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Israeli Premonition

Israeli Premonition

A 1968 essay about Israel and the world sounds eerily prophetic for the situation today.

by Eric Hoffer

Eric Hoffer was an American social philosopher (1902-83) who wrote nine books and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His first book, "The True Believer" (1951), was widely recognized as a classic.

In 1968, months after Israel's whopping victory in the Six Day War, Hoffer wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times (May 26, 1968) in response to the proliferation of anti-Israel sentiment in the international community.

His words sound eerily prophetic for the situation today.

*     *     *

The Jews are a peculiar people: things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews.

Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it, Poland and Czechoslovakia did it, Turkey threw out a million Greeks, and Algeria a million Frenchman. Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese -- and no one says a word about refugees.

Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis.

But in the case of Israel, the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single Arab. Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis.

Other nations when victorious on the battlefield dictate peace terms. But when Israel is victorious it must sue for peace. Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world.

Other nations when they are defeated survive and recover, but should Israel be defeated it would be destroyed. Had Nasser triumphed last June he would have wiped Israel off the map, and no one would have lifted a finger to save the Jews.

No commitment to the Jews by any government, including our own, is worth the paper it is written on. There is a cry of outrage all over the world when people die in Vietnam or when two Negroes are executed in Rhodesia. But when Hitler slaughtered Jews no one remonstrated with him.

The Swedes, who are ready to break off diplomatic relations with America because of what we do in Vietnam, did not let out a peep when Hitler was slaughtering Jews. They sent Hitler choice iron ore, and ball bearings, and serviced his troop trains to Norway.

The Jews are alone in the world. If Israel survives, it will be solely because of Jewish efforts.

The Jews are alone in the world. If Israel survives, it will be solely because of Jewish efforts. And Jewish resources.

Yet at this moment Israel is our only reliable and unconditional ally. We can rely more on Israel than Israel can rely on us. And one has only to imagine what would have happened last summer had the Arabs and their Russian backers won the war, to realize how vital the survival of Israel is to America and the West in general.

I have a premonition that will not leave me; as it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us. Should Israel perish the holocaust will be upon us.

April 27, 2002

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Visitor Comments: 6

(6) Anonymous, February 20, 2007 1:01 AM

Time has no Past nor Future for the Jewish People

History is always PRESENT for the Jewish people. Thus, what one has written 40 yrs ago or 2,000 yrs ago, it is as if it was written just yesterday. Perhaps the Jewish people are so connected to G-d, in that sense, as we have learned that G-d has only one tense: the Present. Something to think about. I completely agree with Mr. Hoffer's premonition, what happens to the Jews, happens to the rest of the nations of the world. Am Yisra'el Chai.

(5) Anonymous, June 27, 2002 12:00 AM

Interesting reading

I agree that Isreal must have it's own state. I also agree that sometimes the government overacts on some of their responses. I do think that The US does support Israel more than they did when Eric Hoffer wrote this article.

(4) Y. Levine, May 6, 2002 12:00 AM

The core message

If Israel is the forerunner for the rest of the world; both the canary in the mine, but also the beacon of 'tikun olam', then each of us who views Israel in this light has a responsibility to act as morally, and thoughfully, as possible in our defence of the state. We must not only be a nation of light, but our individual actions, and words, must strive towards morality and justice. 'Transfer' is not morally justifiable simply on the grounds that other nations did it and got away with it. That was not the point of this article. The point, rather, is that if Israel is allowed to fall, those who cannot accept coexistence will see its demise as proof that they can suceed in a struggle which targets innocents. This could be the downfall of global society, and that is why a moral Israel must remain steadfast in its refusal to disintegrate.

(3) Mark Benjamin, April 29, 2002 12:00 AM

Israel is strong enough to ride over international opinion

A very interesting article. Perhaps it is time for Israel to seriously consider throwing the 'palestinians' out, perhaps Jordan could be persuaded to take them. Certainly with such a relatively strong army, a prospective US attack on Iraq, the arrow anti missile defences and of course Israel's own nuclear weapons should they be necessary, the time to do it is now, before Iran develops nuclear capability and before a hostile power sets the agenda for Israel by attacking with conventional forces and using simultaneous terrorist attack from the 'palestinians', in the same way as it would appear that saddam hussein is taking a hand in matters at the moment to strengthen his position ahead of the US strike. Given the evidence of 'palestinian' unwillingness to compromise on less than the destruction of the Jewish people, who are we to allow such hostility to reside so close? Those in Europe and further afield who support appeasement of 'palestinians', and who are laying their societies bare for being taken advantage of, shall see eventually what they are letting themselves in for. Let us take the lead in recognising the perniciousness of an ethos that thinks it is destined to rule the world.

(2) Patty Ann ( Isner ) Smith, April 28, 2002 12:00 AM

The Peace of Jerusalem

I loved what Eric Hoffer said " As it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us". That is exactly what G-d was saying in Psalms 122:6 " Pray for the peace of Jerusalem". When you are praying for the peace of Jerusalem you are praying for the peace of the whole world, because the "Peace of Jerusalem" takes in the peace of the whole world. Then and only then will the world prosper!.

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