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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Marci Shore, "The Jewish Hero History Forgot": Is The New York Times Questioning the Need for a Jewish State?

Go to "The Opinion Pages" ( of today's New York Times, and there you will currently see on the upper left hand side of your computer screen a black and white rendition of people wading through a sewer together with a link to an op-ed contributor piece by Marci Shore entitled "The Jewish Hero History Forgot." The accompanying blurb by The Times:

"Not everyone who fought in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising saw a Jewish state as the ultimate goal."

In her contributor op-ed piece, Ms. Shore, an associate professor of history at Yale University, writes of Marek Edelman, a commander of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising who remained in Poland after World War II :

"The Jews who found themselves sealed within the ghetto, like the millions of other Jews living in Eastern Europe, were deeply divided — by language and religiosity and class, by national identification and political ideology. Inside the ghetto were Polish speakers and Yiddish speakers; Orthodox, Hasidic, secular Jews; assimilated Jews and nationalists. The Zionists ranged from radical right to radical left. And most politicized Jews were not Zionists; some were Polish socialists, some Communists, some members of the secular socialist Bund. A debate raged between Zionists and the Bund over the issue of 'hereness' versus 'thereness' — and the Bund believed firmly that the future of the Jews was here, in Poland, alongside their non-Jewish neighbors.

. . . .

Edelman, who had survived by escaping through the sewers, was the last living commander of the uprising. After the war, in Communist Poland, he became a cardiologist: 'to outwit God,' as he once said. In the 1970s and ’80s he re-emerged in the public sphere as an activist in the anti-Communist opposition, working with the Committee for the Defense of Workers and the Solidarity movement. He died in 2009, and to this day, he is celebrated as a hero in Poland.

He is remembered with more ambivalence in Israel. 'Israel has a problem with Jews like Edelman,' the Israeli author Etgar Keret told a Polish newspaper in 2009. 'He didn’t want to live here. And he never said that he fought in the ghetto so that the state of Israel would come into being.' Not even Moshe Arens, a former Israeli defense minister and an admirer of Edelman, could persuade an Israeli university to grant the uprising hero an honorary degree."

And yet, on Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, less than two weeks ago, Israeli television broadcast the movie "Defiance" concerning the Bielski partisans, a group led by three Jewish brothers who saved Jews and fought the Nazis in Belarus during the Second World War. Both Tuvia Bielski, the commander of this partisan unit, and his brother Zus Bielski, made their homes in New York after the war. They are heroes in Israel, notwithstanding the fact that they did not make "aliyah," i.e. immigrate to Israel.

I have no beef with Ms. Shore's piece. She is entitled to her opinion. But I can assure her that Edelman's decision to remain in a Communist, anti-Semitic Poland after the war (42 Jews died in the Kielce pogrom in 1946) is now a non-issue in Israel. Israel is too concerned with existential threats emanating from Iran and its proxies, Hezbollah, which has 60,000 rockets and missiles pointed south, and the crumbling Assad regime in Syria, which still controls one of world's largest arsenals of chemical weapons.

Jews may soon be fighting again for survival.

On the other hand, what does the Gray Lady mean when it writes "Not everyone who fought in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising saw a Jewish state as the ultimate goal"? Is The Times hinting that notwithstanding a rising level of global anti-Semitism, there is today no need for a Jewish state?

Given the rising level of anti-Semitism that has slithered its way into The Times in recent years, I think there is reason for concern regarding the ulterior motives of this newspaper, which disregards its own ethical guidelines as regards Israel (see, for example:


  1. The Times anti-Jewish bias (not anti-Zionist) is appalling.

    It sent an ignorant writer to write about the Siyum Hashas where 90,000 Orthodox Jews gathered to celebrate the seven years of Talmudical learning cycle.

    It was like sending a fashion editor to the nuclear arms treaty in Geneva.

    The Times almost never writes about the good deeds and organizations the Orthodox have both here and in Israel or elsewhere.

    It never calls Palestinians who blow up innocent Israeli men, women and children "terrorists."

    It has never apologized for downplaying the murder of 20,000 Jews a day in Nazi Germany. It may apologize—when hell freezes over.

  2. "It has never apologized for downplaying the murder of 20,000 Jews a day in Nazi Germany"
    I don't know what you mean by "Nazi Germany?"
    Most Jews who were murdered were not German Jews. 2/3 of German Jews emigrated.
    The NYT just didn't notice the Holocaust. It was convenient so.

  3. I tend not to judge Holocaust survivors, however, I do have a problem with those who allow themselves to be used by the enemies of their people. Edelman isn't a hero of mine and he wasn't exactly in opposition. Anti-Israelism was an official line of the Soviet Union and Poland. He was in Poland in 1968 during an ugly anti-Semitic campaign against "the Zionists," "suggested" by the Soviet Union. I know of a conversation a uncomfortable crypto-Jewish student at UJ (Jagiellonian U.) had with a classmate: "Are you Jewish,?" she hesitantly asked. "But I am non-ZIONIST," her uncomfortable classmate retorted and started to avoid the "asker." This was the ambiance of the time. Tell me again that he, an adamant anti-Zionist, was in opposition. Yes, the NYT is questioning the need for the Jewish State.

  4. My last comment (at 6;54) needs to be corrected.

    "I know of a conversation between an uncomfortable crypto-Jewish student at UJ (Jagiellonian U.) and a classmate: "Are you Jewish,?" the first hesitantly asked. "But I am NOT A ZIONIST," her uncomfortable classmate retorted and started to avoid the "asker."