Early Zionists Refused Entry to Elderly, Sick Jews into Palestine

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Ayman Ahmed

Rajab 28, 1443 2022-03-01

News & Analysis

by Ayman Ahmed (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 51, No. 1, Rajab, 1443)

Zionist propagandists and their apologists in North America and Europe never tire of highlighting the suffering of the Jewish people before and during the Second World War. They say that had the state of Israel existed before the Second World War, millions of Jews would have been saved from extermination. How sincere were the early Zionists in protecting the vulnerable, sick and elderly Jews?

In his new book, Haifa University Professor Gur Alroey exposes shocking details of refusal to bring vulnerable and frail Jews to historic Palestine under British Mandate. This, according to Alroey, led to the death and murder of tens of thousands of Jews. Alroey’s book published in the Hebrew-language is titled, Land of Refuge: Immigration to the Land of Israel, 1919-1927.

The Zionist fathers are often projected as men of great valour and compassion. Their efforts, we are told, saved millions of Jews from extermination by bringing them to Palestine. The reality, however, is very different as Alroey exposes in his book. He quotes extensively from documents in the Central Zionist Archives, showing how Zionist officials discouraged immigration of the weak and sickly, insisting that the Yishuv would be ruined by such people.

It was Israel’s first President, Chaim Weizmann, who is said to have spearheaded the policy of ensuring only healthy Jews came to Palestine. He would rather have one healthy goat in Mandate Palestine that 100 sick Jews. He had no need for such people that would be a ‘burden’ on the state he envisioned. Rather, he wanted Jews that were able-bodied to be able to do hard work and fight. Suffering of the Jewish people was important for advancing their colonial project but saving them was not.

In 1919, when Ukraine was beset by vicious pogroms, Weizmann said: “Alas, Zionism can’t provide a solution for catastrophes.” It is interesting to note that Ukraine is again in the grip of neo-Nazis that the western regimes are supporting in their quest for global domination.

“Weizmann preferred productive immigrants over needy refugees and thought the Land of Israel needed strong, healthy immigrants, not refugees weak in body and spirit,” Alroey told Haaretz. “Jews who didn’t fit his model and knocked on the doors of pre-state offices in Eastern Europe to request immigration permits were … rejected.”

An official in the Zionist administration’s pre-state immigration department summarized the policy as follows: “Reject or deport sick migrants, people unfit for work who might become a burden, and make sure to choose strong, healthy migrants who can cope with the conditions here.” Yet it was the weak and vulnerable who were most at risk. While Zionist propagandists played up their suffering, they had no need for them. How much more cynical can it get?

Weizmann didn’t merely issue instructions to his fellow Jews. Alroey says that he apparently sought to persuade the British authorities to significantly limit the Jewish immigration quota, even though this was “a fateful moment for the Jews of Eastern Europe.” The consequence of such a policy was tens of thousands of Ukrainian Jews were murdered during this period.

Alroey further explains that most of the immigrants chose British Mandatory Palestine for lack of choice, or because they viewed it as a land of refuge. The creation of the Zionist state of Israel was part of the European—and indeed western—project to transfer their ‘Jewish problem’ to Palestine. European countries did not want Jews in their midst, at least not in large numbers. Europe has a shameful history of pogroms.

When Palestine was under Muslim control, Jewish people were not barred from Jerusalem. Only the Crusaders’ interregnum (1099-1187) expelled both Muslims and Jews from the holy city after they perpetrated a bloodbath in which Muslim men, women and children were mercilessly slaughtered. Western historians have admitted that the “Crusaders killed anyone they encountered. Some later boasted that they had turned the streets [of Jerusalem] into rivers of blood.”

Historically, Jerusalem has had a special attraction for Jewish people, but for religious not political reasons. Many religiously observant Jews consider the creation of Israel as a violation of the teachings of the Torah. They say that when the Messiah appears, he will lead people into Jerusalem peacefully, not riding atop a tank brandishing an Uzi submachine gun, much less slaughtering Palestinian children, women and the elderly.

Alroey is quite candid about his reasons for writing the book. The suffering and death of elderly and weak Jews in Europe because they were denied entry into Palestine has been airbrushed out of history by the Zionist narrative. Ignoring them “is a sin against historical truth”, he said, and that it “doesn’t faithfully reflect reality and severs immigration to the Land of Israel from its broader historical context.”

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