Harpo: “Why a duck, why a no chicken?
Groucho: You try to cross over that river in a chicken and you’ll find out why no chicken. Now, let’s say you come to the river and you want to ford it.
Harpo: What would you want with a Duck if you have a Ford?”
Groucho Marx trying to explain to Harpo why there is Viaduct on the River
I sometimes feel the same way when I see this question posted. The truth of it is this; Israel is subject to scrutiny that no other Nation-State in perhaps the history of the planet is subject to. Many feel (including some Christians) that Israel is somehow the illegitimate product of Western Colonialism, and unlike the US, they feel they have a chance to undue the “injustice” of Israel’s founding.
First, a few myths about Israel’s founding:
1) The Palestinians are the native people and the Jews took away their land.
Nonsense, Even the term “Palestinian” is unhistorical. It was a derisive term coined by the Romans taken from the name of one of the early European tribes in the area the Philistines. The Romans believed the term Palestine “tweaked” the Jews and the name stuck. Today’s Palestinians have no connection by birth or lineage to those early Phoenician inhabitants. In fact many of them are descendants of Syrians, Jordanians or Egyptians who immigrated around the same time as the Jews did.
The dirty little secret of the entire Palestinian meme is that prior to 1900 the land that is now Israel was largely vacant, ruled by the Ottomans, and inhabited by Bedouin Arabs, Christians and Jews. As late as the Civil war the majority of the occupants of Jerusalem were Jewish. And in the early 1700’s the land that was visited by many European explorers had no Arab city names, literature, and very few occupants. All of Gaza only had about 500 residents in 1695, about 50% of which were Christian, and 50% Jewish.
The reality is this; the population of all of the Blafour territories in 1914 was about 700,000. By 1947 it was almost 2,000,000. And the Arab population grew by over 700,000 during that time period. In fact MORE ARABS IMMIGRATED TO PALESTINE THAN JEWS did during the growth of Zionism. Why should the descendants of those Arab immigrants have any more claims on the land than the Jewish immigrants did?
2) Israel is the product of Western European colonialism.
Well, really it’s a product of the Jews tenacity with a little help from the Marxists East. Despite the often-fabled plot of Sykes-Pinchot, Great Brittan took an active role in preventing the formation of a Jewish State as early as 1935. In 35 they barred all Jewish immigration to Palestine, while they began to arm the Arabs of the Area. During the 1948 war of independence they armed the Jordanian Foreign legion, Air Force and Egypt’s army. France armed Syria, and The US sat it out. I guess they didn’t get the memo about a need for a Western colonial presence in the ME. Israel purchased most of it’s arms that it didn’t steal during combat from the Eastern Block (Czechoslovakia and Hungary) and despite Truman’s endorsement it was Stalin who provided the most material support. He saw Israel as a “solution” to his Jewish “problem”.
3) All the Palestinians really want is a State, and to Co-exist with the Jews.
If this were true, we’d all be singing Kum-bi-ya in our Pajamas around a Kibbutz campfire. The reality is the UN offered a two state solution both before and after the 48 wars of independence and the Arabs turned it down. Arab leaders actually instructed Palestinians to leave their homes and that after they invaded they’d get their land back and the land of the Jew next door. The Palestinians turned down Golda Meirs offers of land for Peace, and Baraks offer at Camp David, their leadership squandered most of the Oslo accords economic aid on enriching their own personal coffers. Henry Kissenger said it best “the Palestinians never miss and opportunity to miss an opportunity”.
The one issue that no Palestinian apologists will ever broach is this. Why, when Gaza was occupied by Egypt, and the West Bank by Jordan was the PLO formed to attack Isreal in 1962? This was Israel in the pre-67 magic borders that everyone claims is the biggest impediment to peace. Why didn’t the PLO have any demonstrations or attacks on their Jordanian or Egyptian occupiers at the time? The PLO never recognized Israel’s right to exist, and neither does Abbass’s new partner Hamas today. The reality is, the Palestinians have always been more interested in revenge than a State.
