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Britain was worse. It had pledged Palestine as the Jewish national home and accepted the Palestine Mandate assigned to them by the League of Nations. The Mandate not only gave international approval to the Balfour declaration, but instructed Britain to “facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions” and “to encourage . . . close settlement by Jews on the land.”
Half the point of Zionism was to give the Jews a haven. Before the war, Zionist leaders like Ze’ev Jabotinsky urged Jews to flee Europe. Jabotinsky also demanded that Britain allow one million European Jews into Palestine.
But as European Jewry faced extinction, Britain issued the 1939 White Paper repudiating the Mandate and limiting Jewish immigration to Palestine to a mere 75,000 over the next five years. Anything after that would require Arab approval. In the end, the British did not allow even that many Jews into Palestine.
When Joel Brandt, a member of the Hungarian Jewish Rescue Committee, returned from Europe with an offer from Eichmann to exchange the almost one million Jews of Hungary for 10,000 trucks and other supplies, the British detained Brandt for days in Allepo, Syria, until the deal was off the table.
Ira Hirschman, a representative of the American War Refugee Board, was able to interview Brandt, and pleaded with the United States to at least enter into negotiations with Eichmann. But before the U.S. could even consider the proposal, “The British released word of Eichmann’s offer to the press and simultaneously repudiated the ‘brazen attempt to blackmail His Majesty’s government.’ “ (Howard Sachar, A History of Israel). Britain also denied permission to two members of the Jewish Agency who sought to further negotiate the deal. During that time, 434,000 Hungarian Jews were deported and killed at Auschwitz.
And then there was France. Despite the popular Gaullist conception of France during the war as “always resistant, always republican,” under the popular Vichy leadership France deported 75,000 Jews to their deaths — with an attention to detail that frustrated even the Nazis.
The Nuremberg trials attempted to respond to the diffusion of individual responsibility during the Holocaust. For instance, the German newspaper mogul Julius Streicher never personally killed anyone. But his newspaper chain was one of the Nazis’ main propaganda tools. According to Fordham Law professor Thane Rosenbaum, Striecher “was deemed just as complicit, murderous and culpable in the crimes of the Nazis as anyone who carried a gun.”
Striecher was convicted in the first round of the trials along with the highest Nazi officials still living at the time. For many of the defendants, the Allied prosecutors used theories of conspiracy and facilitation (which were alien to the German civil code) to convict defendants.
But the Nuremberg prosecutors never extended these legal theories to indict the German nation as a whole or other nations or governments for their near-conspiratorial complicity in the Holocaust.
Looking at the development of international law since World War II, this was quite a missed opportunity. The Allied victory and the unanimously recognized horror of the Holocaust created a unique moment in time in which new standards of international law could be set. Nuremberg played a role in setting those standards.
Following the war, various treaties protecting human rights were spawned. The United Nations Charter, the Genocide Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights became almost unanimously accepted.
But because of the failure of the Allies to deal with questions of the duty of bystanders, no international legal standards or obligations have been adopted in that area. Therefore, even though the UN Charter and international law allow for nations to use force for a variety of reasons, there is no solid legal basis for humanitarian intervention.
And so after the NATO bombing campaign in Kosovo (an action atypical of the world’s behavior in the decades since the Holocaust), the Serbian-led Federal Republic of Yugoslavia sued Belgium, a NATO member, at the International Court of Justice. Belgium’s arguments lacked a legal basis, but the court luckily dismissed Yugoslavia’s claim on jurisdictional grounds.
The Torah, however, does not allow the individual to disclaim responsibility by being part of a group. Though the duty of a bystander to act is absent from both international and domestic law, the Torah commands “Neither shall you stand idly by the blood of you neighbor” (Vayikra 19:16).
About the Author: Daniel Tauber is a frequent contributor to various prominent publications, including the Jewish Press, Arutz Sheva, Americanthinker.com, the Jerusalem Post and Ha’aretz. Daniel is also an attorney admitted to practice law in Israel and New York and received his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law. You can follow him on facebook and twitter.
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Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state
Blaming Israel for the violence in Gaza, he ends up justifying Hamas’s terrorism.
In the Thirties it was common for anti-Semites to call on Jews to “go to Palestine!”
“This arbitrary ban is an ugly stain on our democracy, and it also undermines the rule of law.”
We take US “aid” for psychological reasons-if we have an allowance, that means we have a father.
ZIM Piraeus isn’t Israeli-owned or flagged, incidentally, it is Greek operated.
Foolish me, thinking the goals were the destruction of Hamas thereby giving peace a real chance.
The free-spirted lifestyle didn’t hold your interest; the needs of your people did.
And why would the U.S. align itself on these issues with Turkey and Qatar, longtime advocates of Hamas’s interests?
Several years ago the city concluded that the metzitzah b’peh procedure created unacceptable risks for newborns in terms of the transmission of neo-natal herpes through contact with a mohel carrying the herpes virus.
The world wars caused unimaginable anguish for the Jews but God also scripted a great glory for our people.
We were quite disappointed with many of the points the secretary-general offered in response.
Judging by history, every time Hamas rebuilds their infrastructure, they are stronger than before.
Congratulations, JStreet, you won before you even started! Perhaps you can save your breath, energy and George Soros’ and god knows who else’s money and go home.
In the version of events provided by Argo, it wasn’t radical Islamists who stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran, but the Iranian people as a whole.
Not exactly what Jewish Home voters thought they would get on election day.
The institution of party primaries in Israel needs to be expanded not shrunk, so that the government will be under the supervision of the people from which it derives power and the moral authority to govern.
Ayalon’s new position on the Palestinian statehood doesn’t quite match his prior criticism of the Palestinian’s bid for statehood at the UN.
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