Some 30 years after purchasing a used copy of The Redemption of the Unwanted: From the Liberation of the Death Camps to the Founding of Israel, by Abram Sachar—first published in 1983—Allan Arkush finally sat down to read it. He writes:
I have to say that it doesn’t contain much that I didn’t already know. Its chief merit is that it does an exceptionally good job of teaching what I consider to be a very important lesson.
Most people in the United States, I’m afraid, if they know anything at all about how the state of Israel came into being, believe that after World War II the nations of the world awarded it to the Jewish people as a compensation for what Jews had suffered at the hands of the Nazis. There’s a grain of truth in this, but only a grain. Between 1945 and 1949, the Zionists had to do a tremendous number of things on their own in order to obtain a state. They engaged in a vast amount of worldwide politicking, organized illegal immigration to Palestine, combatted the British administration in Palestine in order both to earn the world’s sympathy and to force the British government’s hand. Had the Zionists not done all of this, there would have been no decision at the United Nations to partition Palestine and create a Jewish state.
And had the Jews of Palestine then sat on their hands and waited for the UN to implement its decision, that state would never have come into being. They had to fight, on their own, a war of independence against the Arabs of Palestine as well as all of the surrounding nations. Abram Sachar was by no means the first or the last to explain all of this, but he did a singularly good job of it.