Mark Elf (letter, 16 March) shoots himself in the foot, like all Israel-bashers. He correctly points out that the Holocaust played no part in the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which promised the Jews a return to statehood (centring on the large remnant that has always lived in Israel for 4,500 years).And here's mine, which I wouldn't have seen if it hadn't been for his:
This gives the lie to those who claim that it was only sympathy for the Jews after the Holocaust, that was the reason for the UN declaring the partition of the Palestine mandate to create a Jewish and an Arab state. The Holocaust merely brought the inevitable independence for Israel rapidly forward.
Equally, Elf's remark that Israel uses the Holocaust as some kind of propaganda blackmail ignores the fact that the fair partition of the Mandate into a Jewish and Arab state was openly proposed by the British Peel Commission of 1936, long before the Holocaust. For Zionists and their millions of supporters worldwide, the Holocaust is merely the final example of what happens to a people – the Jews – whose land was stolen by invaders, leaving us stateless for centuries and ever at the whims of other governments.
It shows a lack of understanding of international politics and of history to suggest that Israel is "the gem that was born out of the ashes of the Holocaust" (letter, 9 March).Apart from Sugarman's ahistorical tosh about zionist settlement "centring on the large remnant that has always lived in Israel for 4,500 years", I can't see that his points significantly differ from or even engage with mine.
With the exception of Stalin's Soviet Union, all the major powers that supported the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine after the Second World War already supported it by the end of the First World War, and neither the Zionists themselves nor their allies in western governments predicted the Holocaust. Stalin's Soviet Union was the only power to invoke the Holocaust as grounds for supporting the establishment of the State of Israel. Does anyone seriously entertain the idea that Stalin felt sorry for Jews?
The tragedy of the Holocaust has been used as an effective propaganda tool by Israel and its apologists for several decades now.