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2/16/03

AMERICAN JEWS, ISRAEL, AND IRAQ

By Sheldon Drobny

On the eve of war against Iraq, there has not been a single news report in the U.S. mainstream media concerning the Israeli Governmentís position on the U.S.ís preemptive strike policy towards Iraq.  Perhaps the Bush Administration has asked the Israeli Government to keep silent about Iraq so as not to fuel any more fire among Palestinians. 

Clearly, a war against Iraq will have a significant impact on the safety of Israel.  Unlike the Gulf War, a defeated Iraqi military will not hesitate to use biological and chemical weapons against Israel.  Would the Government of Israel put its people in harmís way to satisfy its U.S. ally? 

Many American Jews must have thought about this likelihood, because it is so obvious.  So why have we not spoken out about the danger?  It is an important question that American Jews should address.  There is already too great a history of Jewish bloodshed caused by mistaken, shortsighted alliances.  The Zionist pact with Hitlerís Germany in 1933 is one example.

Most people are unaware of as unlikely an alliance as that between Hitler and the Zionists.  My father taught me about this, among many other events that have been redacted from history books.  In 1985, Edwin Black wrote a detailed account of the pact in his book, The Transfer Agreement.  Black reports a shocking account of shortsighted treachery by the Zionist movement to emigrate Jews from Germany to Palestine.  The authors of the pact included David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, and Chaim Weitzman.

The book never had an audience, and was quickly and surreptitiously taken off the shelves.  What Blackís book painstakingly proves is that in 1933, while the rest of world Jewry was organizing an economic boycott of the new Nazi regime in Germany, the Zionists based in Jerusalem decided to make Germany Palestineís chief trading partner.  The Nazis and the Zionists had one very important thing in common.  Both wanted the Jews out of Germany. 

To accommodate such a transfer of Jews, an agreement was arranged whereby each Jew wishing to leave Germany for Palestine would be forced to use his capital to purchase German goods.  Thus, while World Jewry was busy fighting Nazi Germany economically, those Zionists were saving Germany from financial ruin.  The Zionists were also instrumental in canceling the economic boycott of Germany in 1933, with the understanding that all 500,000 German Jews would be allowed to immigrate to Palestine. 

The early Nazi government was on the verge of economic collapse when the boycott ended at the behest of those Zionists.  Fewer than 50,000 German Jews emigrated to Palestine as a result of the Transfer Agreement, as the pact was called.  The recovery of the German economy set the tone for the impending disaster that was to face the Jews and the rest of the world.  Who could have foreseen such a terrible consequence of those Zionists who were really trying to save the Jews from German anti-Semitism?  The Zionests surely thought it sensible to promote the emigration of Jews from Germany to Palestine.

Today it may seem sensible for Israel to support the impending U.S. military action against Iraq.  After all, Saddam Hussein is an evil and ruthless enemy of Israel.  Israel has for years followed a policy of containment against Iraq, with one exception.  In 1981, Israel destroyed a nuclear power plant in Iraq that was built by the French.  Israel could not allow Iraq to obtain fissionable material that could be used to build an atomic weapon.  At about the same time Israel destroyed the nuclear plant, the United States was busy arming Iraq with chemical and biological weapons for its impending war against Iran.

It is ironic that the United Nations condemned Israel for the 1981 attack against Iraq and is now seeking to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction.  Perhaps the U.N. should thank Israel today for preventing Iraq from obtaining nuclear capability, something that was very likely but for Israeli intervention in 1981.  And so it goes with the paradoxes of ever-changing political alliances. 

An invasion of Iraq by the United States will almost certainly have negative effects on Israel.  Thousands of Israelis will lose their lives as a result of Iraqi suicide attacks.  And it is very likely that Palestinian violence against Israel will increase dramatically as a result of a defeated Iraq, and the consequent death and destruction to its people.

It must be clear to any sound thinking person that if Iraq were really a threat to its neighbors, Israel would have acted in its own self interest as it did in 1981, to rid Iraq of any weapons of mass destruction.  The acquiescence of the current Israeli Government to the attack against Iraq may seem sensible today, but may result in the loss of many Israeli lives, and there may even be worse consequences.  We will not know for sure until we look back with regret, when the next painful lesson is learned.

Let us pray that these fears will not become reality.

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Sheldon Drobny is co-founder of Air America Radio, providing talk radio for the majority of Americans.

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