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September 06, 1968 - Image 48

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1968-09-06

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Second Volume of Simon Dubnov's 'History of Jews
Appears in English; Covers Christian, Moslem Eras

Less than a year ago, English-
reading Jews were presented with
the first of a series of historical
volumes that promise to remain
among the greatest of Jewry's,
literary treasures. Now we have
the second volume in the projected
five-volume edition of "History of
the Jews" by Simon Dubnov, the
most distinguished of the East
European Jewish historians.
The first volume was reviewed in
The Jewish News Sept. 29, 1967.
Off the press less 'than 11 months
later, we now have the volume
that covers the era from the Ro-
man Empire to the Early Medieval
In an excellent translation
from the Russian by Moshe Spie-
gel, this . new series, published
by Thomas Yoseloff, continues to
provide the English translation
of the great Dubnov works which
already have appeared in trans-

lations from the original Russian
into Hebrew, Yiddish, German,
Spanish and French.
The first volume contained the
Dubnov history from the earliest
until 70 CE. There are two divi-
sions in the second volume, the
first devoted to the history of the
Jews in the Near East and the sec-
ond part the trying European time
during which Jews suffered from
the Crusades and other outbursts
of hatred.
Because the important period of
Jewish experiences among Mo-
hammedans as well as Christians
are under review here, this volume
asumes great significance.
Besides, the eras under discus-
sion embrace conditions involving
cultural attainments, economic
pressures, the emergence of mes-
sianic movements.
While Dubnov always stressed
the economic aspects of Jewish

life, there nevertheless emerges
from his writings interpretive
views on the spiritual. We have
in the second volume accounts of
the life and works of Maimoni-
des, references to the period of
the Gaonim, talmudic incidents
and development of talmudic
writings. The historic analyses of
Josephus Flavius are under con-
sideration, the era of Arabic
culture is discussed and the lives,
activities and ideological teach-
ings of Hillel, Shammai, Rabbi
Akiva and others are evaluated.
The philosophic aspects in Juda-
ism therefore are not ignored
but are given full view.
Naturally Dubnov's "National
Autonomism" comes into play in
the course of historical analyses.
The great merits of the Dubnov
history emerge in items like those
during which he discusses the
aims of Julian the Apostate, the

Israel and the Arabs: How It May Start Again

Editor's Note: Prof. A. L. Good-
hart, author of many legal publi-
cations, a former professor of
jurisprudence at Oxford Univer-
sity, England, from 1951 to 1963
having served as Master of Uni-
versity College, London, wrote this
article for the London Daily Tele-
In an article on the Arab-Israeli
war in Foreign Affairs Mr. Charles
W. Yost, a former United States
Ambassador to Syria, noted that
all the factors which had induced
Israel to go to war in 1956 had re-
appeared in 1967 in even more ag-
gravated form. He lists these
factors as "a multiplication of
raids into its territory, a substan-
tial build-up of Egyptian and other
hostile forces on its borders, the
blockade of the Strait."
Will history repeat itself for a
third time after more guerrilla
raids have destroyed life and prop-
erty in Israeli territory, and a new
build-up of armaments has been
achieved in the neighboring Arab
When it became clear after the
first three days of the Six-Day War
that the Israeli forces had won a
complete victory, the Arab States
and their associate, Russia, de-
manded an immediate cease fire at
the meetings of the United Nations
Security Council.
This was greatly to Israel's dis-
advantage as she would have been
in a stronger position if she had
insisted on unconditional sur-
render, as the Allies had done in
both the World Wars. Her tanks
could have reached Damascus in
36 hours and her planes could have
destroyed Cairo. However, the
strong pressure brought against
her by the majority of the Security
Council to accept a cease-fire pre-
Having persuaded Israel to forgo
a final victory, it became the pri-
mary duty of the United Nations
to see that this cease-fire agree-
ment was kept in good faith by all
the combatants. "That hostilities
must cease is the obvious content
of all kinds of armistices" is the
summary of the relevant interna-
tional law as stated in the stand-
ard work on this subject (Oppen-
heim-Lauterpacht. "International
The Arab States, while recog-
nizing that their regular forces
must not engage in an attack
across the cease-fire lines, have,
however, assumed that they are
entitled to encourage guerrilla
bands, which they have trained
and armed, to stage attacks,
chiefly at night, in Israel terri-
tory. There has been no attempt
to disguise this: it is the basis
on which all the Arab popular
propaganda is founded so as to
keep the war spirit alive.

