19 July 2015

A more nuanced view of Zionism

3 Menachem Av 5775

The blogger known as Devash, whose blog is Tomer Devorah, recently posted an article by Reb Daniel Pinner of K'far Tapuah, How Are The Mighty Fallen!

The second half of this article is about the part of Zionism the vast majority of people in the world don't know about, much less discuss: what is today called Revisionist Zionism, led by Vladimir Jabotinsky.

I'm sure that I, like many people, didn't fully know who Jabotinsky was, especially how close his connection was to the Zionist movement and how much he initiated within it before the Leftist leadership got rid of him. So, I've investigated more on the subject and hope to contribute my small part to the commentary.

Here, exposed, is the Left and Right of Zionism — Socialists (or Labor Zionists) and Revisionists, respectively — as well as a Left and a Right to religious Jewish groups (off-topic for today). Most people who hate Zionism in fact despise its Socialist side (and, in fact, have good reason for so doing); however, they might be mistaken if they think it is the whole of Zionism. The same goes for those who think that all the European rabbis in WWII times were responsible for keeping themselves and their followers there, to be slaughtered by our ever-present enemies, then in the form of the Nazis. They might also have no idea that those spiritual leaders they have no respect for might have been of similar bent as the leftist Zionists; would they have wanted to be lulled to sleep in the lands of their exile as much as the socialist Zionists wanted to lull them? — and that there were many who really wanted to leave and bring their followers along, but were refused by the nasty Leftists, some of whom were exposed later (e.g., Rudolf Kastner, whom al-HaAretz is STILL trying to exonerate in this 2013 article.*). 

There is far, far more to the story of how millions of Jews were left behind to the tender mercies of the Nazis than this summary can give. I, too, believe that an incredible number of Jews could have been saved from the Holocaust — and Zionism itself would have a better reputation today — if Ze'ev Vladimir Jabotinsky had been its leader at the moment of decision.

In the merit of Ze'ev ben Yevno v'Chava, I also wonder how much more we would have been able to accomplish here in Eretz Yisrael in preparation for the Geulah Shlemah (Complete Redemption) of the Jewish People and the world.

*Note for those who can't read it but want to: I believe I got the full-length premium article because it came up in a search - I am never able to read an entire HaAretz article when other people offer these links, so it makes me care even less about that dirty rag, in addition to not appreciating the commenters who offer them — not to mention that I will never pay for a subscription to read the very occasional article I read and, even less often, refer to. Google "kastner trial" and click on "Israel Kastner vs Hannah Szenes: Who was really the hero during the Holocaust?" It helps to keep in mind that the issue was the majority of the population of Hungarian Jews whom Kastner left behind; he could have saved them all and didn't try.


Dassie said...

I've always loved Hannah Senesh (sp?).

She had the soul of a poet and the heart of a lioness.

Neshama said...

This is such a hot topic, even after so many years. Once the frum Rabbis decided that zionists and zionism was dangerous to the soul, there was no way either version would have held sway. There were some Rabbis that told their followers to leave; however, by the time they did it was in many cases too late. There is so much controversy about 'who' 'when' 'what' and 'to where' that its difficult to really know for sure.

In any event, Hashem was there in the midst of the tragedy, and we will understand much more about this once Moshiach comes to clarify everything. Events are not always the way they seem as written about and to our earthly minds.

Very good piece, Hava.

Neshama said...

I forgot to add that the Erev Rav were not and are not going to go down without a tremendous fight. They are against anything that is "Torah" sourced. This is what we are enmeshed with here in Israel. However, Hashem has His way of working clandestinely, IOW He utilizes the evil to do the good.

HDG, Yerushalayim, E"Y Shlemah said...

Neshama, do you think the Rabbis then knew that much about Revisionism — since the Socialists squashed it down quite a bit, so that you and I have to dig a lot to find it — that they would not consider it more favorably, even a little? And I wonder how much of their understanding was clouded by galut mentality. I don't know the answer and I'm not putting them down; I leave the main analysis to ravs like David Bar Hayim, who know and can explain it better.

