Auction No. 106

Letters by A. Einstein and Other Illustrious Personalities, Zionism, Jewish Art, letters of Rabbis and Rebbes and Collection of letters to Sir Moses Montefiore from the archive of the late Rabbi Avraham Shisha - London - Buyer's commission 22%

March 6, 2018
Opening $ 800
Estimate $ 1,200 - $ 1,500
Sold for $ 976
Including buyer's premium

Letter from David Ben-Gurion, written to the editors of the Haartez newspaper, to deflect criticism of him for having conducted correspondence with French President De Gaulle. Sde Boker, January 16,1968.

Specifications: [1] page paper. 21x13 cm.

Background: After the Six-Day War, De Gaulle accused Israel of starting the war, and hence developed hostile policies against Israel, which included an embargo on weapon sales to Israel. In November, 1967, De Gaulle convened a press conference in which he harshly attacked the State of Israel. Using language with anti-Semitic undertones, he referred to the Jewish people as "an elitist, self-confident and domineering people." Following this, a correspondence developed between David Ben Gurion, the former Prime Minister of Israel, and De Gaulle. At De Gaulle's initiative, their correspondence was published in Israel and France, and this led to criticism of Ben Gurion by Foreign Minister Abba Eban. In order to defend his position, Ben-Gurion chose to write the letter before us and send it to Haaretz for publication. In his letter, Ben-Gurion stresses his right as a free citizen of the State of Israel to conduct communications without censorship and with whom he sees fit, and in the process criticizes the Mapai regime.

Quotes from the letter: "Foreign Minister Abba Eban displayed public resentment of me for having sent a letter to General De Gaulle without his or his staff's knowledge. And since I appreciate the Foreign Minister's work, I see it as a duty to explain to him that we do not live - at the present time in any case, and I hope also for the future - in a dictatorial, "communist," or fascist country - and each person is allowed to converse and correspond with anyone he sees fit, without any censorship whatsoever. I took upon myself, for reasons that I will not state here, a single limitation: not to discuss the present government's interest and policy with anyone who is not Israeli, even foreign Jews who come to visit me in Sde Boker, for my own reasons ...

Anyone who has read my letter ... knows that in this letter I only discussed De Gaulle's unfortunate statements at the November 1967 press conference; the nature and ways of our people; the return to Zion and the areas of the land; and conversations I had with De Gaulle on these matters when I was prime minister. I do not think I need guidance or censorship on these matters from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or anyone else, though I know there are others who possess the talent and capability to write things that are more beautiful and intelligent. I did not show my last letter to De Gaulle to anyone - except for Paula - until the letter reached the person to whom it was addressed. And I do not see the need to show anyone what I write to whom I write. The regime that was practiced over the past few years in Mapai does not obligate the state, and I hope that the citizen's freedom will exist in the future in our country.

Respectfully, David Ben Gurion

Fine condition. Fold marks. Tiny tears on the edges of the page, along the fold line.

Herzl, Jabotinsky & Ben Gurion