more than Hitler’s willing executioners who stood by as Jews were slaughtered. I could go on, but to do so increases the chance this won’t pass moderation. I leave you with a quote from Israel Shahak.

        “Therefore, the real test facing both Israeli and diaspora Jews is the test of their self-criticism which must include the critique of the Jewish past. The most important part of such a critique must be detailed and honest confrontation of the Jewish attitude to non-Jews.” (p103, “Jewish History, Jewish Religion,” Israel Shahak)

  7. Elizabeth Block on June 2, 2018, 10:44 am

    I wrote to Shlomo Sand, describing the land acknowledgements that are becoming common in Canada. “We acknowledge that we meet on the traditional lands of [the First Nations who lived here before the whites came, and/or still live here].”
    I asked him how it would be received if he started his lectures in Tel Aviv with an acknowledgement that they meet on what used to be the Arab village that was there before 1948. Not well, he said.

    • RoHa on June 2, 2018, 10:54 am

      Such acknowledgements are common in Australia, too.

      • Boomer on June 3, 2018, 3:54 pm

        And should be in the U.S.

  8. Misterioso on June 2, 2018, 11:34 am

    Worth noting:

    “In 1938, a thirty-one nation conference was held in Evian, France, on resettlement of the victims of Nazism. The World Zionist Organization refused to participate, fearing that resettlement of Jews in other states would reduce the number available for Palestine.” (John Quigley, Palestine and Israel: A Challenge to Justice, as quoted in “The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict,” second edition, published by Jews for Justice in the Middle East, Berkeley, California, p. 21.)

    On 7 December 1938, during a meeting of the Mapai Central Committee (precursor of the Labour Party), David Ben-Gurion revealed his true feelings regarding the plight of German Jews: “If I knew it was possible to save all the [Jewish] children in Germany by transporting them to England, but only half of them by transporting them to Palestine, I would choose the second…” He attempted to explain his twisted reasoning by adding that he would make such a choice “…because we face not only the reckoning of those children, but the historical reckoning of the Jewish people.” Ben-Gurion also expressed his fear that “‘the human conscience’ might bring various countries to open their doors to Jewish refugees from Germany. He saw this as a threat and warned: ‘Zionism is in danger!'” (Tom Segev, The Seventh Million, Hill and Wang, New York, 1994, p. 28.)

    On 27 November 1942, the Yishuv newspaper Davar published an article that referred to the extermination of European Jews as “‘punishment from heaven’ for not having come to Palestine.” (Tom Segev, p. 98). As Ben-Gurion so callously put it on 8 December 1942, during a Mapai meeting: “‘They did not want to listen to us’ ….in their deaths they had sabotaged the Zionist dream.’” (David Ben-Gurion at a gathering of Mapai workers, 8 Dec. 1942; quoted by Tom Segev)

    That saving Jews from the Nazis was not the priority of American Zionists was clearly shown during the war. When President Roosevelt became aware of the dire circumstances of European Jews (who were thought at the time to be about 80% of the total number of refugees), he sent his close friend Morris Ernst (a key member of the Democratic party and leader of the New York Jewish community) to London during the middle of the war to see if England and the Commonwealth would join the United States and other countries in taking in a half million Jewish refugees through a generous worldwide policy of political asylum once Hitler was defeated. (Roosevelt felt he could sell the plan to the American Congress if Britain agreed.)

    Ernst returned home jubilant and advised the President that Britain agreed to “match the United States up to 150,000.” Roosevelt replied:”150,000 to England – 150,000 to match that in the United States – pick up 200,000 or 300,000 elsewhere, and we can start with half a million of these oppressed people.” One week later, however, the President informed Ernst that the program had to be abandoned because “…the dominant vocal Jewish leadership of America won’t stand for it…the Zionist movement knows [that it] can raise vast sums for Palestine by saying to donors, `There is no other place this poor Jew can go.'”