HDG, Yerushalayim, E"Y Shlemah said...

Dassie - I know. And al-Haaretz dared to try to make her the villain!

I spelled Hannah Szenes the way it was written in the article, likely the Hungarian way. You probably pronounce it correctly and spell it the American way, as most of us would.

Thanks again!

Dassie said...

You know, re-reading this post again....
Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld was very, very into Jewish settlement of Eretz Yisrael up to his death in 1932. Even as he valiantly fought the Leftist Labor-Zionists, he was very encouraging of Jewish settlement and aliyah. He also risked his life to walk through the most dangerous parts of Yerushalayim's Old City just to show claim to that part of Eretz Yisrael -- much in the spirit of Avraham Avinu.
Sorry if I'm telling you stuff you already know!
But your article and Neshama's comments, and Devash's article strongly recall him for me.

HDG, Yerushalayim, E"Y Shlemah said...

Dassie - thank you so much for this comment! I'll have to be on the lookout for Rav Sonnenfeld, zz"l.

Please, don't worry about telling me things I already know. Someone who passes by could learn a thing or two from you!

Dassie said...

Thanks, CDG!
So with your permission, I'd like to say the following: Rav Sonnenfeld's biography is called "Guardian of Jerusalem" and written by his grandson. The original Hebrew is two volumes (in English, it is one volume), called "Ish al Hachomah" and apparently contains tons of photos of original documents. I don't know what bookstores are near you, but it is sold at Feldheim and Ohr Hachaim for around 120NIS. A lot of frum book libraries have it, too.
It changed my life and gave me the hashkafah I have today.
I don't know what your background is, but all the Israeli history I learned in secular Hebrew school was blown out the window by this book, which tells the true stories behind all the propaganda we were fed.
The book was a total shocker in just the way I needed when I first read it 20 years ago.
For example, as you already know, secular Zionist history always portrays the religious as troublemakers and in pre-Medinat Yisrael, as if all problems with non-Jewish sovreigns were caused by the religious Jews and averted by the Leftists. Well, this book shows how Ben-Yehudah's recklessness incited the Turkish Empire against the Jews of Israel and if it weren't for secret intervention by the Sephardi chachamim, ALL Jews in the Empire (including Eretz Yisrael) would have been expelled. (But this is not the way Ben-Yehudah's crew chronicled the incident, of course.)
Another example: It tells of how frum Jews formed "The Jewish Guard" as early as 1820 and carried out military reprisals, ambushes, and even performed rescues against Bedouin and Arab terrorists - long before the Haganah was even a concept.
Pistols were even called "shmerelech" after two Guard leaders by the name of Shmerel Luria and Shmerel Zuckerman, who were devoted to arming every Guard member with a pistol.
And much more.

Neshama said...

Dassie, thanks, that was very interesting.

HDG, Yerushalayim, E"Y Shlemah said...

Dassie, I was so secular, we didn't even fast on Yom Kippur and we had "hanukkah bushes." Shhh! Don't tell anybody! ;)

I never went to Hebrew school, but I managed to hear some of the stories that were told of those times, mostly the secular versions.

They really couldn't get away with getting all the credit for all the great things that happened. Miracles are miracles. HaShem wants us to feel good inside our skins for a change, because real fathers do that, don't they? I was 11 during the 6-Day War and it made me feel good for a while. But the rub is how our victory was handled at the time: because the government was willing to compromise, a Jew was still restricted from going around in certain places here two years later. I didn't understand this. We won, right? I guess wrong, since we (tho I wasn't here then) didn't follow through and do it His way.

Worst of all, we let Moshe Dayan hand the keys of Har haBayit to the Arabs. Why, oh why? Who was twisting our arm so that we couldn't take full possession of what had been won??? From the fact that we have these questions and more, you have to know there are some holes in the secular story.

What you have told here is very valuable. Thank you, Dassie. Truth will be told.