Tuesday, October 28, 2014
The Spielberg Jewish Film Archive - "Where Do You Get Off" - Edward G. Robinson's Incredible Pre-Israel Fundraiser
This is an amazing piece of footage as Jews across America sought to help their brothers struggling for independence in Palestine. “‘Palestine?’ Ron, did you just say “Palestine?”
Well, actually I wrote it, but yes I did use that word and that is the word that the Romanian-born Jewish actor uses in his appeal.
The first question that comes to mind is why would Robinson, a Jew, seeking Jewish independence use the word Palestine? Very simple—Before Yassar Arafat ingeniously created a fictitious Arab ethnic group called Palestinians, everyone in that region of the world was called a Palestinian—Jews and Arabs alike. The Jewish-owned newspaper was called “The Palestine Post.” Just 62 years ago there wasn’t even a hint of Arab culture or identity connected to the word Palestine. It was simply a region of the world that Roman’s renamed (470 years BEFORE Mohamed was born!) in order to get rid of the Jewish ethnicity and flavor of the region—formerly Judea and Samaria—after the Romans conquered Israel in 135 CE.
The second thing I would like to note about the video, is the people on the boats. While it made have been obvious to Robinson’s audience who they were, most people today would not understand. During and after World War II, dilapidated run-downed ships sought to secretly bring in Jews to Palestine. (see Ron’s blog, Ode to Abe for more on this subject) “Between August 1945 and the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948, 65 ‘illegal’ immigrant ships, carrying 69,878 people, arrived from European shores. In August 1946, however, the British began to intern those they caught in camps in Cyprus. Approximately 50,000 people were detained in the camps, 28,000 of whom were still imprisoned when Israel declared independence.”[i] The ones you will see in this short film are most likely holocaust survivors being arrested by British forces (who ironically fought against the Nazis) detaining the Jews in Cyprus internment camps (which felt an awful lot like concentration camps.)
Having said that, it is an historic video that reminds us nostalgically of old Hollywood and I think you will enjoy it and be provoked as well. The video is five minutes. Feel free to leave a comment below and use the links underneath to email this to others or post it on Facebook or Twitter.