Sons of the Shtetl

by Shmuel Sokol, 20 Nov 2003 to ISRAPUNDIT

Poland, 1937: It’s a cold, clear day in the Shtetl, a fresh blanket of snow covers the ground, children are playing building forts and having snowball fights. Through this quiet and idyllic scene, little Yankele is walking home from Cheder (Jewish primary school) when suddenly he hears a booming voice burst out behind him: “Hey Kike, yeah you, Jew-boy! He sees a rush of movement, the pavement seems to speed towards him, and all turns black…

From 1939 to 1945, the victorious armies of the German, 3rd Reich, having marched across Europe, conquering at will, had begun their plan for the total annihilation of the Jewish Nation. Six Million (6,000,000!) men, women, and children were brutally murdered. Six Million more souls were martyred with the words “Shema Yisrael, Hashem Elokeiynu, Hashem Echad!”- Hear O’ Israel, The Lord is our God, The Lord is One!” on their lips.

A curtain of darkness had descended on what had once been the most vibrant of Jewish communities since the Golden Age of Spain.

The survivors fled, at great peril, to the Holy Land, to Eretz Yisrael, often to be turned away by the British to be put in administrative detention in camps in Cyprus. How ironic, the beneficent British, the enemies of the Reich were now putting the survivors of Auschwitz back into Camps! This was the same British Empire that split off the Eastern half of the mandate for a Jewish national home, and created the state of Jordan on Jewish soil.

By 1948, the British people were clamoring for a withdrawal from “Palestine”, mostly due to the partisan efforts of the Irgun Zvai Leumi, a group of Revisionist-Zionists, led by Moshe Begin and inspired by Ze’ev Jabotinsky to act on the words NEVER AGAIN! When the first major battles started between the Arabs and the Jews, often our antagonists were British trained, using British weapons, and fighting under a cover of British artillery support.

During this period, where was America? They were still adhering to the blockade of military supplies to the region. Amazing how this blockage only seemed to affect the embattled and fledgling Jewish State. In the end, with divine miracles and heroic efforts on the part of the “weak Jews” Israel was established as a de-facto state, the first Jewish commonwealth to exist for twenty centuries.

Originally when the vote was taken in the United Nations, regarding the partition of “Palestine”, the USSR voted in the affirmative. This is a perfect example of balance of power politics in play. The Soviets thought that they could use this vote and the ensuing state to their political advantage visa-vi the Americans. Later on, when they learned that they could not, they switched their support to the Arabs, giving them guns and political backing.

America thus supported Israel, in many ways, because of the delicate balance of power that existed between themselves and the Communists. In fact, it was not until 1967, when Israel finally and decisively proved that it would not be brought down by the ceaseless Arab onslaught that America began to give Israel foreign aid. Funny how they seemed to survive on their own without the United States giving them any military help or weapons. Power is respected and when we flexed our muscles, we received recognition.

It must also be remembered that the Arabs also receive U.S. military aid. Egypt receives an amount almost exactly equal to that of Israel’s American donations and loans. This begs the question, who are they arming up to fight? They have no threats to the west and it is therefore readily apparent that they are waiting for the day when they will again resume their war against Israel, preferably after Gaza is given to an independent Arab state, which they can either pass through or use as a military proxy. In addition, America has (this cannot be stressed enough) sent CIA operatives to the Palestinian Authority to train its security forces, which far exceed the numbers specified in the Oslo Accords. These are the same security forces that have been established as being behind many of the terrorist attacks on innocent Israeli civilians.

It all boils down to political advantage. All states act in the ways that they believe will bring them the most benefit. The United States finds it politically advantageous to support Israel right now- just as it does with Egypt- and so it does. To gain support in its War on Terror, the U.S. must throw the Arabs a bone. That bone is Israel and it used to have flesh. That was consumed by the Oslo accords and will be gnawed on by our enemies. While America carpet bombs countries, we are told to show restraint because the Arabs state that their support of certain U.S. policies is dependent on the “Peace Process”.

America needs the Arabs. She needs their oil, their support when attacking terrorist nations in the region (as if they were not all to be classed as such), and because of various other diplomatic, economic and political issues. Israel is no longer America’s proxy against the Soviets, as there is no longer a Soviet Union. Our importance is dwindling to Americans. The United States wrote The Roadmap to Peace, in concert with our bold and courageous friends and lovers of peace, the diplomats of Europe.

When 59% of Europeans think that Israel is more of a danger to world peace than the Arab countries, how can we trust any proposal that comes from that confused continent? Especially, how can we trust with such blind faith that the United States and Israel will be friends forever as so many Jews claim? The United States and Israel are united by a bond of common political and social values, true, but America has supported autocratic regimes before in playing the game of power politics.

In Israel it as if we have never left the Shtetl. We still have the mindset of the victim. We hope for rescue from an outside source, and since so many of us are no longer observant Jews, we substitute America and the rest of the Quartet for Mashiach (the messiah). Lift up to Washington, O Jew, and see your salvation! America only cares for the good of the Jews. This is why they give aid to the Palestinian Authority and Egypt, and military protection to Saudi Arabia, the wellspring of incitement and Islamic fundamentalism. Over 50 years ago, the good old US of A turned back the refugee ship the St. Louis, damning all of its hundreds of Jewish passengers to their deaths in the camps of a Europe that now wants to stop the “atrocities” of their former victims.

And in the exile, American Jews still act as if all is fine, when synagogues explode in Istanbul and Gravestones are overturned in Staten Island. At a time when Jewish Community Centers maintain concrete barriers, we still play the part of the ostrich and pretend all is well, with our heads firmly wedged in the ground.

During the early nineties, there was a riot in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. In Europe it would have been called a Pogrom. Yet, inexplicably the American Jew still hires the non-Jew as his security. When G-d forbid, the day comes when we truly need these watchmen of the Jewish people to come to our aid, who shall they ally themselves with, the Jew, or the community in which they were born and raised? To think that outsiders will protect us and keep us safe, both here and in Israel is utter foolishness and a ringing echo of the Ghetto Mentality of a Jewish Europe long destroyed.

Posted by Shmuel Sokol at 10:18 PM

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