Thursday 17 June 2010

Palestines and Poles

When one read the FT’s reports and editorials on Israel’s attack on the high seas on the Turkish ships headed for Gaza, one is reminded of another mercy mission to a besieged population: The airdrop of arms and supplies to Warsaw when the city rose against the Nazis in the final months of the Second World War.

The Red Army was, as every Western commentator faithfully repeats, at the doorsteps of city, but did nothing to help the Poles. Nor did it allow the Americans and English to use airfields under its control to drop supplies.

In fact, one account has a Red fighter attacking an English plane, flying all the way from Africa to help the Poles.

The obvious is never mentioned. Like, being on the doors of a city is not the same as having it. Now knew the difference better than the Reds. The Nazis were on the doors of Leningrad for 900 days. And were kept out of Moscow and Stalingrad too.

Like, the Russians were at the end of their tether and were in no position to attack an entrenched German citadel.

Like, they had refused help to the Poles before they rose.

Like, everyone knew those airdrops were worth only propaganda, which the Russians could not have wanted.

Like, no matter how despotic and terrible Stalin & Co were morally, they were militarily right on this one.

The parallels with Gaza are obvious (the Reds are the Israelis, Hamas the Nazis, the Palestines are the Poles and the English speaking nations, Turks), except the ready sympathy and pragmatism the Israelis enjoy has been conspicuous by its absence on Warsaw over the last 70 years.

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