Friends of Zion

by David Frum

Today, July 12, is not only Orange Day, but also the birthday of my paternal grandfather Saul Frum. Born in the Czarist empire in 1904, he migrated to Canada with his wife, my grandmother, in 1930. My father was born the next year. That lucky bit of timing is the reason I am typing at this computer today: Those in his family who remained behind in Europe were all murdered, with only one survivor.

I think of my grandfather often, more and more as I near the age when I knew him. My own son is named for him. Saul was a man of little formal education, but considerable acquired culture. He would have greatly enjoyed the new Jewish Review of Books, a very exciting new magazine that has just published its second issue. An ardent Zionist (he died in Israel in 1978), he would I think have especially liked the contribution by Walter Russell Mead reviewing a study of Christian Zionism. 

[T]he establishment of the state of Israel was not just a Jewish project. Jews did the heavy lifting: the settlement of Palestine, defense of the Jewish community, and the development of national institutions were Jewish achievements. But the contribution of the Anglo-Protestant world to the rise of the Jewish state was not limited to occasional interventions by heavily lobbied political leaders. British and American Protestant support was more than an ace in the hole that Zionists were able to deploy at key moments like the Balfour Declaration or Truman's recognition of Israeli independence. ...

All of this needs to be remembered. Neglect of the crucial and strategic contribution of gentiles to the success of the Zionist movement can lead to an impoverished and unrealistic understanding of Israel's history. It contributes to the view today that support for Israel by the United States reflects the occult power of Jews in American society. When a historical idea is false, and when it contributes to anti-Semitic ideas around the world, it is time for a new look at an old story.