Giving away other people’s stuff

Reading Klein’s and Meginnis’s posts on the US & Co. giving away other people’s land for a Jewish state, I wanted to note that it seems likely that Holocaust survivors themselves would have preferred American to Palestinian land. An extended footnote in Chomsky’s Fateful Triangle (pg. 92) lays out the evidence:

To my knowledge, there has been no serious study of this question. For conflicting opinions, see Lieut.-General Morgan, British Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander, 1943-44, and Chief of UNRRA (the UN Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) Operations in Germany, 1945-46; and Yehuda Bauer, a well known Israeli historian.

Morgan believes that what “was represented as being a spontaneous surge of tortured and persecuted people toward their long-lost homeland” was in fact the result of superb Zionist organization and “iron discipline” in the camps, misrepresented by “the skill of the Zionist propaganda campaign.” “I fancy that, in reality, there were few among the travelers [Jewish refugees from Easterm Europe] who, of their own free will, would have gone elsewhere than to the U.S.A.”

Bauer, in contrast, concludes that the vast majority of the refugees preferred to go to Palestine, citing a UNRRA questionnaire indicating that 96.8% preferred to go to Palestine with only 393 of 19,311 wanting to go to the U.S.

He also concludes that by late 1947 about half would have preferred to go to the U.S., though after establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948 “most Jews chose it” — no alternative was in fact available.

The Report to President Truman by his envoy Earl G. Harrison on the conditions and needs of displaced persons concluded that Palestine was the first choice of the Jewish DPs, noting however that many want to go there “because they realize that their opportunity to be admitted into the United States or into other countries in the Western hemisphere is limited, if not impossible.”

I also like how well this recaptures the spirit of the Emancipation Proclamation, this time ceding uncontrolled land rather than out-of-jurisdiction slaves.Brilliant!

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