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).And then this chap wrote:
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.
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).Now I was a little peeved at the Indie publishing what I thought was a personal jibe with no substance so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw today that they published my response to Sugarman's response:
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.
Far from establishing that I shot myself in the foot by asserting that the Holocaust was little or nothing to do with the establishment of the State of Israel, Martin Sugarman comes close to making the same point I did, that the major powers of the world were set on the establishment of a colony for Jews way before the Holocaust was conceived or committed. The main difference is that he seems to think the imposition of imperial designs on Palestine, the partition and the ethnic cleansing, were somehow fair.
He invokes the Balfour Declaration of 1917 as if this was a legal document and not simply a statement of imperialist intent. The Peel Commission suggested a partition of Palestine against the wishes of the natives and to be accompanied by the removal of some 300,000 of them.
Finally, he can't resist shroud-waving over the Holocaust, a tragedy which had zero impact on the decisions of the major powers but has been used successfully to stifle the growth of an anti-Zionist movement in the West and used to manipulate the opinions of Jews who are invariably accused of self-hatred and of risking another Holocaust if we speak out against Israel.
I'm a little anxious about that 300 k claim. I'm actually reading Victor Kattan's From Coexistence to Conquest: International Law and the Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1891-1949 but I haven't got to that bit yet.