PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 7)
British historian Arnold Toynbee renewed his attack on Jewish claims to Israel in the current issue of the Jewish Quarterly Review, published by Dropsie College, which appeared today. He was rebutted in the same issue by Prof. Solomon Zeitlin, noted Jewish historian.
The exchange resulted from an article by Dr. Zeitlin in the July 1961 Review which was published with an earlier article by Dr. Toynbee. In the current issue. Dr. Toynbee contended that his main thesis was “that the human rights of the inhabitants of a country over-ride the historical claims of the descendants of people who were inhabitants of the same country a long time ago but who have not constituted more than a small minority of the population for a long time past.” He said that Dr. Zeitlin had failed to take direct issue with this thesis.
The Jewish historian replied that Jewish claims as crystallized in the restoration of Israel had been validated by the United Nations, that the State of Israel had been recognized by most countries of the world and has been a member of the United Nations since 1949.
Dr. Zeitlin rejected Dr. Toynbee’s contention that what prevented the Arab refugees from recovering “those lands” was the refusal of Israel to agree to their reinstatement. Dr. Zeitlin then cited documentary evidence that the Arabs in Palestine had been ordered by Arab leaders to leave the area and that those Arabs who had ignored those orders had continued to live at peace in Israel “with seven representatives in the Knesset.”
The Jewish historian called Dr. Toynbee’s proposal for unlimited re-admittance of the Arab refugees the equivalent of asking Israel “to commit hara-kiri.” He also dealt with Dr. Toynbee’s contention concerning the historical “minority” status of Jews. declaring that more than 200 years after the collapse of the Bar Kochba revolt in 135 C.E., “the Jews in Palestine were far in excess of the percentage you assigned to them.”
Dr. Zeitlin added that more than 200 years later, in 351 C. E., the Jews were strong enough and numerous enough to revolt against Rome in order to regain their political independence.”