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Ben-Gurion and the Holocaust Hardcover – November, 1996


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Teveth's important study persuasively rebuts charges that Zionist leaders, especially David Ben-Gurion, failed to make the rescue of European Jewry a top WWII priority; such accusations have been made by critics ranging from the ultra-Orthodox to leftists. The critics allege that the Jewish community's leaders in Palestine had an attitude of superiority or contempt toward diaspora Jewry and that, in their single-minded focus on the creation of a Jewish state, they were indifferent to the plight of Europe's non-Zionist Jews, or even allowed them to go to their deaths in the expectation that remorseful Allied politicians would later be more amenable to granting a state to surviving Jews. Using Ben-Gurion's diaries and speeches as well as correspondence, interviews and declassified documents, Israeli journalist Teveth meticulously refutes these charges. He demonstrates that as early as 1934, Ben-Gurion foresaw European Jewry's imminent destruction and continually promoted the mass migration of both Zionist and non-Zionist Jews to Palestine to save them from the Nazi menace. Ben-Gurion repeatedly tried to rally world public opinion, demanding that the Allies intervene to rescue the Jews, but his major speeches?particularly a 1942 appeal at a special session of the National Assembly in Jerusalem, and a 1944 address as Hungary's Jews were being shipped to Auschwitz?went unreported by the U.S. and British media. British restrictions on Jewish immigration to Palestine, and the Allied war policy that ruled out any plans for massive rescue of Jewish victims of Nazi persecution, reduced the Jewish Agency Executive in Jerusalem, which Ben-Gurion chaired, to pleading. Teveth, whose biography of Ben-Gurion won the 1988 National Jewish Book Award, is a compelling voice of reason in a highly politicized debate.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In 1993, Tom Segev's The Seventh Million (LJ 5/15/93) caused a sensation with its argument that David Ben-Gurion did not make a strong effort to bring down Adoph Hitler or to pressure the Allies to save European Jews from the death camps. Teveth, whose earlier book, Ben-Gurion: The Burning Ground, won the 1988 National Jewish Book Award, offers an assessment of views advanced by Segev and others. Teveth asserts that Ben-Gurion and the Yishuv leadership did all they could to save European Jewry. The author describes three factors that limited Ben-Gurion's efforts: The small size of the Yishuv in Palestine, with no armed forces; British restrictions on Jewish immigrations to Palestine; and Allied war aims and strategies, which effectively ruled out any rescue efforts. While the entire book is well argued and well written, one of the most effective chapters is that dealing with the bombing of Auschwitz. Recommended for popular and specialized collections.?Mark Weber, Kent State Univ. Lib., Ohio
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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