Chaim Weitzman was quoted as saying something to the effect of “just give us a state, I don’t care if it’s the size of this tablecloth”. And the Palestinians were arguing about a few acres at Camp David.
The biggest reason Israel is needed is really very simple. The rest of the world simply can’t be trusted with its Jewish guests. As we heard in the News last week where pro Russian thugs were demanding the Jews to register in towns in the Ukraine, the worlds record with it’s Jews is one of tragedy to tragedy.
The Holocaust was not a new phenomenon it was an extension of Jewish life in the most civilized “enlightened” country in the West. And it wasn’t unique, whether it was the Dreyfus affair in France in the late 1800’s or the Syrian Blood Libels, or the Programs of the Czars, or the Programs of the ancient Greeks. There has not been one Nation that has welcomed its Jews free from discrimination and Anti-Semitism. It is the oldest hatred, and still perhaps the most pervasive.
The reality is most of those questioning the Jewish State’s “right” to exist have no problem with Jewish Tailors, or Deli owners. There are even a few of them left in Tehran. But god forbid an uppity Jew is allowed to “run” something. It’s interesting that in the real theocracies of the world (the Muslim states) Jews are allowed to own a business, and to marry, but they aren’t allowed to employ and non- Jews or date or marry non-Jews. I have had some of these Anti-Semitic apologists even point to the Jewish community in Iran as “proof” that Jews are respected in the Arab world. Can you imagine the same apologists claiming that blacks living under Jim Crow were “respected”? In Iran, a Jew is not allowed to testify in court or bring charges against a non-Jew; this is what goes for respect in the world of the Anti-Semite.
In 1984 Ethiopian Jews faced certain slaughter in the Sudan as a result of the civil war and the resulting famine. And make no mistake their Jews were targeted and intentionally denied food aid from the World Community. About 4000 Jews died as a result of forced marches by Sudan’s Muslim secret police. Israel in a secret operation smuggled 8000 Jews out of the Sudan. Would the US have done it? France? Great Brittan? We weren’t singing, “We are the World” for another year. In 1991 Israel took in another 14,000 more Jews from Ethiopia.
This doesn’t even include 1.1 million Jews who left the Soviet Union for Israel during the 70’s or the 850,000 Jews expelled from Arab lands between 1948-1952 who went to Israel. Or the 100,000 or so Jews that left Iran after the Islamic revolution. These Jews would have been left simply with no place to go, and certainly no place to run.
I think one of the things these haters are truly in denial about is the overt racism of their views. Judaism is a RACE and a religion. Unlike most branches of Christianity one is born into Judaism. In fact in 1930’s Germany as vast majority of the Jews had converted to Lutheranism or were agnostics and considered themselves perfectly assimilated into Germanys modern culture. It didn’t matter in the Third Reich.
Much the same can be said about the Jews of Malmo Sweden today who are leaving in record numbers because they fear for their safety, or the Jews of today’s France who no longer schedule large gatherings without armed guards, or the Jews of China who are now the bearing the brunt of the blame for the latest economic downturn.
Assimilation hasn’t worked for the worlds Jews, and one must ask question, why are the Jews the ones who are being asked to assimilate? Again I believe this comes back to the “uppity Jews” question. Jews make great comedians, tailors, and run great delis, but don’t let them tell me what to do. Israel is simply the only place on the planet where Jews can claim a safe haven and that they are running the place. If you believe that the Jews don’t have a right to that after 2000 plus years of persecution I’d have to ask why?
The Irony is these same anti-Semites never question Pakistan’s “right to exist”, there are certainly 56 other Muslim theocracies where those oppressed Pakis could reside should their existence be threatened. Pakistan was formed about the same time as Israel, as a safe haven for the descendants of the Muslim invaders who devastated the Indian subcontinent. Why are none of the complainers about the Jewish “theocracy” in the ME complaining about a REAL theocracy on the Indian sub-continent?
Complaining about Israel’s policies is not my complaint. Israel is a land that has almost as many political parties as citizens. But complaining about it’s “right to exist” is entering Holocaust Denier territory. You have a right to do it, but don’t be surprised if I call you out.