48—Friday, September 6, 1968

Arabian figures are published
to show that more than 1,000 Is-
raelis have been killed or wounded
during the past year. A terrifying
picture of guerrillas in training
has been recently televised in this
country. It has also been reported
that 100 Palestine "liberation"
leaders have met in Cairo to co-
ordinate guerrilla operations
against Israel.
An attempt to justify these at-
tacks has been made by comparing
the Arab guerrillas with the
French Resistance forces which
played such a valuable part during
the German occupation.
At first sight this seems a pow-
erful argument, but the analogy
is a misleading one because Brit-
ain and France were still carrying
on an active war when they in-
cluded the Freedom Fighters as
part of their military forces. They
were not bound by any cease-fire
agreement to bring hostilities to
an end. On this point Oppenheim-
Lauterpacht has said:
"They (the French Resistance)
were recognized by the Supreme
Commander of the Allied Expedi-
tionary Force as forming an inte-
gral part of the troops commanded
by him and a formal announce-
ment to that effect was made."
It is on this principle that the
Geneva Convention of 1949 pro-
vides that the members of or-
ganized resistance movements
belonging to a party to the con-
flict are assimilated to members
of its armed forces and must be
given the same protection. The
other side of the picture can be
seen in the British announcement
on the day of the unconditional
surrender of Germany (May 8,
1945) that any further resistance
by individuals would deprive
them of the protection of the
laws of war. When a cease-fire
has been agreed all legitimate
fighting comes to an end.
The same must be true of Arab
guerrillas. If they are an "integral
part" of the Arab armies, as it is
claimed that they are, then their
raids are a breach of the cease-
fire arranged by the United Na-
tions. It is no answer to say that
they are not part of the regular
army but only assimilated to it;
the support and recognition that
has been given to the El Fatah
and other terrorists has made
them a part of the military forces.
The claim made by the Arabs that
they have the right to support the
guerrillas and at the same time
to repudiate all responsibility for
them is an astonishing one.
If, on the other hand, these
guerrilla bands are independent,
then Israel is entitled to take the
necessary counter-measures for
its self-preservation. On this point
Oppenheim-Lauterpacht has stated
the law thus:


"When, to give an example, a
state is informed that a body of
armed men is being organized on
neighboring territory for the pur-
pose of a raid into its territory,
and when the danger can be re-
moved through an appeal to the
authorities of the neighboring
country, no case of necessity has
arisen. But if such an appeal is
fruitless or not possible, or if
there is danger in delay, a case
of necessity arises, and the
threatened state is justified in in-
vading the neighboring country
and disarming the intending
If, in such circumstances, the
neighboring country attempts to
protect the guerrillas by attacking
the pursuers, it is itself commit.
ting an unlawful act, just as an
individual who aids an escaping
wrongdoer is himself committing
a wrong.
It is unfortunate that the United
Nations, after the experience of
two wars, has taken no serious
steps to bring these guerrilla raids
to an end. When the Israeli army
announced that it would hold a
parade in Jerusalem on May 14,
the Security Council made a viol-
ent protest, but nothing was done
concerning the guerrilla raids from
Jordan although there can be no
hope for any peaceful settlement
until these raids are stopped.
When we turn to the second
.cause of the two previous wars,
viz. the build-up of the Arab forces
on the Israel borders, it is discour-
aging to find that the United States
is supplying arms to Jordan which
can be used as a threat against
The argument that if it did
not do so then the arms would
be supplied by Russia is of
doubtful validity. If X is prose-
cuted for having sold a pistol to
Y who, previously, has threat.
ened to kill his neighbor, it will
be no defense for him to plead
that if he had not done so then
Y would have purchased an even
more lethal pistol from Z.
Because another attempt to block
the Strait of Aqaba is unlikely,
the third cause of the two previous
wars has lost much of its cogency,
even though the Arab States have
threatened to step-up their eco-
nomic war against Israel.
A settlement of the frontiers be-
tween Israel and the neighbor
states must be the aim of all who
hope for peace in the Middle East.
The United Nations ought to play
a leading part in this, but it will
not do so as long as it turns a
blind eye to flagrant violations of
the precarious ceasefire which it
helped to achieve. Another war
will inevitably begin if we accept
the view that guerrilla guns, rifles
and dynamite are legitimate
means by which to assert one's

