I am Doris Wise Montrose, founder and president of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors. As a child of two Holocaust survivors, I determined that it was my obligation to help educate the public in the United States and abroad about the political, intellectual and cultural climate that led to the Holocaust.
My father, Meyer Wise, a survivor of the Lodz Ghetto and Auschwitz among other Nazi retreats, always said that had a place like Israel existed where Jews were wanted and could go, there would not have been a Holocaust.
In the 1930s, Jews in Europe were forbidden to attend schools, play in the parks, go shopping and do business. Jews accommodated, believing that if only they abided by the rules, they would be left alone. But then Jews were told to relinquish their possessions, their jewelry, and their art. Again, Jews believed that their possessions were only material things and if they would only let go of them, they would be left alone.
Then Jews were told that they had to leave their homes and move into restricted areas or ghettos from which they were not allowed to leave. Then they were moved to “work camps,” and after all, Arbeit macht frei – work will make you free. So the Jews went, believing that they would work for awhile and then go home. And then, the stark reality started to sink in…and we know how it ended.
In 1948, the UN completely disregarded the Balfour Declaration, the decisions of the League of Nations and the historical rights of the Jewish people to Israel/Palestine. Instead, they tried to split the land of biblical Israel into a Jewish state and a Muslim/Arab state. The Jews said, “It’s not fair, but we’ll take what we can get.” The Arabs said, “No, we want it all.”
Then the Arabs said, “We will rename ourselves, invent a people, a land and a history where none had existed.” The Jews failed to correct that myth and now the world sides against a people with an established history of a Jewish nation for over 3000 years. Unfortunately, Israel and the Jewish people accommodated and continue to accommodate this new narrative which has captured the world’s support and sympathy while inspiring hatred for the Jews and Israel.
Added to this in 2005, the then-prime minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, decided that the Jews who had made their homes for years in Gush Katif were to be evacuated as a gesture of Israel’s desire for peace with the Arabs – the first time in history that Jews evicted Jews from their homes. The Israelis went along to show the world their sincerity, while ignoring the Hamas charter’s call for the destruction of Israel. And the Arabs reciprocated by launching thousands of missiles into Israel and its communities in the South.
All of these ongoing concessions by Israel resulted in one failure after the other, yet many still contemplate further futile capitulation to gain the world’s sympathy. Too many Jews still hold the same old suicidal belief that the more we surrender to those who hate us, the greater the likelihood that peace with the Arabs will be achieved. Today, we are here again.
What the world needs to understand is that Israel is the finger in the dyke for all freedom-loving people everywhere. It’s time for every American Secretary of State to understand this and to turn his or her attention to the real problems and dangers instead of working to destroy Israel, which is the ultimate goal of the so-called “peace process.”