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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Guest opinion: Abraham H. Miller

Editor’s note: The following letter is in response to Zamir Thind’s letter to the editor that ran on Thursday’s opinion page. Miller taught at UC Davis from 1968 to 1971. He has lived in Contra Costa County since 2002.

I recognize that one should never judge the content of a course by the accounts of its students, but Mr. Thind’s recounting of the history of the Middle East is so confused that one has to wonder if he sleeps through class or if this is indeed the kind of drivel that is disseminated in POL 136 at UC Davis.

The assertion that the Jewish state was created out of fear of assimilation is as mindless as it is insipid. The Jewish state was the result of two imperatives: a 3,000-year affinity to the land, and a need for the Jewish people to find refuge in a world where the British Foreign Office and the American State Department preferred that Jews died in Hitler’s gas chambers rather than be rescued through emigration.

Contrary to Mr. Thind’s assertions, Britain actually hindered the creation of a Jewish State. As the British withdrew from the Mandate, they turned over strategic positions to the Arabs while disarming the Jews. Britain created the Arab Legion, staffed with British officers, that was the best trained and equipped and most capable fighting force during the Israeli War for Independence. At the UN, Britain actually abstained on the vote for partition and did not even recognize Israel until Jan. 29, 1949. A generation earlier, Britain arbitrarily created the “faux” state of Jordan, from which Jews were excluded.

As for the canards equating Judaism with Nazism, they are not worthy of a response.

Certainly, Mr. Thind must have learned in POL 136 that nearly one million Jews were expelled from Arab lands after 1948 and that for a Palestinian to sell land to a Jew is a capital crime.

In contrast, over a million Arabs live in Israel with equal political rights. Arabs serve in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and have represented Israel at the UN and in Israel’s diplomatic corps. In Arab and Muslim lands, where Jews lived for centuries before there was an Islam or an Arab nationalism, almost no Jews remain.

Mr. Thind needs to rethink which culture seeks exclusion.


  1. TJ Maxx, I am sorry that my arguments are confusing to you but I am glad your wife gets pleasure from my readings. She needs to get that from someone. Maybe that was bit harsh :D, but Brits can take a joke can’t they? Apparently, my writings are a joke to you and your wife so I guess it all works out. Raul, why is the land theirs? Cause your faith says so? By that standard any Muslim extremist or Christian crusader is validated then when their faith suggests that Jerusalem is theirs and they have a right to it. Surely, that is rational? for Camp David, there is evidence on both sides for their contribution for its failure. Anyway, please read my comments on Mr. Feldmans’ page as they will be my last.

  2. The need to create a homeland stems from a 3,500 year old relation to this land. Zionism is Jewish self determination. Throughout years of exile, the Jews longed to return to their ancient land. In my church we sing a song- its probably 2,000 years old- By the Rivers oF Bablyon- its a Zionist anathem, expressing the longing of these people for their home

    You say a “3,000 year affinity to the land” does not mean a people, regardless of faith or ethnicity, are entitled to that land. And why not? Its theirsAnd in spite of everything, they’ve been willing to share with anyone- the Bahai have their world center in Israel Over a million Arabs make Israel their home. ANd if only the palestinians were willing to compromise there would be peace. At Camp David the Palestinians were offered 30 BILLION dollars. 97% of the west Bank, 100% of Gaza. They said no. They want nothing less than the destrution of Israel

  3. Monsieur contour66 (whom I presume to be the venerable M. Thind)

    You are quite a confusing man in your arguments that I have read on this website. Perhaps you may want to write an additional letter of rebuttal to this periodical. My wife, an Israeli national, happens to find your arguments quite amusing for our evening reading! Carry on lad, carry on.

    Waiting for your next comment eagerly,


  4. Raul, again the course I am taking is not the only source of knowledge nor is it the basis of my opinion. Your point is valid in that the Mufti killed numerous amounts of Jews as well as Arabs. Not only this, but he was pivotal in preventing a Jewish/Arab state as he refused any compromise. This the mistake of one man backed by some British officials. Not a movement of peoples, as he was put in place by anti-Zionist British officials after being released from prison for his crimes against Jews. So to answer your question, I know nothing about the mufti. There is only so much information that can be written in a 500 word column, so forgive me if I do not account for every single detail of the conflict.

  5. Does Mr. Thind even know about the relationship of the Grand Mufti Al-Husseni and Adolf Hitler? The Grand Mufti trained the Bosnian SS units, and met with Hitler about implementing a “final solution” to the Jewish Problem in Palestine. This is docemented in both men’s diaries.

    The Grand Mufti waqs the first in the region to use terror for politic gain=- I haven’t taken a ten week course, so what do I know, but it seems to me that a comparison of the Nazis and the Palestinians might be more appropriate historically

  6. Indeed I did read it. Mr. Miller should not judge the class, but is more than welcome to judge my opinion. I find it particularly hilarious that Professor Miller chooses to call my opinions “mindless” and “insipid”. Maybe if I enrolled in one of the professors’ classes my opinions would be “imaginative” and “interesting”. Anyway, the “need” to create a homeland is distinctly a sociological matter and is directly related to assimilation. Why was there a need? What distinguishes this need from a want? Is it fear of annihilation or the spread of anti-Semitic beliefs? There is no denying that these beliefs were increasing within the German state, but how does that legitimize the creation of Israel on occupied land? Had it been a random area with no distinct population, then the current situation most likely would have been avoided. Moreover, a “3,000 year affinity to the land” does not mean a people, regardless of faith or ethnicity, are entitled to that land. Where is the real logic in that statement? Faith should not dictate nor justify whether one controls land and others do not, irrespective of religion. As for Britain, they did indeed create and arm the Arab Legion, and yes they did limit migration in order to appease the Arabs. The British, similar to all of their colonies, tried to appeal to both sides in order to maintain control and ended up in conflict with both Arabs and Zionists. The Arab forces were also more interested in retaining territories than helping the Palestinians. Yes, the Palestinians could have accepted the original UN resolution, but would this really have produced different results? The continued occupation of Palestinian territories seems to refute this. It is rational for peoples to react harshly when they have their land stripped from them. Arab nationalism is a direct response to that of Zionism. If I came into a persons’ house and pushed them out, I am sure that person would react similarly. That is the reality of the situation. To assume people will take such things in stride is just absurd. There is no doubt in my mind that countries such as Iran are guilty of not assimilating and promoting Islamic-jihad ideals. I do not agree with that either. However, it seems that when some Israeli policies are met with criticism, their response is that those criticisms are simply anti-Semitic.


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