To the Editor,
In 1947-48, I.F. Stone, independent journalist and thinker, followed the route taken by Jewish refugees and survivors of the Holocaust to the then-British mandate of Palestine.
Jews that had tried to return to the areas, and countries like Poland and Hungary, were being harassed and sometimes murdered. Palestine, though not an ideal destination, was for these people, the only destination.
Stone’s journey began in Poland and Hungary. On the train winding down through Europe, he meets, talks and interviews various characters in this drama; a group of Russian Jewish soldiers discharged from the Red Army on their way to Palestine, some youth from such organizations as the Haganah, all enthusiastic about this whole adventure onto the “promised land.” Many survivors of the Holocaust, for them, Palestine was the only way to go.
Stone experiences a number of challenges including a broken down Turkish freighter in the Mediterranean on his way to Palestine. He arrives and stays for a while. Stone is full of praise for those “pioneers” trying to start another life. He is also full of praise for such organizations as the Haganah and others.
Then Stone, who unlike others that were stuck with their choice of destination, could go home. And he did, back to the U.S.A where he wrote Underground to Palestine, a short but riveting account of his travels.
Toward the end of the book, Stone makes the statement, and this is a quote from memory, “If an understanding with the Palestinians isn’t reached, a two-state solution perhaps, there will be trouble into the future, perhaps forever.”
The American-Jewish intelligence who had backed Israel, came to Stone and said, “We really like your Underground to Palestine, but you have to take that bit about the Palestinians out.”
Stone refused, pointed out that this was the sum of all had written!
Then, Stone was denounced as a “self-hating” Jew, incapable of seeing what was at stake with the founding of the new state of Israel.
To take sides in this present conflict is rather futile. There’s too much “Frog and Scorpion” in the Middle East. However, Israel, after just barely having survived, opted for a powerful military, which one has to admit, has worked quite well for them, except for 2006.
But, military power as we see today, military power goes too far!