Friday, April 24, 2009

 

Quotable: Ben-Gurion on Zionism & the UN

We consider that the United Nations' ideal is a Jewish ideal.

Source: David Ben-Gurion as quoted in "The Watchman." Time. August 16, 1948.

... for many of us, anti-Semitic feeling had little to do with our dedication [to Zionism]. I personally never suffered anti-Semitic persecution. Plonsk [the city in Poland where Ben-Gurion Grün/Gryn was born in 1886] was remarkably free of it ... Nevertheless, and I think this very significant, it was Plonsk that sent the highest proportion of Jews to Eretz Israel from any town in Poland of comparable size. We emigrated not for negative reasons of escape but for the positive purpose of rebuilding a homeland ...

Life in Plonsk was peaceful enough. There were three main communities: Russians, Jews and Poles. ...

The number of Jews and Poles in the city were roughly equal, about five thousand each. The Jews, however, formed a compact, centralized group occupying the innermost districts whilst the Poles were more scattered, living in outlying areas and shading off into the peasantry. Consequently, when a gang of Jewish boys met a Polish gang the latter would almost inevitably represent a single suburb and thus be poorer in fighting potential than the Jews who even if their numbers were initially fewer could quickly call on reinforcements from the entire quarter. Far from being afraid of them, they were rather afraid of us. In general, however, relations were amicable, though distant.

Source: David Ben-Gurion. Recollections. (London: Macdonald Unit 75, 1970) pp. 36-37.

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