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Did the Zionists rebel against the British mandate government?


I was re-reading your old letters to me and looked into the white paper of 1939, however it doesnt seem to rescind the balfour declaration completely, it just seems to propose a state run by both the arabs and the jews, its more of a modification.

What I did find very interesting were these two sources from Wikipedia ...

We must help the [British] Army [fight the Nazis] as if there was no White Paper, and the White Paper as if there was no war.

* September 12, 1939. http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/David_Ben-Gurion

And While Jews were murdered on mass scale since 1939, in 1940 some Nazis considered eliminating Jews by the unrealistic Madagascar Plan which, however futile, in retrospect did constitute an important psychological step on the path to the Holocaust. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocaust

Very coincidental timing! However it is a big catch 22 ... defy the British and break the oaths, or save Jews from extermination (what puzzles me is this quote seems in stark contradiction to his others that seem to favour the formation of the state over saving lives in Europe, so why would he know defy the white paper?)

Hi Mark. I got your letter but I don't understand exactly what you mean to say. Ben Gurion declared a fight against the White Paper because it spelled the doom of the Zionist plan. Without additional Jewish immigration, there would be no way for the "Palestine state" provided for in the White Paper to have a Jewish majority. Furthermore, he also wanted to save Jewish lives. No one claims that he didn't. Only, he wasn't willing to focus his activities on rescuing Jews to anywhere except Palestine. And he wasn't willing to send supplies to Germany in exchange for Jewish lives, because that would render the Zionists traitors to the Allied war effort and they would have no chance at a state after the war.

You portray illegal immigration during the war as breaking the oaths in order to save Jewish lives, and indeed it may have been. This would then depend on the question of whether the oaths are yehareg v'al yaavor.

However, I think that if, when faced with the threat of extermination in Europe, the Zionists had said to the British: "We're giving up all plans of making a Jewish state. Just let the Jews escape to Palestine or anywhere else you want!" - they might have changed their policy on immigration. The White Paper and the immigration quotas were intended to appease the Arabs, who feared the establishment of a Jewish state. If the plan to establish a state had been scrapped by the Jews themselves, the British might have been able to change those quotas without fear of repercussions from the Arabs, whose support they badly needed in the war.

But instead, Ben Gurion declared arrogantly at the Zionist Congress in August 1939, "The White Paper had created a vacuum which must be filled by the Jews themselves. The Jews should act as though they were the State in Palestine, and should so act until there would be a Jewish state there. In those matters in which there were infringements by the Government, the Jews should act as if they were the State."

Another issue that I dont fully understand is how exactly the State relates to forcing the end, how is the mere existence of a Jewish state forcing the end?


"Forcing the end" was traditionally interpreted to refer to false messianic movements, even when they involve no immigration to Eretz Yisroel and no wars. For example, Rabbi Yaakov Emden used it in reference to the Sabbatean movement. The Rambam used it in reference to the false messiah of Yemen. The Midrash applies it to the tribe of Ephraim, who left Egypt 30 years before the Exodus. Rashi on Kesubos takes it a step further and says that even praying too much for the redemption is called "forcing the end". The commentators discuss the question of how much is too much. According to the Chasam Sofer, Rabbi Joseph Della Reyna's efforts to bring the redemption through angelic adjurations was considered too much. The Satmar Rebbe says it applies to the prayers of certain special individuals, such as Rabbi Chiya (Bava Metzia 85b).

Zionism qualifies as a false messianic movement because although they do not claim that any particular person is moshiach, they are doing with their actions the things that moshiach is supposed to do: gather the exiles, build up Eretz Yisroel, fight wars.

Some chareidi supporters of the Zionist state claim, "We're not Zionists. We don't see this as the beginning of the redemption. We see this as just another stage in exile." The problem with this is that you can't just do one thing and call it another. There is simply no precedent throughout the Jewish exile for a Jewish state in Eretz Yisroel, independent, more powerful than most other countries in the world, with almost half the world's Jewish population living in it. It's not exile, even if you call it exile. Imagine if they would build the Temple too, offer all the sacrifices, have a totally religious state, and then say, "This is just exile, we're still waiting for moshiach." Exactly what would they be waiting for moshiach to do?