A Lost Letter of Chinese Nationalist Support for Zionism Resurfaces

The Chinese nationalists led by Sun Yat-sen shared with Zionists a commitment to national political and cultural renewal and the creation of a sovereign democratic nation-state. While historians have long known of Sun’s sympathy for Zionism, and even of a letter he wrote to a leading Chinese Zionist, the original document was long thought to be lost. But it was recently rediscovered in the collection of the National Library of Israel. Jessica Steinberg reports:

Sun was the first provisional president of the Republic of China, established in 1912 following the fall of the last imperial dynasty, prior to the Chinese Civil War and Communist Revolution.

In the letter, Sun said: “All lovers of democracy cannot help but support wholeheartedly, and welcome with enthusiasm, the movement to restore your wonderful and historic nation.” The letter’s recipient, N.E.B. Ezra, was a Jewish scholar, writer, publisher and activist who lived most of his life in Shanghai and was born in Lahore (modern-day Pakistan). In addition to founding the Shanghai Zionist Association, he edited its mouthpiece, Israel’s Messenger, for decades.

Sun and other members of the Chinese leadership had warm relations with local and international Jewish communities and figures, many of them cultivated during years of exile prior to the ultimate fall of the Qing dynasty. Their support of the Zionist movement stemmed from both ideological and practical considerations.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: China, East Asian Jewry, History of Zionism, Sun Yat-sen


Planning for the Day after the War in the Gaza Strip

At the center of much political debate in Israel during the past week, as well as, reportedly, of disagreement between Jerusalem and Washington, is the problem of how Gaza should be governed if not by Hamas. Thus far, the IDF has only held on to small parts of the Strip from which it has cleared out the terrorists. Michael Oren lays out the parameters of this debate over what he has previous called Israel’s unsolvable problem, and sets forth ten principles that any plan should adhere to. Herewith, the first five:

  1. Israel retains total security control in Gaza, including control of all borders and crossings, until Hamas is demonstrably defeated. Operations continue in Rafah and elsewhere following effective civilian evacuations. Military and diplomatic efforts to secure the hostages’ release continue unabated.
  2. Civil affairs, including health services and aid distribution, are administered by Gazans unaffiliated with Hamas. The model will be Area B of Judea and Samaria, where Israel is in charge of security and Palestinians are responsible for the civil administration.
  3. The civil administration is supervised by the Palestinian Authority once it is “revitalized.” The PA first meets benchmarks for ending corruption and establishing transparent institutions. The designation and fulfillment of the benchmarks is carried out in coordination with Israel.
  4. The United States sends a greatly expanded and improved version of the Dayton Mission that trained PA police forces in Gaza after Israel’s disengagement.
  5. Abraham Accords countries launch a major inter-Arab initiative to rebuild and modernize Gaza.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, Israeli Security, U.S.-Israel relationship