Israel’s Peculiar Position by Eric Hoffer 1968

Jun 16th, 2010 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Reflections & Observations
You probably don’t remember the  name Eric Hoffer.

He was a longshoreman who turned  into a philosopher, wrote columns for newspapers and some books. 
He was a non-Jewish American social  philosopher. 
He was born in 1902 and died in 1983, after writing nine books and winning the Presidential Medal  of Freedom. 
His first book, The True Believer, published in 1951, was widely recognized as a  classic.

Eric Hoffer was  one of the most influential American philosophers and free  thinkers of the 20th Century.  His books are still  widely read and quoted today.  Acclaimed for his  thoughts on mass movements and fanaticism, Hoffer was  awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983.   Hopewell Publications awards the best in independent  publishing across a wide range of categories, singling out  the most thought provoking titles in books and short prose,  on a yearly basis in honor of Eric Hoffer.

Here is  one of his columns from 1968 — 42 years ago! Some  things never change!


…by  Eric Hoffer

Los Angeles  Times May 26,  1968.

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. 
But in the case of Israel , the displaced Arabs have become  eternal refugees. 
Everyone insists that Israel must take back every  single one.

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 [1967], 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 Blacks are executed in   Rhodesia . 
But, when Hitler slaughtered Jews no one demonstrated  against him.

The Swedes, who were ready to break off diplomatic  relations with America because of what we did 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 troops in Norway .

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 [1967] 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 all.