Roman Emperor of the 4th Cen-
tury branded by his Christian
antagonists, to rebuild the Temple
in Jerusalem. But Julian ruled for
only two years and he was mur-
dered on a battlefield, some his-
torians having claimed that he
was killed by a Christian who ob-
jected to his pro-Jewish views.
The Maimonidean and Spanish
periods are covered with the skill
that has distinguished Dubnov
among all historians, and his out-
lines of the times during which
Jews suffered from the Crusaders
are among the most thorough
tackled by an historian.
Coverage of the time of the
Sanhedrin, which had led Dub-
nov to review the anti-Jewish
sentiments of the New Testament
and to write about the develop-
ment of the Aggada and about
the last Judean Apocalypses,
makes that particular section of
this volume of his history addi-
tionally valuable for its leanings
on Josephus and his historiog-
raphy and the revelations about
Roman literary anti-Semitic
In his account of the Roman
period, Dubnov, in this portion of
his history, dealt with the hege-
mony of Christian Rome as well as
Byzantium and Persia.
The Caliphates and the origin of
Islam, Jewish autonomy in Baby-
lon under the Caliphate of the
Abbasids, the autonomus centers
in Palestine and Egypt until the
Crusades of the 10th and 11th sen-
tries, the renaissance of the Arab-
Judaic period — these are among
the major elements in the first
part of this volume.
Then we have coverage of the
happenings in the time of Charle-
magne, a splendid review of the
early Italian Jewish settlements,
the Jewish tribulations in Spain,
the colonies that were established
in the Crimea, the time of Jew-
ish advancement in Arabic Spain.
Extremely valuable is the
Dubnov account of the Khazars'
assumption of the Jewish faith,
their reasoning, the political in-
volvements, t h e relationships
with Jews during the compara-
tively brief period of Khazar-
Jewish affiliations.
The spiritual-cultural elements
in Dubnov's work provide studies
of moralists and mystics, of marty-
rology and religious poetry.

The genius of one of our greatest
historians is imbedded in this work
which had the good fortune of
splendid translation. Now English
reading Jewish communities can
turn to the best historians survey-
ing our history—Dubnov's having
been added to the great work of
Heinrich Graetz.
Dubnov, who was born in White
Russia in 1860, emphasized the se-
cular in his writings, but although
he was a free thinker he did not
forget or ignore his Orthodox back-
ground. He was a writer and
teacher in St. Petersburg and
Odessa until the Communist Revo-
lution, then moved to Germany.
He moved to Riga, Latvia with
the advent of Hitlerism and lived
there until 1941 when, at the age
of 81, he was herded together with
a group of Jews from the ghetto
and they were murdered.
His final words were an ad , •
monition to the Jewish genera-,---
tions to follow not to forget what-
had occurred under Nazism.
His "History of the Jews," while
serving as a monument to his me-
mory, helps keep alive that warn-
ing that to forget might open up
avenues for repetition of Hitlerite

Hebrew Corner


Between Kfar-Gil'adi and Tel-Hai there
is a large statue of a lion. It symbol-
izes the bravery of Yosef Trumpeldor
and his fellows, who were killed in Tel-
In the Year 1920 Tel-Hai was in the
French area of Eretz-Yisrael. To her
south was the Arab-Syrian area.
The Syrians wanted to drive out the
French from the Upper Galilee. They
used to attack the travelers on the
roads. From time to time they would
attack, also, the Jewish settlements:
metula Kfar-Gil'adi and Tel-Hai.
In each one of these settlements there
were 34 members, then. Each man had
a rifle, 150 bullets and a few hand-
grenades. That was all.
On the 11th of Adar 5690 (1920) Arabs
attacked Tel-Hai. The place's command.
ing officer was Yosef Trumpeldor. Dur-
ing the battle Trumpeldor was badly
In the evening, when they took the
wounded Trumpeldor to Kfar-Gil'adi he
said to his companions: "These are my
last moments. Tell our companions to
continue to stand" . . . "It is good
to die for our country."
A few moments later Trumpeldor
died. Together with him 70 more of
his companions fell in this place.
Every year, on the 11th of Adar, the
youth goes up to Tel-Hai to give honor
to the heroes.
(Translation of Hebrew column. Pub-
lished by the Brith Is'rith Olamit, Jeru-

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