When Abba Eban, appeared at the United Nations following the Six Day war, Israel’s foreign minister, he described the fragility of Israel’s 1949-1967 map as Israel’s “Auschwitz” lines.
Abba Eban, who died on November 17, 2002, will forever be remembered as Israel’s most articulate foreign minister
The following statement by Abba Eban was cited in the Jerusalem Post of August 18, 1995 by Jerusalem Post columnist Moshe Kohn:
“We have openly said that the map will never again be the same as on June 4, 1967. For us, this is a matter of security and of principles. The June map is for us equivalent to insecurity and danger. I do not exaggerate when I say that it has for us something of a memory of Auschwitz. We shudder when we think of what would have awaited us in the circumstances of June, 1967, if we had been defeated; with Syrians on the mountain and we in the valley, with the Jordanian army in sight of the sea, with the Egyptians who hold our throat in their hands in Gaza. This is a situation which will never be repeated in history.”
– Abba Eban, Israeli Statesman, in Der Spiegel, November 5, 1969
(with thanks to Dr. Aaron Lerner and to Clarence Wagner for locating this item)
On July 26, 1978, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, whose parents and older brother were murdered by the Nazis, commented on Israeli Televsion about Abba Eban ‘s use of the term “Auschwitz lines”, when he described the June 4, 1967 map, saying that “you have never heard such an extreme term from me… because there will be no Auschwitz here”.
Yet Abba Eban had a way of presenting Israel’s case in the context of the traumas of Jewish history.