    Ernst refused to believe Roosevelt and went about seeking the support of American Jews for the plan. Their response shocked him: “I was thrown out of parlours of friends of mine who very frankly said, `Morris, this is treason. You are undermining the Zionist movement’. [I found] a deep genuine, often fanatically emotional vested interest in putting over the [movement in men] who are little concerned about human blood if it is not their own.” (Morris Ernst, So Far So Good, Harper & Brothers: New York, 1948, pp. 172-177)

    In 1947, Representative William G. Stratton introduced a bill to the Congress aimed primarily at Jewish refugees which would have admitted up to 400,000 displaced persons of all faiths into the United States. Shamefully, however, the Stratton Bill never got past hearings of the House Foreign Affairs Committee because it was ignored by the Zionist lobby, which wanted nothing to interfere with the flow of Jews into Palestine.

    The Zionist campaign to force European Jews to go to Palestine (and later Israel) after the war while doing everything possible to prevent them from finding new homes in the United States, did not escape criticism by all American Jews. The Yiddish Bulletin wrote: “…by insisting that Jewish D.P.’s do not wish to go to any country outside of Israel; by not participating in the negotiations on behalf of the D.P.’s; and by refraining from a campaign of their own – by all this they [the Zionists] certainly did not help to open the gates of America for Jews. In fact, they sacrificed the interests of living people – their brothers and sisters who went through a world of pain – to the politics of their own movement.” (Yiddish Bulletin, Free Jewish Club, May 19, 1950)

    The Zionists made it very clear to Truman that their backing would only be forthcoming if he did not impede their efforts to take possession of Palestine by allowing European Jewish refugees to immigrate to the United States. “…an aide sympathetic to Zionism [advised Truman] not to offer haven to Jewish displaced persons in the United States as this would dilute the argument that an independent Jewish state was required to absorb them.” (Prof. Charles Smith, Palestine And The Arab Israel Conflict, p.128)

    Some American Jews publicly criticized the Zionists for using their influence to prevent the admission of Jewish refugees into the United States. Among them was Arthur Sulzberger, publisher of the New York Times who called for a reversal of Zionist policy that put statehood first, refugees last: “Admitting that the Jews of Europe have suffered beyond expression, why in God’s name should the fate of all these unhappy people be subordinated to the single cry of Statehood? I cannot rid myself of the feeling that the unfortunate Jews of Europe’s D.P. [Displaced Persons] camps are helpless hostages for whom statehood has been made the only ransom.” (New York Times, October 27, 1946; quoted by Lilienthal, What Price Israel?, p. 37)

    During an interview in 1951, one of America’s most renowned theologians, Dr. Louis Finkelstein of the Jewish Theological Seminary in Manhattan declared that he had always felt “if United States Jews had put as much effort into getting [Jewish] D.P.’s admitted to this country as they put into Zionism, a home could have been found in the New World for all the displaced Jews of Europe.” (Quoted by Alfred Lilienthal, What Price Israel?, p. 36)

    On 2 May 1948, in a report delivered to the pro-Zionist American Jewish Conference regarding “Jewish Displaced Persons in the American Occupied Zone of Germany,” Jewish Chaplain Klausner (himself a dedicated Zionist) stated that “The Jews as a group are not overwhelmingly desirous of going to Palestine…we may predict that perhaps 30% of the people will go to Palestine.” (Lilienthal, WPI? p. 260)

    Klausner concluded that the displaced Jews “… must be forced to go to Palestine…. By ‘force’ I suggest a program. It is not a new program. It was used before, and most recently. It was used in the evacuation of the Jews from Poland and in the story of [the refugee ship] the `Exodus’.” Klausner went on to explain what his “program” would involve: “The first step…is the adoption of the principle that it is the conviction of the world Jewish community that these people must go to Palestine. The second step is the transmittal of that policy to the Displaced Persons. The third step is for the world Jewish community to offer the people the opportunity to go to Palestine….”

    • Keith on June 2, 2018, 1:30 pm

      MISTERIOSO- “Worth noting:”

      Indeed it is, however, it will be ignored by all of the Mondo Zionists who will continue to parrot Zionist myth-history. I would also add that we citizens of empire also have a lot of imperial myth-history baggage to deal with.

      • Citizen on June 3, 2018, 6:48 am


    • Boomer on June 3, 2018, 3:54 pm

      re Misterioso “Worth noting”

      I second the agreement. There is a lot of good history and analysis at the site.

