The Neglected History of the State of Israel

One of Chotiner’s best interviews ran this past November. A leader of the militant West Bank settlement movement told him that Jews have a sacred duty to occupy all the land between “the Euphrates in the east and the Nile in the southwest,” that nothing west of the Jordan River was ever “Arab place or property,” and that no Arabs, even citizens, should have civil rights in Israel.

Even the most learned and thoughtful observers of Israel and Palestine miss a basic historic foundation of the crisis.

Chotiner asked, “So rights are not some sort of universal thing that every person has. They’re something that you can win or lose.” The settler answered, “That’s right.” He followed up: “When you see Palestinian children dying, what’s your emotional reaction as a human being?” She replied: “I go by a very basic human law of nature. My children are prior to the children of the enemy, period. They are first. My children are first.” Chotiner responded with incredulity: “We are talking about children. I don’t know if the law of nature is what we need to be looking at here.” The settler, nonplussed, repeated herself: “I say my children are first.”

I USE THE WORD “FASCIST” in the literal sense. Do not flinch from it. The founders of Revisionist Zionism certainly didn’t. Respect them enough to take them at their word.

In 1928, a prominent Revisionist named Abba Ahimeir published a series of articles entitled “From the Diary of a Fascist.” They refer to the founder of their movement, Ze’ev Jabotinsky (his adopted first name is Hebrew for “wolf”), as “il duce.” In 1935, his comrade Hen Merhavia wrote that Revisionists were doing what Mussolini did: “establish a nucleus of an exemplary life of morality and purity. Like us, the Italian fascists look back to their historical heritage. We seek to return to the kingdom of the House of David; they want to return to the glory of the Roman Empire.” They even opened a maritime academy in Italy, under Mussolini’s sponsorship, for the navy they hoped to build in their new Israeli state. “[T]he views and the political and social inclinations of the Revisionists,” an Italian magazine reported, “are absolutely in accordance with the fascist doctrine … as our students they will bring the Italian and fascist culture to Palestine.”


And this is what militarized nationalism gives you. A bunch of orcs.

PugJesus avatar

And even if the Jews were to win the war, its end would find the unique possibilities and the unique achievements of Zionism in Palestine destroyed. The land that would come into being would be something quite other than the dream of world Jewry, Zionist and non-Zionist. The ‘victorious’ Jews would live surrounded by an entirely hostile Arab population, secluded into ever-threatened borders, absorbed with physical self-defense to a degree that would submerge all other interests and acitvities. The growth of a Jewish culture would cease to be the concern of the whole people; social experiments would have to be discarded as impractical luxuries; political thought would center around military strategy…. And all this would be the fate of a nation that — no matter how many immigrants it could still absorb and how far it extended its boundaries (the whole of Palestine and Transjordan is the insane Revisionist demand)–would still remain a very small people greatly outnumbered by hostile neighbors.

Under such circumstances… the Palestinian Jews would degenerate into one of those small warrior tribes about whose possibilities and importance history has amply informed us since the days of Sparta. Their relations with world Jewry would become problematical, since their defense interests might clash at any moment with those of other countries where large number of Jews lived. Palestine Jewry would eventually separate itself from the larger body of world Jewry and in its isolation develop into an entirely new people. Thus it becomes plain that at this moment and under present circumstances a Jewish state can only be erected at the price of the Jewish homeland…

  • Hannah Arendt
roastedDeflator, (edited )
roastedDeflator avatar

And even if...

The notion of "if" can very well be used in philosophy and many other disciplines.

In historical terms it is not a viable notion. If just one single event would occur differently, it would trigger a chain of events that would change. The number of speculations about those potentials is literally infinite.

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