THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 264
Chapter 7: Aliyah: Time to Go Home
 
 
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264 The Story of the Jewish Defense League

bThe scenario was an old one, last repeated, tragically, in bthe prewar period of the 1930’s as the specter of Adolf bHitler loomed over an East European Jewry living amid the bhatred of Poles, Lithuanians, Latvians, Hungarians, Ukrai- bnians, Slovaks, and Rumanians. When Zev Jabotinsky, the bsingle most brilliant Zionist giant of his day, the one who was bso hated and feared by the Jewish leadership of the time, bsaw what he called the “danger zone” or “zone of distress” of bEast European Jewry, he cried out for an evacuation plan to bsave the Jews of Eastern Europe. As early as 1932 he had bstated: “Several million Jews must, in the nearest future, bevacuate the main centers of Eastern Europe and create in bPalestine a national Jewish State.”

bThe Jewish leadership of Poland was aghast and furious. bThe members of the editorial staff of the paper for which he bwrote demanded that he stop. A vociferous Jabotinsky op- bponent, Noah Prilutzky, said: “Jabotinsky wants to evacuate bfrom Poland a considerable part of her present Jewish bpopulation, and I would like to have here not three and a bhalf but seven million Jews; this would increase our strength bin fighting the anti-Semites.”

bThe famous Jewish author Sholom Asch declared that b“what Jabotinsky is now doing in Poland goes beyond all blimits. . . . Heaven help a people with such leaders.” In bPalestine, the Histadrut organ Davar ridiculed “the Fuehrer bJabotinsky who all these years had been busily distorting bevery sound idea in Zionism.” The paper then added, “We bJews will not let ourselves be expelled to Palestine with the bhelp of Polish anti-Semites.”

bThe attacks on and the defamation of Jabotinsky reached brecord heights. He was pilloried, mocked, condemned, and bthe masses were lulled to sleep. How tragic that Asch ap- bpeared at a press conference in Jerusalem in 1952, sixteen byears and six million Jews later, to declare that “I deeply bregret that I fought against Jabotinsky’s evacuation plan.” It bwas too late for regrets for the six million. But the Jewish bpeople never learn and the only lesson that we do learn from bhistory is that no lessons are learned.

bIt was clear from the attacks by the entire Jewish Estab- b 

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THE STORY OF THE JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE Page 264
Chapter 7: Aliyah: Time to Go Home