Golda Meir Douglas Murray Things Worth Remembering
Golda Meir in Israel in 1969, twenty-one years after she gave her speech imploring American Jews to support the Jewish state. (Photo by KEYSTONE-FRANCE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Things Worth Remembering: ‘We Will Fight with Stones in Our Hands’

Months before Israel achieved independence in 1948, Golda Meir came to America, asking for help in the battle for survival.

Welcome to Douglas Murray’s column, Things Worth Remembering, in which he presents great speeches from famous orators we should commit to heart. To listen to Douglas recite from Golda Meir’s January 1948 speech in Chicago, scroll to the end of this piece.

Last Saturday, Iran launched 300 missiles and drones at the Jewish state. With help from the United States, France, Britain, and importantly, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, Israel destroyed almost all of them; and on Thursday, the Jewish state struck back

It was a reminder that Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel was not an isolated act of terrorism, and that it was most certainly not part of a Marxist-inspired campaign to “decolonize” the Middle East, as so many Hamas apologists in the West insist on believing.

Instead, it was part of a broader Arab, and really, Muslim inability to recognize the Jewish people’s right to self-determination in the land that they had first inhabited more than 3,000 years ago, been kicked out of, returned to, been kicked out of again—and then started to return to en masse in the late 1800s.

A half-century after the rebirth of the Zionist movement, Israel finally gained its independence, and in 1948, when the United Nations announced the creation of the State of Israel in the historic homeland of the Jewish people, there was dancing in the streets of Tel Aviv. 

But the new state’s neighbors didn’t allow the party to go on long. As most readers will know, no sooner was the state created than it was assailed by its Arab neighbors, who hoped to kill it at birth.

Much of what is going on today—including Iran’s recent failed attack on Israel—can be traced to that catastrophic decision by Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, and others not to accept the Jewish state.

Today, it seems almost unimaginable that, in 1948, after so many years of struggle, the Israeli public had to go through yet another war. I frequently marvel that they had the energy and courage to do so, though I suppose that many were impelled by that all-important truth that Golda Meir imparted to then-Senator Biden: “We have nowhere else to go.” 

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