It is time once again for me to write about Israel and Zionism, after reading some particular blog posts today. I hope to not lose too many readers, this time, but, if people really want peace in Israel, it is never too late to challenge long-held assumptions related to Israel and Zionism.
Unfortunately, there are many people who get their information from the mainstream American news media who get their information from the Israeli news media who merely are the propaganda mouthpiece for the Israeli government. There are many people in America who, if you asked them to describe in one word the Israeli Palestinians, they would say, “terrorists.” This despite the fact that most of the Palestinian population of greater Israel are just regular people trying to live their lives. A tiny fraction of the Arab population are hostile to the Israeli Jews, but a larger percentage of the Israeli Jewish population are hostile to the Arabs there.
We don’t really hear about these facts, certainly not from our brain-dead news media. But it could be that, here in America, the Israel First crowd and the Islamophobes have made themselves much more openly transparent, this may be the beginning of finally at least questioning many Americans’ and especially the U.S. government’s blind allegiance to Israel. Philip Weiss gives some indication of that from his recent experiences on some college campuses.
But in Israel, according to Ynet News, a recent study on the opinions of Israel’s Arab and Jewish teens and young adults showed that 46% of Israeli Jewish teens support revoking Israeli Arab’s basic political rights in Israel. If this is true, where are these kids getting these racist, hostile attitudes? From their parents? From the Israeli government? From the Israeli media?
Also in the poll, only 14% of the Israeli Jewish youths view democracy as an important national goal, while 26% viewed Jewishness as an important national goal.
It is no surprise to me that 93% of the Jewish youths views the IDF with complete trust, and that 60% of the Jewish youths preferred “strong leadership” over the rule of law, and, when asked how they feel about Arabs, 25% of the Jewish teens responded with “hate.” Not good.
SUNY Buffalo Political Science Professor emeritus Jerome Slater presented this article on his blog: The Jewish State Controversy: Can Zionism Be Reconciled With Justice to the Palestinians?
Slater includes some historical notes, and divides Zionists into rightwing Zionists, liberal-left Zionists and centrist Zionists. And he reviews some of the issues involved in the justifications for Zionism, geographically and politically, as well as the Biblical justifications. He notes that some people cite the Balfour Declaration, but that the Declaration also states that “nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.” (Perhaps the Israeli Jewish youths should read the Balfour Declaration.)
Slater discusses the various possible solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict, but he does note that, regarding the formal creation of the current state of Israel in the 1940s, “given the unavoidable injustice to the Palestinians, though, it might have been possible for Israel to have mitigated that injustice in a number of ways, particularly if it had refrained from ethnic cleansing and allowed the creation of a Palestinian state.”
Slater considers himself a Zionist, although a “disillusioned” one. In that post, he noted,
Israel is here to stay and almost certainly it will continue as a predominantly Jewish state, whether or not it is formally acknowledged as such. Not only is that a fact of life, but it is a legitimate fact of life: in light of 2000 years of antisemitism it cannot be said that there is no longer a need for a Jewish state, principally but not solely to serve as a refuge for Jews who may find themselves in desperate straits into the future.
I agree with David Samel, who responded to that post by Jerome Slater, that Slater “concedes that this unfairness, which has taken the form of dispossession, military occupation and inequality, has been egregious and intolerable, but argues that it theoretically could have been kept to an acceptable level and could possibly be reduced to such level in the future. I think there are some serious flaws in his analysis that deserve attention.” And Samel continues from there.
Following the response by David Samel, Jerome Slater responded to Samel’s response.
Well, I have written here several times now on the issue of Zionism. To me, it is fine if collectivists want to create a homeland for people who share the same religious or ethnic heritage in whatever territory they wish, as long as they are peaceful, and as long as they honestly acquire whatever lands they need for such a project. But, as Murray Rothbard noted, the acquisition of the land of Palestine by the Zionists was a matter of conquest, not by voluntary association and voluntary contracts. Additionally, the displacement of thousands of Arabs that was essentially ethnic cleansing to make way for the newcomers, and the subsequent abuses, theft of Arab-owned lands, and State-institutionalized discrimination against the territory’s own indigenous population, have tarnished Zionism, and, I think, permanently so.
If only the Zionists were not extremists, and did not insist on Palestine and only Palestine as the new place to be the homeland for the world’s Jews. But that is what they insisted on, and based solely on the mystical emotionalism of Biblical scriptures. There is also this collectivist notion of Jews as the “chosen people” that I very much do not agree with because, in my opinion, NO ONE individual or group is or had been selected by God to be “chosen” or “special.”
We are all God’s children and with equal value, in my opinion.