Eric Hoffer’s Thoughts on Israel in 1968
This letter written by Eric Hoffer 42 yrs ago was just sent to me by a friend in Israel. I would like Journal readers to see it because of my grave concern of what is going on in the world right now.
We need to raise the consciousness level of Jews everywhere — the importance of standing up for Israel in today’s very controversial environment is more important than ever.
You probably don’t remember the name Eric Hoffer. He was a longshoreman who turned into a philosopher, wrote columns for newspapers and some books. He was a non-Jewish American social philosopher born in 1902. He died in 1983 after writing nine books and winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His first book, “The True Believer,” published in 1951, was widely recognized as a classic.
Israel’s Peculiar Position
Los Angeles Times May 26,1968
The Jews are a peculiar people: things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews. Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it, Poland and Czechoslovakia did it. Turkey threw out a million Greeks and Algeria a million Frenchman. Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese and no one says a word about refugees.
But in the case of Israel, the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single one. Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis.
Other nations, when victorious on the battlefield, dictate peace terms. But when Israel is victorious, it must sue for peace. Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world.
Other nations, when they are defeated, survive and recover but should Israel be defeated it would be destroyed. Had Nasser triumphed last June , he would have wiped Israel off the map, and no one would have lifted a finger to save the Jews. No commitment to the Jews by any government, including our own, is worth the paper it is written on.
There is a cry of outrage all over the world when people die in Vietnam or when two Blacks are executed in Rhodesia. But, when Hitler slaughtered Jews no one demonstrated against him. The Swedes, who were ready to break off diplomatic relations with America because of what we did in Vietnam, did not let out a peep when Hitler was slaughtering Jews. They sent Hitler choice iron ore, and ball bearings, and serviced his troops in Norway.
The Jews are alone in the world. If Israel survives, it will be solely because of Jewish efforts. And Jewish resources. Yet at this moment, Israel is our only reliable and unconditional ally. We can rely more on Israel than Israel can rely on us. And one has only to imagine what would have happened last summer  had the Arabs and their Russian backers won the war, to realize how vital the survival of Israel is to America and the West in general. I have a premonition that will not leave me; as it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us. Should Israel perish, the Holocaust will be upon us all.