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Old 05-17-2019, 01:29 PM
thorny locust's Avatar
thorny locust is offline
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Upstate New York
Posts: 1,661
All the Semitic peoples were similarly othered at the time by a large percentage of the population of Europe and of North America. Jews and Arabs alike were seen by many as swarthy, hook-nosed (despite the presence of significant numbers of both groups who were neither), members of non-Christian and therefore suspicious religions, members of outsider cultures.

Would it have been better to hand over a chunk of Germany, instead of a chunk of Palestine, in order to create a Jewish state? That's certainly arguable. Did that have the remotest chance of happening? No, it did not. Was the reason that it had no chance of happening due to an attitude that European countries had rights which Middle Eastern, African, and many other countries in the world had not? Yes, it was. Was that reason based on bigotry? Yes, it was.

But the problem wasn't bigotry of one Semitic people against another. There was certainly some of that, in both directions; but that wasn't why Jews weren't offered part of Germany. We weren't offered part of Germany because most Europeans were much happier with the idea of dumping one othered people on top of another othered people than with the idea that a European country should be dismantled for that purpose. (Not that European countries didn't dismantle other European countries. But they handed out the chunks to each other; not to people they thought of as not really belonging there at all.)

Some seem to think it's obvious that a choice about safety would have led to moving to the USA or Canada. They're forgetting, or never learned, that the reason there were so many Jews in Germany in the first place was that for quite a few years before the 1930's Germany had been one of the best, and safest, places in the world to be Jewish. Why should people who had just had Germany betray them in that fashion have assumed that Canada or the USA wouldn't do likewise? It's not as if there were no antisemitism in those countries at the time. There was quite a bit of it. Here's just one example, from 1939: possibly one of the last things some of the survivors had heard from the USA before they got shipped off to camps.

Does that mean that everything Israel does now is perfectly fine? Of course it doesn't; and I don't believe anybody in this thread has said so. And it seems to me that most in the thread, me included, have defended Omar and Tlaib. But to the extent that the issue of how much of what happens in 2019 should be informed by what happened in the 1940's (a standard for existence of a nation that, like others, I note nobody else seems to be held to): I don't think it's useful to consider what happened in the 1940's as if Jews living in Europe at the time were considered just the same as all other people living in Europe. If they had been, we'd never have had the Holocaust in the first place.