May 11, 2009

More on Zionism

Sinner that I am, and easily provoked, too, I have been back on contentions. A commenter challenged me thus:
The enemies of Israel and of the Jews lie shamelessly about them. To “grumpy old man”: It is the Muslims (and maybe some Christians) who want to destroy Israel and the Jews. The war against the Jews in Eretz Yisroel was started by Haj Husseini, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who organized attacks on Jews in 1921, before there was the modern state of Israel. The objections Muslims have to Israel is religious, that it is a Jewish state; the objection that some Christians, like Edward Said, have is that they are Greek Orthodox, a very anti-semitic church, or that they are buttering up to the Arabs.
I drafted a reply, and then decided not to post it there, where the response most often is to call me a Nazi or a wanker. Instead, I'll post it here:
Your facts are partly correct, but you are fundamentally in error. From the beginning, most of the Arabs in what became the Palestine Mandate opposed the entry of any large number of Jewish colons [settlers], knowing that they claimed the land and sought to build their state there. This enterprise could not be accomplished without the dispossession of most of the then inhabitants, as Jabotinsky, his vision uncorrupted by socialist dreaming, well understood. This claim was religiously specious in Christian and Mulsim terms, and indeed in terms of the Judaism of the era, and so regarded by the observant. In secular terms, Zionism was a typical colonial enterprise, and the yishuv [the Jewish community in Palestine before independence], pieds noirs ["black feet," the French, Spanish and Italian settlers in French Algeria, now gone] who did not believe in the Trinity. Like all such enterprises, Zionism involved courage and resourcefulness in the face of adversity and injustice to those who were there before.

Would most of the Arabs still like to see the Jewish state gone? Probably, having lost several wars, their homes and villages. No doubt this attitude are unforgiving, and perhaps unrealistic, but what else do you expect?

However flawed their rationale, the Israeli Jews won the important wars, and created a nation that for most is the only home they know. Moreover, as many Jews were pushed from Arab lands and Arabs from Palestine. A population exchange happened and will not be undone.

One dreams that the two nations could somehow live together quietly, whether as separate ethnic groups in one nation or as separate nations. Pessimism in this regard is warranted. It is likely that like the last religiously-inspired European interlopers, the Israelis will disappear in the next 50 to 10 years. Even now, emigration exceeds immigration, and taking quality into account, exceeds it all the more.

Meanwhile, Israel becomes ever more thuggish and degraded, the strategic reasons for the US to subsidize, arm and protect Israel become ever more attentuated, and as American Jews disaffiliate and intermarry, the political reasons for the old US policy are also weakened.

The militant supporters of Israel in this country nevertheless advocate interventions and stances that are not in our national interest. The "special relationship" draws us into an interminable conflict, and implicates us in more and more criminal acts. All of this gets transmogrified, in their propaganda, into a moral and ideological struggle.

Why should we be drawn into a conflict because some fascist Brooklynite wants to live in the "Holy Land" and proceeds to build a mini-Massapequa in some poor Arab's olive grove? It makes no practical or moral sense.

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