Sir Edwin Montagu's opposition to Zionism

08/20/08

Have you considered using this clip from the British/Jewish Cabinet Minister Sir Edwin Montagu, who said in a secret memoranda (August 1917, later made public) on the subject of Zionism:

"Zionism has always seemed to me to be a mischievous political creed, untenable by any patriotic citizen of the United Kingdom ... I have always understood that those who indulged in this creed were largely
animated by the restrictions upon and refusal of liberty to Jews in Russia. But at the very time when these Jews have been acknowledged as Jewish Russians and given all liberties, it seems to be inconceivable
that Zionism should be officially recognized by the British Government, and that Mr. Balfour should be authorized to say that Palestine was to be reconstituted as the 'national home of the Jewish
people'. I do not know what this involves, but I assume that it means that Mohammedans and Christians are to make way for the Jews, and that the Jews should be put in all positions of preference and should be
peculiarly associated with Palestine in the same way that England is with the English or France with the French, that Turks and other Mohammedans in Palestine will be regarded as foreigners, just in the
same way as Jews will hereafter be treated as foreigners in every country but Palestine ... When the Jews are told that Palestine is their national home, every country will immediately desire to get rid
of its Jewish citizens, and you will find a population in Palestine driving out its present inhabitants, taking all the best in the country ...

"I deny that Palestine is today associated with the Jews or properly to be regarded as a fit place for them to live in. The Ten Commandments were delivered to the Jews on Sinai. It is quite true that Palestine plays a large part in Jewish history, but so it does in modern Mohammedan history, and, after the time of the Jews, surely it plays a larger part than any other country in Christian history ...

"... When the Jew has a national home, surely it follows that the impetus to deprive us of the rights of British citizenship must be enormously increased. Palestine will become the world's ghetto. Why
should the Russian give the Jew equal rights? His national home is Palestine". (UN: The Origins And Evolution Of Palestine Problem, section II)

Zionists would say that Montagu's arguments were proven wrong by history. He says that in the absence of a Jewish state, countries around the world will give Jews equality and they will live peacefully. He had no idea that a mere two decades later there would arise a government in Europe with the policy of driving out all Jews and, when it became clear that there was nowhere for them to go, murdering them.

One of the most-often asked Zionist questions is, "If there had been a State of Israel a decade earlier, six million Jews could have been saved." The only good answer to that is a religious answer. Secular arguments like Montagu's ring hollow after the Holocaust.

One who believes in the Torah, G-d, and G-d's hand in history will notice that the Zionists were trying hard to establish their state before WWII, but they didn't achieve their goal until just a few years too late. Is that a coincidence? Also, the Zionist efforts to establish a state ended up preventing the rescue of Jews in several important ways. First and foremost, the efforts toward a Jewish state led to Arab hostility, which led the British to severely limit immigration to Palestine. Throughout WWII, when the Jews needed to get to Palestine most, the British strictly enforced their quotas under the 1939 White Paper, because they couldn't afford to lose their Arab allies in the war effort. Is this all a coincidence? Or is G-d trying to show us that violating the terms of exile and trying to look out for our safety in ways prohibited by the Torah will not get us anywhere.

Furthermore, even if we imagine theoretically that there had been a Jewish state before the war, who is to say it would have saved the Jews from Hitler? There was a point in 1941 when Hitler was choosing between putting all efforts into his Middle East campaign by conquering Malta and resupplying his army in North Africa, or attacking the Soviet Union. Eventually he chose the Soviet Union - where a good part of the world's Jews were then living. Who is to say that if there had been two or three million Jews in Palestine, he would not have put all efforts into getting them? The best protection the Jewish people has is keeping the Torah and relying on the promises of Hashem that "even in the land of their enemies I did not reject them nor despise them to destroy them, to annul My covenant with them" (Lev. 26:44).

Montagu mentions that at that time (1917) Jews were being "acknowledged as Jewish Russians and given all liberties" but time would tell that the Russian revolution was not good for Jews at all and ended up completely restricting their religious liberty.

His prediction that "when the Jews are told that Palestine is their national home, every country will immediately desire to get rid of its Jewish citizens" seems to have come true after 1948 when the Jews fled from the Arab countries, but I would say that was more because of Arab anger over the nakba, as well as Zionist propaganda to scare their Jews into coming to their state. Had the Jewish state been founded in Alaska or Germany, the Arabs would not have kicked out their Jews.

Still, in general we agree with Montagu that Zionism is not good for the status of Jews around the world. It tends to cause non-Jews to look at Jews as less than patriotic or of dual loyalty, and gives them an excuse to not take in Jews when they are suffering in another part of the world. Both Zionism and anti-Semitism are based on the premise that Jews and non-Jews cannot co-exist.

You write that Nazism arose despite the absence of a Jewish state. Are you aware that Brenner looked into Mein Kampf and virtually blamed the Zionists for the antisemitism of the Nazis? Read it carefully
here: http://www.codoh.com/zionweb/zizad/zizad7.html I don't know if you'll agree with Brenners claim, but if he were to be right, it makes a lot of sense. And it means that Montagu was right!

Something else that is difficult to research is "What happened at the 1938 Evian Conference?". I suspect that representatives from 31 countries arrived, and they all had instructions to offer refuge for a
certain number of refugees. Somehow, the Zionists stopped these offers being made (as they stopped the two Houses of the British Parliament agreeing to take all the refugees in 1943).

Don't get me wrong, I think you do a grand job, but I think your web-site could be a lot more effective again.

Thanks for the link to Brenner's article. I was aware of the passages of Mein Kampf he quotes but I was not aware of all the pro-Zionist rhetoric in the first years of Hitler's power. Perhaps we can do something with this.

Still, truth be told, I am inclined to believe that all the Nazi pushing of Zionism was just an excuse to make their exclusion and expulsion of the Jews look more respectable. In the end they would have done what they did even if there had been no Zionism. (That is, naturally speaking, not taking into account G-d's plan.)