The Watchman Time Magazine, August 16, 1948, p. 25.

Peter Myers, July 29, 2001; update December 20, 2014. The bold emphasis is original, but I have added the italics; my comments are shown {thus}.

Write to me at contact.html.

You are at http://mailstar.net/bengur48.html.

{start}

The Jews beat the Arabs.

Out of the concentration camps, ghettoes, banks, courtrooms, theaters and factories of Europe the Chosen People had assembled and had won their first great military victory since Judas Maccabeus* beat the Syrian Nicator at Adasa 2,109 years ago.

{footnote} *: For six years (166-160 B.C.) he led pious Jews in rebellion against the Greeks, who had dedicated the temple in Jerusalem to the worship of Olympian Zeus and sacrificed pigs on the altar. Three centuries later the Jewish hero Bar Kochba led a less successful three-year rebellion against the Romans, briefly set himself up as king in Jerusalem. {end footnote}

Their success has been hidden from the world by U.N. manouvering and by a confusing war of a hundred skirmishes with no real battles. Although, in years to come, fighting might break out again & again, its probable pattern was fixed: the Jews were too tough, too smart and too vigorous for the divided and debilitated Arab world to conquer.

As the U.N. truce settled on Palestine last week it seemed probable that the new state of Israel, already recognized by 15 nations, would seek and get U.N. membership at next fall's meeting in Paris. It was time to stop pondering the settled question of whether there would be a Jewish state, time to start asking what kind of nation Israel was. The world - every corner of it - knew Jews, but Israelis were not the Jews that most of the world knew. Two milleniums of sorrow and insecurity in a hostile world had put their stamp on the character of this people. In Israel, a few years of struggle to build a state, a few months at the center of the world stage, a few weeks of battle had superimposed another, bolder stamp. That the Israelis' victory had come just after the worst of a thousand persecutions, that it had been won by those who survived the slaughter of 6,000,000, made the newly-minted Jewish character gleam brighter.

Political Bonds. The new Israelis walked with a confident swagger along the beach front at Tel Aviv. They talked confidently - indeed, stridently - of a state of ten million, not necessarily confined to the present boundaries of Israel. It was a bad joke, and also a sober observation, that the idea of Drang nach Osten lived in the new nation of Hitler's victims. As they looked around them at a disorganized and unproductive Arab world, the Israelis showed some of the reactions of the prewar Germans looking around a disorganized and unproductive Europe.

Jewish traditions of peace and democracy run deep, but the Israelis had been transferred so quickly from the depths of Europe to the heights of superiority in the Middle East that they could not escape the political equivalent of deep-sea divers' bends. The new blood of nationalism ran fast and hot in Israel; sometimes it seemed to be gushing out on the ground. Pleading for more understanding and tolerance of Israel, one sympathetic observer warned, "This could become an ugly little Spartan state."

Israel's present leaders are determined that their nation will not take that path. Foremost and most determined among them is David Ben-Gurion, Premier and Defense-Minister, labor leader and philosopher, hardheaded, unsociable and abrupt politician, a prophet who carries a gun.

Mystical Ends. Ben-Gurion lives on a typical Tev Aviv boulevard, in a two-story stucco house, distinguished from its neighbors only by the soldiers with sten guns at the entrance. In his library about a third of the books are on military history and tactics; next in number are books about Greek philosophy and Buddha, his current study. (Zionists all over the world scout up rare Buddhist books for Ben-Gurion.)

In a ground floor study, its windows bricked up against air raids, Ben-Gurion recently sat and answered a reporter's questions with terse frankness.

"Can you conquer the Arabs?"

"Against the Arabs we are one against 40."

"Won't Israel grow?"

"There are eleven million Jews in the world. I don't say that all of them will come here, but I expect several million, and with natural increase I can quite imagine a Jewish state of ten million."

"Can that many be accomodated within the U.N. partition boundaries of Israel?"

"I doubt it."

Then Ben-Gurion dropped his matter-of-fact manner. The labor politician was replaced by the prophet. A dreamer's stare veiled his blue eyes. The room was small but his voice throbbed loudly, as if speaking to multitudes against the winds on Mount Carmel.

"We would not have taken on this war merely for the purpose of enjoying this tiny state. There have been only two great peoples: the Greeks and the Jews. Perhaps the Greeks were even greater than the Jews, but now I can see no sign of that old greatness in the modern Greeks. Maybe, when the present process is finished we too will degenerate, but I see no sign of degeneration at present."

His voice took on a deeper tone.

"Suffering makes a people greater, and we have suffered much. We had a message to give the world, but we were overwhelmed, and the message was cut off in the middle. In time there will be millions of us - becoming stronger and stronger - and we will complete the message."

"What is the message?" the reporter asked.

"Our policy must be the unity of the human race. The world is divided into two blocs. We consider that the United Nations is a Jewish ideal."

At that point, Ben-Gurion descended from Mount Carmel. "Perhaps," he said apologetically, "this may sound rather chauvinistic." ...

{end}

Update Dec. 20, 2014: I received an email doubting the veracity of this interview, but have found that the whole interview is reproduced in this book, on pp. 316-8:

Major Problems in American Foreign Relations, Volume II: Since 1914, Volume 2 By Dennis Merrill, Thomas Paterson, Cengage Learning, 10 Sep 2009.

You can see p. 316 at

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=cQAIAAAAQBAJ&pg=PA317&lpg=PA317&dq=%22As+the+U.N.+truce+settled+on+Palestine+last+week

and p. 317 at

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=cQAIAAAAQBAJ&pg=PA317&lpg=PA317&dq=%22+pondering+the+settled+question+of+whether+there+would+be+a+Jewish+state

and p. 318 at

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=r6V1LV-sRCAC&pg=PA318&lpg=PA318&dq=%22multitudes+against+the+winds+on+Mount+Carmel

{end}

Ben-Gurion writes about the Bible & its role in re-establishing Israel as a light to the nations: bengur-bible.html.

Ben-Gurion's forecast of World Government by 1987: tmf.html.

Write to me at contact.html.

HOME