ISRAEL AND THE UNITED STATES
To the Editors of The Crimson:
(1) Chris Richardson (March 15) quotes Theodor Herzl to prove Israel is a "tool...of imperialist powers." This is equivalent to quoting Marx to explain China's current position and policies. Richardson, ignorant of the history of Zionism, is unaware that the moving element in the foundation of Zionism and the creation of a Jewish national community in Palestine was not Herzl but the poor Jews of Eastern Europe, living under the persecution of Czarist Russia. These Jews were for the most part socialist and their aim was to establish a commonweaath that oppressed nobody. They created the uniquely successful collective and cooperative colonies which became one of the most important institutions of the Jewish community, as well as a democratic state governed by socialists.
(2) Imperialism had nothing to do with the establishment of the state of Israel, and has nothing to do with the current support of Israel by the United States. It was established because the world was faced with the problem of a few hundred survivors of the Nazi holocaust who were unwelcome anywhere, and because a national community of 600,000 Jews already existed in Palestine. No imperialist state supported their settlement there, and they came through no imperialist motive: they came to escape Russian, Polish, and German persecution. They came to escape a massacre to which all great states, capitalist or communist, western or eastern, imperialist or any other term you will, were indifferent.
(3) The United States does not support Israel for any imperialist motives. Quite the contrary, its position in the Arab states--whether reactionary, conservative, or so-called revolutionary--would be infinitely stronger if it did not support Israel, for it could then compete more effectively against Soviet Russia for influence in the Middle East. The United States supports Israel, as anyone unblinded by ideology could see, because it is fortunately less dependent on Arab oil than Western Europe is, because most Americans want to see Israel as a small democratic nation survive, and because American Jews, committed to Israel's survival and the prevention of a new holocaust, use whatever influence they have to make their concerns known to their political representatives.
(3) The Israel Emergency Fund is used for the integration of immigrants, for the most part refugees. In earlier years they came principally from Arab countries, which they were forced to flee; recently they have come mostly from Soviet Russia. The sums raised by the Israel Emergency Fund scarcely meet the costs of immigrant integration, and are supplemented by funds raised by the state of Israel through the heaviest taxation in the world. To argue against the humanitarian work of the Israel Emergency Fund because Israel must buy arms and maintain armed forces to defend itself is vicious or stupid: such an argument would prevent aid to any nation on earth, even if its people were starving, because all maintain armed forces for their defense.
One hopes Richardson will now supplement the little anti-Semitic handbook from which he gleaned his irrelevant quotation from Herzl with fuller sources. Nathan Glazer Professor of Education and Sociology