New York Post

FRIDAY, MAY 28, 1948

Lion–or Jackal?


The British Symbol Changes as Bevin’s
Policy Displaces the Balfour Promise


An official spokesman of the Foreign Office said a few days ago that Great Britain must support the Arabs in their war against the Jews because of the great alliance with the Arabs during World War II and their contribution to the Allied victory. This announcement is not overburdened with truth. But at the same time Ernst Bevin pretends to be impartial. On May 25 Churchill asked in Parliament whether Bevin “will bear in mind the great importance of our pursuing an evenhanded course of strict impartiality at a time when we are resigning our responsibilities in Palestine?” Mr. Bevin replied: “I have done that. I have quite a clear conscience on that.” At the time he spoke, British officers were directing fire at the Jewish sections of Jerusalem.

When, in 1942, the onslaught of the Axis armies reached their greatest proportions, and they descended on the Middle East from the Caucasus in the north, from Libya in the south, and from Burma in the east, and when the Sunday editions of newspapers carried large maps showing three converging black arrows, Churchill made a most desperate speech, in which he conceded “the great peril that threatens the British Empire.”

At that time the only people in the area between the converging arrows that came to help, voluntarily mobilizing itself and rushing to el-Alamein in invaded Egypt, and that built up an efficient part of the Eighth Army under Montgomery, were the Jewish people of Palestine.

* * *

“Out of a Jewish population of half a million, 137,000 registered for service the moment war broke out,” writes Pierre van Paassen in his book, “The Forgotten Ally.” All of them were volunteers, since Palestine, as a mandated territory, had no conscription. This would be equivalent to 45 million volunteers in the United States. At the time when Montgomery took over from Auchenleck the command in Africa, a quarter of the troops on the African front, according to van Paassen, were Jews. The more than 30 thousand combat soldiers—the defenders of Tobruck, the sappers of the desert, the parachutists who descended behind Rommel’s army—were Jews.

“Palestine furnished to the British armies in Libya, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somaliland, thousands of doctors, nurses, and dentists.” Thousands of truck drivers with their trucks, medical supplies and food for the Eighth Army. “In the fateful hour when Britain’s fate hung in the balance, and when Rommel boasted that as far as he was concerned it was all over but the shouting, the little land of Palestine placed at the disposal of the British Empire and its armies in the Near East an industrial apparatus of 7,000 factories, large and small.”

* * *

“The Jewish Palestine was one of the imponderables that turned the tide against Hitler at the moment when he and almost the whole world least expected it.”

For four years the Mediterranean route was impassable—Italy ruled at its center. Supplies from England, and also from America, had to be shipped around the continent of Africa, a route longer than the equatorial circumference of the globe, over submarine-infested waters. But for Palestine, its production and its volunteers, the army of Montgomery would have been beaten.

At the time of this great emergency, Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia supplied the army of Montgomery with “not even a single donkey.” The Egyptian royal family and the Ministers of Egypt were in direct contact with Rommel; the Egyptian military staff spied for Rommel; and all was prepared for the triumphant entry of Mussolini and Rommel into Egypt. Iraq had already perpetrated its stab in the back, having declared war against the British on May 2, 1941. Syria and Lebanon were under Vichy rule. But the Jews of Palestine helped to quell the rebellion of Iraq, and guarded the pipelines from there to Haifa in Palestine. Besides, almost a million Jews served in the Allied armies all around the world.

* * *

In the fable, a wolf had a bone stuck in his throat and was choking. In his distress he begged help of a crane, promising eternal friendship and every favor. The crane put his head into the wolf’s mouth and removed the bone with his beak. When he asked the promised reward, the wolf replied: “Is it not enough that I did not bite off your head when it was in my mouth?”

But the British Lion actually tried, and still tries, to bite off the head of the Jewish crane.

* * *

As late as 1944, when refugees from Hungary and Romania could have been saved from Hitler’s death camps, Great Britain slammed the doors of Palestine in their faces. When the war was over Britain hunted down Jewish survivors of the death camps with the Royal Navy, killing some, imprisoning all the others.

A fortnight ago the British murdered, with the hands of the Arab Legion, 300 men, women, and children of Kfar Etzion. Today British officers direct the shelling of Jewish Jerusalem, its University, its synagogues, its hospitals.

The greatest retribution that could be inflicted on the British for all this is the transformation of the Lion into a cowardly and ungrateful creature, the degeneration of a once noble nation into the spiritual heirs of Hitler.