Tuesday, April 20, 2010

One cow in Palestine... What Gruenbaum really said

Yitzhak Gruenbaum, a founding father of Israel, is alleged by anti Zionists to have once made an obnoxious remark about European Jews. The damning quote takes many different forms, but the most famous versions are:
  • One cow in Palestine is worth more than all the Jews in Europe.
  • One cow in Palestine is worth more than all the Jews in Poland
I've tried and failed to source this quote. I don't know if he said it. I don't know when he said it. And if he said it, I don't know what the context of the remark was. Notwithstanding the title of the post, I don't know "what Greenbaum really said." If you can provide some background, please do so on the thread.

Some observations:

  1. I agree, that if he said what he is claimed to have said during the holocaust the remark is viscous indeed; however, if he said it before the war, when Polish Jewry was safe, much of the viciousness is mitigated.
  2. Greenbaum was a founder of Israel, who eventually held an important position in Ben Gurion's administration, but he wasn't an all-powerful God. People didn't just do whatever he said, or blindly embrace his every opinion. Its possible he said what he is alleged to have said, and the other Zionists denounced him, or ignored him, or laughed at him and said "That Greenbaum, always saying crazy things" before going back to saving Jews. This is why the context of the remark is so important. Before it can be used as a club with which to beat the Zionists, we have to know what Greenbaum meant, how he was understood, and how the other Zionists responded. If they all thought he was a crank, the remark can't be used to indict Zionism as a whole.
  3. In the most famous versions of the quote Greenbaum is speaking of ALL the Jews in Poland or Europe, and not merely the religious. This adds a note of irony to the discussion. If the Jews Greenbaum allegedly abandoned had managed to come to Israel, Greenbaum-haters would now be throwing rocks at the grandchildren of those rescued Jews and wailing about how much (more) power Israeli seculars have.

Search for more information about things the Satmar Rebbe did to sow hatred and discord among Jews at 4torah.com.


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