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The Holocaust: Factor in the Birth of Israel?

Evyatar Friesel

  1. Letter to Chaim Weizmann, June 30, 1932, Weizmann Archives, Rehovot, Israel.
  2. Chaim Weizmann, The Zionist Movement 1916-1931, London, 1931, p. 16.
  3. See ESCO: Palestine, A Study of Jewish, Arab and British Policies, vol. II, New Haven, 1947, pp. 852-857; Palestine Royal Commission, Report, Cmd 5479 (1937), p. 281.
  4. For the text of the 1939 White Paper, see John N. Moore, ed., The Arab-Israeli Conflict, vol. III (Documents), Princeton, N.J., 1974 (hereafter, Moore), pp. 210-221; Yehuda Bauer, From Diplomacy to Resistance, Philadelphia, 1970 (hereafter, Bauer), pp. 28-43.
  5. Moore, pp. 222-224; see also Ch. Weizmann to the High Commissioner for Palestine, May 31, 1939, in Jewish Agency - Book of Documents, New York, May 1947 (hereafter, Book of Documents), pp. 140-151.
  6. David Ben-Gurion, Bama'arakha, vol. II (Hebrew), Tel Aviv, 1957, pp. 188-189. For further expressions of the gradual radicalization of Ben-Gurion's position at that time, see Bauer, pp. 43-51.
  7. Regarding British policy in Palestine during the war, see Ronald W. Zweig, Britain and Palestine During the Second World War, London, 1986.
  8. See Bauer, pp. 230-233.
  9. Moshe Perlman, Ben-Gurion Looks Back, 1965, p. 111.
  10. Minutes of the Extraordinary Zionist Conference, Zionist Archives and Library, New York. The resolutions were published in Abraham Tulin, ed., Book of Documents Submitted to the General Assembly of the United Nations Relating to the Establishment of the National Home for the Jewish People, New York, May 1947, pp. 226-227.
  11. Minutes. Ben-Gurion's speech was published in David Ben-Gurion, Rebirth and Destiny of Israel, New York, 1954, pp. 113-132.
  12. Yehuda Bauer, "When Did They Know?", Midstream, April 1968, pp. 51-58.
  13. See Jacob C. Hurewitz, The Struggle for Palestine, New York, 1976 (hereafter, Hurewitz), pp. 204, 260, 268-269.
  14. See Book of Documents, pp. 238-242, 304-308.
  15. Jewish Agency for Palestine: Statements, March 1946, The Jewish Case Before the AngloAmerican Committee of Enquiry on Palestine, Jerusalem, 1946, pp. 3-259; The Jewish Agency Before the United Nations, New York, May 1947; The Jewish Plan for Palestine, Jerusalem, September 1947 (hereafter, The Jewish Plan for Palestine), pp. 269-559.
  16. Ibid.
  17. The Jewish Plan for Palestine, p. 310.
  18. Report of the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry, Preface, pp. 11-15 ; Report to the General Assembly by the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP), August 31, 1947 (hereafter, UNSCOP, Report), p. 3.
  19. This period is well described by Michael J. Cohen, Palestine and the Great Powers 1945- 1948, Princeton, 1982, and Wm. Roger Louis, The British Empire in the Middle East 1945- 1951. Arab Nationalism, the United States and Postwar Imperialism, Oxford, 1984 (hereafter, Louis), part IV; good descriptions from the time are found in Jacob Robinson, Palestine and the United Nations, Washington, 1947 (hereafter, Robinson), and the detailed but uncritical account of Joseph J. Zasloff, Great Britain and Palestine - A Study of the Problem Before the United Nations, 1952 (hereafter, Zasloff) also, Leonard L. Leonard, "The United Nations and Palestine," International Conciliation, no. 454, October 1949 (hereafter, Leonard), pp. 603- 786; see also the very perceptive article by Susan Strange, "Palestine and the United Nations," Yearbook of World Affairs, 1949 (hereafter, Strange), pp. 151-168.
  20. Robinson, p. 44.
  21. British reactions are lucidly described in Louis, pp. 464-494.
  22. Robinson, p. 248.
  23. UNSCOP, Report; for excerpts, see Moore, III, pp. 259-312. A vivid description of UNSCOP's work is found in David Horowitz, State in Making, New York, 1953 (hereafter, Horowitz); see also, Edward B. Glick, Latin America and the Palestine Problem, New York, 1958 (hereafter, Glick), pp. 60-77.
  24. UNSCOP, Report, p. 71.
  25. Ibid., p. 72.
  26. Robinson, pp. 2-6; Eliyahu Elath, Zionism at the UN, a Diary of the First Days, Philadelphia, 1976, entries for 29 May 1945 to 6 June 1945.
  27. Hurewitz, pp. 237-238. See also the arguments of E.R. Fabregat, the representative of Uruguay, who, together with the representative of Guatemala, J. Garcia-Granados, voted against Article XII, UNSCOP, Report, Annexes, pp. 77-79.
  28. There is a large corpus of literature describing and analyzing the efforts and pressures exerted by the different sides to influence the final vote. See Hurewitz, pp. 302-309; John Snetsinger, Truman, the Jewish Vote and the Creation of Israel, Stanford, 1974 (hereafter, Snetsinger), pp. 66-72; Zvi Ganin, Truman, American Jewry, and Israel 1945-1948, New York/London, 1979, chapter IX. Pro-Zionist descriptions are to be found in Jorge Garcia-Granados, The Birth of Israel, New York, 1948, pp. 246-269; Horowitz, pp. 275-304; Glick, pp. 78-122. For anti-Zionist descriptions, see Alfred M. Lilienthal, What Price Israel?, Chicago, 1953; Kermit Roosevelt, "The Partition of Palestine: A Lesson in Pressure Politics," Middle East Journal, vol. II, 1948, pp. l-16.
