Revisiting a prescient article by philosopher Eric Hoffer published just after the Six-Day War.
In 1968, a longshoreman named Eric Hoffer wrote an amazing op-ed in the LA Times, which is as relevant today as it was then. He was a non-Jewish American social philosopher who wrote newspaper columns, as well as books. He died in 1983, after writing nine books and winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His first book, The True Believer, published in 1951, is widely recognized as a classic. Eric Hoffer was one of the most influential American philosophers and free thinkers of the 20th Century.
Acclaimed for his thoughts on fanaticism, Hoffer's LA Times column from May 26, 1968 is worth rereading. Entitled “Israel’s peculiar position,” he said:
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.
Indeed, today in the year 2014 we hear about the Palestinian Arab claim for the right of return – yet no one discusses the one million Jews from Arab and Muslim states, who were forced to flee persecution, imprisonment and pogroms. While there is so much talk today about the need for refugees to be protected, Jewish refugees naturally are ignored.
Hoffer further states:
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.
The facts are simply that in 1967, Israel tried desperately to avoid war, endlessly tried to avert it, and this young nation faced threats from the entire world. Israel won the defensive war, and indeed, to the victors go the spoils -- even when they are Jewish.
In 1967, Hoffer said,
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.
Indeed, in February 2014, in Central Africa, 800,000 Muslims have fled their homes, and an entire nation’s Muslims are endangered. It’s not news – yet every time the Jews lift a finger to protect themselves, the world goes nuts. As it was in 1968 when Hoffer wrote this article it is in the year 2014, when the world endlessly condemns and criticizes Israel – the Jews are alone in the world.
As Hoffer concluded, “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.” Indeed, the enemies of Israel remain the enemies of America – there’s big Satan and little Satan for the Muslim fundamentalists.
And I, Ronn Torossian, realize that history often repeats itself – and this article from 1968 is just as relevant in 2014 as it was then.
Hoffer said in a later interview that
A world that did not lift a finger when Hitler was wiping out six million Jewish men, women, and children is now saying that the Jewish state of Israel will not survive if it does not come to terms with the Arabs. My feeling is that no one in this universe has the right and the competence to tell Israel what it has to do in order to survive. On the contrary, it is Israel that can tell us what to do. It can tell us that we shall not survive if we do not cultivate and celebrate courage, if we coddle traitors and deserters, bargain with terrorists, court enemies, and scorn friends.
President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry should heed these words – and stop kowtowing to terrorists. They’d also do well to leave Israel alone – Israel remains the only country in the world that suffers universal criticism and condemnation.
Just last year Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the international community of "deafening silence" in response to Hamas threatening to destroy Israel. As Netanyahu said: “This weekend the leader of Hamas, sitting next to the Hamas leader of Gaza, a man who praised Osama Bin Laden, this weekend openly called for the destruction of Israel. Where was the outrage? Where were the U.N. resolutions? Where was President Abbas? Why weren't Palestinian diplomats summoned to European and other capitals to explain why the PA president not only refused to condemn this but actually declared his intention to unite with Hamas? There was nothing. There was silence and it was deafening silence."
Indeed, today as in 1968, Israel is very much alone.
Don't miss Jamie Glazov's video interview with Mudar Zahran, a secular leader of Palestinians in Jordan who has been living in exile in the UK since 2010. He calls out John Kerry on his Mideast "Peace" Plan -- and asks why a U.S. Secretary of State is threatening Israel to commit suicide:
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