  9. Nathan on June 3, 2018, 9:12 pm

    Anyone who studies history even at the BA level knows that we don’t busy ourselves with the question “what would have happened if….” No one knows what would have happened. So, calling Shlomo Sand “a remarkable scholar” – and then quoting him as saying “[a]bsent this stern anti-immigration policy, it is doubtful whether the State of Israel could have been established” – should be an indication that we’re dealing with a very unremarkable scholarship.

    In the Broadway show “Fiddler on the Roof”, Tevye the milkman indeed immigrates to America. However, in the original book “Tevye der Milcheker” by Sholom Aleichem, Tevye attempts to immigrate to the Land of Israel. The writers of the Broadway play changed his destination in order to honor their own parents who had immigrated to America. So, although our author can’t imagine someone choosing to live in Israel, if he would have read the book he would have known that Sholom Aleichem could imagine immigration to Palestine (even at a time when America was open). Indeed, Sholom Aleichem’s daughter and son-in-law settled in the Land of Israel.

    In 1966, Agnon won the Nobel Prize for literature (together with Nelly Sachs). In one the interviews with him at the time, he was asked where he was from. He explained that he was supposed to have been born in Jerusalem where he should have been one of the singers in the Temple, but alas Titus destroyed the Temple – and, so, Agnon was born in exile (Poland) and he became a writer. He was an excellent novelist, so Agnon’s “what would have happened if…” is certainly more imaginative and poetic than Shlomo Sand’s unremarkable alternative version of history.

    • RoHa on June 3, 2018, 9:52 pm

      ” … if he had read the book he would have known that Sholom Aleichem could imagine …”

    • DaBakr on June 3, 2018, 10:35 pm

      Poor little crybabies. Don’t like the creation of Israel. What the fuck do any of the regular commenters here think the current power structures in today’s world can do to make Israel and its ancient and modern capital Jerusalem go away???

      • Citizen on June 4, 2018, 4:49 am

        Across the world there’s growing dissent against the current power structures. If took about 30 years for the boycott of South Africa to end apartheid. How old is BDS, 15 years?

      • annie on June 4, 2018, 5:38 am

        yep, 15 years. but unlike south africa, i don’t think that means we’re half way there. i think we’re approaching critical mass.

        oh, and bdkr, jerusalem will not be going anywhere.. the zionist regime? likely wiped away by the winds of time. hope i live long enough to see it. chances are good i will.

      • eljay on June 4, 2018, 7:26 am

        || @aBar: Poor little crybabies. Don’t like the creation of Israel. What the fuck do any of the regular commenters here think the current power structures in today’s world can do to make Israel and its ancient and modern capital Jerusalem go away??? ||

        Spoken like a devoted member of the “rejuvenated yehudi people“! Captain Israel salutes you.  :-)

        Anyway, everyone knows the “Jewish State” will last a Thousand Years! and there’s absolutely nothing anyone can do about it.

      • Mooser on June 4, 2018, 12:51 pm

        “What the fuck do any of the regular commenters here think the current power structures in today’s world can do to make Israel and its ancient and modern capital Jerusalem go away???”

        Oh, that’s easy! Just make religion an individual choice, and make Jews equal citizens.
        If the current power structures do that, Zionism is doomed!

    • Mooser on June 4, 2018, 12:43 pm

      “Anyone who studies history even at the BA level…” “Nathan”

      Yup, I got my history BA at my Bar Mitzvah. Came with.

    • Sheldonrichman on July 7, 2018, 12:22 pm

      But where did Aleichem settle? Not Palestine. In the stories, Tevye doesn’t attempt to emigrate to Israel. He reluctantly tries to visit to see the holy places after his social-climbing son-in-law bribes him to leave because the poor Tevye was an embarrassment who would expose the climber as a liar. Tevye says in effect, “Oh well, for my daughter’s sake, I’ll visit the holy land.” Being old, he expected to die before returning home. That’s not emigration. That’s tourism. By the way, he never got there, because Motl Kamzoil died and Tevye had to care for Tzeitl and her kids.

  10. Ossinev on June 4, 2018, 7:09 am

    “ancient and modern capital Jerusalem”.
    What happened to the medieval etc Jerusalem between those nasty Roman times and 1948 ?
    Was it like a Jerusalem without people for a people without Jerusalem ?

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