The Guardian imagines a ‘powerful American Jewish lobby’…in the 1940s!

A Jan. 26th article in the Guardian written by Michael White (What would Winston Churchill have made of King Abdullah’s death?) included the following passages:

…Churchill had supported the 1916 Balfour Declaration in favour of a Jewish national homeland, issued for a mixed bag of motives, including wanting Zionist support against the Kaiser but also fashionable self-determination.

Right from the start Palestine’s Arabs got overlooked, but when Britain got a League of Nations mandate there they promptly made their presence loudly felt.

What an imperial burden that proved to be for the fading British imperialists, though Churchill resisted further decolonisation when he returned to power (1951-55). By this time Israel had fought and won its 1948 war of independence against its Arab neighbours and the grim cycle we live with today had begun.

Even in the war Churchill experienced a sharp bit of that. Angry that London appeared to be tilting towards the Arabs – banning local land sales to Jewish immigrants for example – and fearful that [Lord] Balfour’s pledge would be lost, militant Zionists with the support of the increasingly powerful Jewish lobby in the USstaged attacks on the British regime, culminating in the 1944 murder in Cairo of Lord Moyne, British regional supremo, a friend and cabinet colleague of Churchill’s.

First, the suggestion that the “Jewish lobby” was powerful during WWII is absurd. The American Jewish community during the 30s and 40s was largely weak and divided, lacking the confidence and relative unity that later generations of Jewish leaders would take for granted.

In fact, “mainstream Jewish organizations held a relatively low profile” during the Holocaust, and were hesitant to even lobby the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations to save Jews facing annihilation in Europe.

As historian Peter Egill Brownfeld, in an article for The American Council for Judaism, noted:

[Jews] wanted to avoid the appearance of controlling a Jewish lobby, separated from other American interests. In a climate of worldwide anti-Semitism – something that had also grown in America in the 1930s – they feared the impact of any actions other than patriotically concentrating on victory.

In 1943, the first verified information about the holocaust emerged from Europe. The news garnered little press attention and was buried in all of the major newspapers. It appeared in the New York Times in a seven and a half-inch report on page ten. The Washington Post gave it just three inches on page six.
[Peter S Bergson] and his colleagues – young Jewish activists, many of whom were from Palestine – changed their focus when this news came out. Bergson’s group began to concentrate on publicizing the German efforts to annihilate the Jews. They formed a new organization to take the place of CJA – the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe.

Bergson recalled that after his group learned about what was happening in Europe, its first inclination was to work with the mainstream Jewish organizations. “After the story in the Washington Post, the first thing we did was try to go to them and were flabbergasted when we couldn’t move them,” Bergson recalled. “We said, `look, something has to be done – there’s a fire. Something has to be done about saving the Jews.’” But Bergson found their passivity impossible to work with. When he asked for help from the leading Jewish organizations, he found no interest for the kind of radical push for rescue in which he was interested.  

Further, contrary to the Guardian’s suggestion to the contrary, the American “Jewish lobby” – and mainstream Zionist groups in Palestine and the US more broadly – almost universally strongly opposed attacks on British targets by ‘militant Zionists’. 

As Robert Rosen wrote in his book Saving the Jews: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Holocaust, support for attacks by Zionist groups (such as the Irgun) in Palestine only existed on the fringes of the American Zionist community. Most mainstream Jewish groups strongly opposed their tactics. 

Here’s an excerpt from his book (via Google Books):

snippet from bookIt’s bad enough that the hard left in the UK continues to warn of the undue influence of tiny Jewish communities in the US and Europe. But, to impute such power to Jews prior to and during the Holocaust is grossly ahistorical, and evokes the unhinged Judeophobic hyperbole advanced throughout that era by decidedly reactionary political figures.

13 replies »

  1. “Right from the start Palestine’s Arabs got overlooked, but when Britain got a League of Nations mandate there they promptly made their presence loudly felt.” This is also bunk, in fact re-writing of historical facts, as commonly done by Anti-Semites, i.e. Jew-haters.

  2. Apparently in the 1920s some figures in the British govt. involved in the post-WWI talks over Palestine were genuinely wary of the power of the Jewish lobby in the US – power that history showed to be massively overestimated, as it was into WWII as well. And where is the evidence for the likes of Irgun and Lehi getting anything resembling significant support from American Jews?
    On both counts White is irresponsibly way off the mark.

  3. ‘Angry that London appeared to be tilting towards the Arabs – banning local land sales to Jewish immigrants for example ‘ If anything angry that the UK was stopping Jews finding refuge, especially after the Nazi genocide was known, is a far more pertinent example.

    in an interview Yitshak Shamir who planned the assassination said,

    “Saidel: Was Moyne singled out because he represented….

    Shamir: No, no, no, no, no, no, no…. Moyne is a different story. First of all, Lehi is a different story. Lehi was not a part of the Zionist movement, not a part of the Revisionist Party. It was sometimes something apart and Lord Moyne was the highest British official in the Middle East …. and because we fought against the British in this area, we took him for a target. This was the main reason for his assassination.

    Certainly, we had known about his hostile attitude towards Zionism, towards the idea of ingathering of the Jewish people here. He was against any Jewish aliyah, any Jewish immigration. He didn’t believe that there exists such a thing like a Jewish nation, or a Jewish people … and therefore, we decided to make this operation.

    Read more: Yitzhak Shamir: Why we killed Lord Moyne | The Times of Israel
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  4. You know, Mighty England could have avoided so much violence and drama if they allowed Israel to become to a nation back when the Brits created their Jew-free Palestine (Transjordan). But alas….

    Ain’t it sad when an American Boob can recite world history more accurately than a Guardian asswipe? And I don’t need to castigate an entire people (a whole .02%!) to explain why my heritage is such a wasted joke.

  5. It is ironic that people like White will make claims, when it suits them, of a powerful Jewish lobby in the pre-State days, and on the other hand, again, when it suits them, will also claim that there was a strong anti-Zionist streak in American Jewry opposed to creating the State – which was true, and has its remnants today in the likes of Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein,etc. and some ultra-Orthodox Jews groups.

  6. It is just like Israel’s “rape-culture” of Palestinian women that is all the rage at LSE. They just make shit up these antisemitic scum bags.
    We have Mr. David Sheen from Dimona to thank for the “rape-culture”-myth. He first introduced this term during the last Gaza war. See where it went…..

    • And if Israelis do not rape Palestinian women they are accused of being racists, unwilling to rape an Arab women. You cannot win with people like White.

  7. Some assumptions include TELawrence’s winning the Arabs away from Ottomans and Germany during WW1 with promises; long term acquaintance Chaim Weizmann was asked by Balfour what substitute he could find for essential acetone without which they might have lost the war; after WW1, Churchill sought the Exchequer post and showed how the stressed British colonial costs could be reduced if he rearranged the map of the Middle East without anticipating the present unintended consequences

  8. Of course, all sorts of anti-Semites thought the Jews were powerful in the 1930’s and 1940’s when ‘coincidentally’ anti-Semitism was on the rise. Michael White and al Guardian carry on this shameful Gentile tradition of slanderous ignorance and intolerance. Again they are singling out the Jews for special criticism, this time going as far as to use the last great upsurge in anti-Semitism and its false portrayal of Jews at that time as ‘proof’ of the corrupting effects of Jewish power and influence.
    What kind of slimy scuzzballs do this sort of race baiting while preening as enlightened? The answer by now should be clear.

  9. The Guardian is mere months away from openly stating that the wrong side lost WW2 and would have won were it not for the Jews. You DO realize that, yes?