Neville Chamberlain Announcing 'Peace in Our Time' (1938)
The Israel Broadcasting Authority has been reposting its greatest documentary, עמוד האש (Pillar of Fire), here. It describes the development of Zionism and the history of our return to Zion, up to the declaration of the state on 5 Iyyar 1948. Based upon original footage, and in-depth interviews with eye-witnesses who are largely gone today, it is an incredibly moving, and important reminder of the absolute justice of our cause and continued residence in Eretz Yisrael. Every person who cares about who we are should watch it. ( At present, it's only available on-line in Hebrew and Russian.)
The latest chapter posted (No. 10), describes the Munich Compromise of 1938, when Neville Chamberlain sold out Czechoslovakia in order to appease Hitler and avoid war. The narrator, the legendar Yossi Banai, notes that Jews were far from joyous at Chamberlain's declaration of 'Peace in our Time.' They were too shaken by the cavalier way that European powers condemned a smaller nation to death, in order to avoid war or discomfort.
The only voice of sanity at the time was that of Winston Churchill. He asserted in Parliament:
I do not grudge our loyal, brave people, who were ready to do their duty no matter what the cost, who never flinched under the strain of last week. I do not grudge them the natural, spontaneous outburst of joy and relief when they learned that the hard ordeal would no longer be required of them at the moment; but they should know the truth. They should know that there has been gross neglect and deficiency in our defences; they should know that we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road; they should know that we have passed an awful milestone in our history, when the whole equilibrium of Europe has been deranged, and that the terrible words have for the time being been pronounced against the Western democracies.
These words are particularly haunting this week. America and Europe, ignoring the ongoing bombardment of Sederot, pressure Israel to buy peace by dividing Jerusalem, driving 350,000 Jews from their homes and giving the Arabs all for which they ask.
Israel's ruling elites surrender to Hamas by agreeing to a ceasefire, while it keeps firing and rearming. Sunday, in return for the bodies of two heroic soldiers, Israel's corrupt government will release a horrific murderer and hundreds of terrorists to the Hizbullah.
That, in any language, constitutes surrender.
It proves lack of will on our so-called leaders' part. It betrays the corruption and/or short-sightedness that eats away at the Israeli elites, while the population is held hostage. Yes, we are being held hostage by politicians who care more for their seats and perks than for their people. We are prevented from voting or consciences, because Olmert/Livni/Barak/Yishai know they'll be swept away by public outrage and disgust. So they feed the public pablum, speaking about a peace that can never be (certainly, not in the present constellation.)
Is it a Divine Decree that these people remain in power? Is this a punishment from on High?
There is no way of knowing, though teshuvah is always in order.
So is the conclusion of Churchill's speech:
"Thou are weighed in the balance and found wanting."
And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning.This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.