  29. Louis, p. 395.
  30. See Strange, p. 152. Some partial information is to be found in Glick's book, pp. 78- 122. The favorable decision was obtained due to changes in the positions of Haiti, Liberia and the Philippines; see the comparative vote tables in Snetsinger, note 48, pp. 167-168.
  31. “The main point is the positive attitude of both of America and of Russia, and it is almost tantamount to a miracle that these two countries should have agreed on our problem," wrote Ch. Weizmann to J. Ch. Smuts, on October 28, 1947; The Letters and Papers of Chaim Weizmann, Series A, vol. XXIII, Jerusalem, 1980, p. 23.
  32. Adam B. Uman, Expansion and Coexistence - The History of Soviet Foreign Policy 1917- 1967, New York, 1968, p. 584; Y. Ro'i, "Soviet-Israeli Relations, 1947-1954," Michael Confino and Shimon Shamir, eds., The USSR and the Middle East (Hebrew), Jerusalem, 1973 pp. 123-146. Ro'i adds another possible element in Soviet policy regarding Palestine in 1947: Russian hopes for greater influence on American Jewish public opinion (ibid., p. 128). See also Alexander Dallin, The Soviet Union at the United Nations, New York, 1962, pp. 29-31; Robinson, pp. 236-239.
  33. The effort was real; its actual influence, doubtful. Even Samuel Halperin, in his comprehensive, although apologetic, work, The Political World of American Zionism, Detroit, 1961, concluded: "To what extent the evolving American Zionist power and influence potential chronicled in this study contributed to the creation of the State of Israel is not at all certain. Perhaps little more can ever be claimed than that the Zionist [in the United States] was one of the necessary prerequisites for the realization of the Zionist program" (p. 295 ). Years later, in an interesting article published in 1977, Zvi Ganin maintained that the political work of the American Zionist Emergency Council had influenced the partition resolution of the UN, but that the AZEC was unable to avoid the American retreat from partition in March 1948; see "The Limits of American Jewish Political Power: America's Retreat from Partition, November 1947-March 1948," Jewish Social Studies, XXXIX, 1977 pp. 1-36.
  34. See Alexander Deconde, A History of American Foreign Policy, New York, 1967, pp. 745- 749; John C. Campbell, Defense of the Middle East, New York, 1958; E.H. Nolte, "United States Policy and the Middle East," Georgiana P. Stevens, ed., The United States and the Middle East, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1964; Elizabeth Monroe, Great Britain's Moment in the Middle East 1914-1956, London, 1963, pp. 158-159.
  35. See Benjamin Shwadran, The Middle East, Oil and the Great Powers, New York, 1973, pp. 347.
  36. See Foreign Relations of the United States, 1947, vol. V, Washington, D.C., 1971 (hereafter, FRUS); 1948, vol. V, part 2, Washington, 1976 (hereafter, FRUS, 1948).
  37. Beside Samuel Halperin's The Political World of American Zionism, see also Joseph B. Schechtman, The United States and the Jewish State Movement, New York, 1966 (hereafter, Schechtman), chapter 15, "Zionism and Palestine in American Politics”, which, if read in a careful and unbiased way, is illuminating indeed; Snetsinger; and Frank F. Manuel's still important book, The Realities of American-Palestine Relations, Washington, D.C., 1949.
  38. In Snetsinger's opinion, pp. 137-149, electoral considerations were one of the major reasons behind President Truman's decision to recognize the State of Israel minutes after its proclamation on May 15, 1948.
  39. See State Department Memorandum, September 30, 1947; President Truman's position, October 6, 1947, November 24, 1947, FRUS, pp. 1166-1170, 1177-1178, 1283-1284.
  40. Robinson, p. v.
  41. See State Department Memorandum, September 30, 1947; President Truman's position, October 6, 1947, November 24, 1947, FRUS, pp. 1166-1170, 1177-1178, 1,283-1,284.
  42. Harry S Truman, Memoirs, vol. II, Garden City, N.Y., 1956, pp. 156-157.
  43. For the November 29, 1947, UN resolution, Resolution 181, II, see Moore, pp. 313-319.
  44. Ben Halpern, The Idea of the Jewish State, Cambridge, Mass., 1961, p. 375.
  45. See Schechtman, pp. 318-328.
  46. See Zvi Ganin's detailed analysis of American policy in the article cited above (note 33), as well as in his book, Truman, American Jewry and Israel, 1945-1948, New York/London, 1979, chapter X: "America's Retreat from Partition"; also FRUS, 1948, p. 825; Leonard, pp. 661- 666; Zasloff, pp. 104-111.
  47. Ganin, ibid; FRUS, ibid., pp. 744-746, 753, 776-777. The White House maintained that the declaration had been made without the authorization of President Truman.
  48. See the correspondence between the Israeli government and Bernadotte during July 1948; F. Bernadotte, To Jerusalem, London, 1951, pp. 149-158.
  49. Walter Eytan, The First Ten Years, New York, 1958, pp. l-2 .Evyatar Friesel, "The Holocaust: Factor in the Birth of Israel?", In Major Changes Within the Jewish People in the Wake of the Holocaust, Yad Vashem 1996, pp. 519-544.