The debate currently taking place in Israel on a controversial bill for a Basic Law declaring Israel to be a "Jewish state", which is seen as compromising equality by differentiating between Jewish and non-Jewish citizens and considered as one of the most divisive laws in the country's 67-year history, makes it particularly important to take a position on the issue of this unique nation.
I have to say that my opinion of the Arab–Israeli conflict has oscillated a few times over the years. It is a complex situation, or rather it may appear so due to the difficulty of finding non-partisan accounts.
When I joined the counterjihad movement a few years ago, my views became heavily influenced by the pro-Israel element that dominates it.
But my doubts have never completely gone away, and now things are much clearer to me.
I am in good company. Among those who, like me, over time shifted their opinions about Zionism and eventually took a negative view of Israel is one of the world's most famoust and respected Jews: Albert Einstein, “the world’s first international media star”.
In his book Einstein on Israel and Zionism (Amazon USA) (Amazon UK) , Fred Jerome shows the Nobel-prize-winning physicist's "eventual dismay that Israel had become the “captive of narrow nationalism” that he had feared."
The book collects Einstein’s letters, essays, interviews, speeches and thoughts about Zionism and Israel from 1919 until his death in 1955, and includes this testimony to the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine in January 1946:
Judge Hutcheson: It has been told to our committee by the Zionists that the passionate heart of every Jew will never be satisfied until they have a Jewish state in Palestine. It is contended, I suppose, that they must have a majority over the Arabs. It has been told to us by the Arab representatives that the Arabs are not going to permit such condition as that, they they will not permit having themselves converted from a majority to a minority.This is what we, as Europeans and more generally whites, don't want either: to have a minority immigrating to our countries who wants to replace us as a majority and take over.
Dr. Einstein: Yes. [Emphases added]
With what consistency, then, can we take the side of the Jews doing the same thing to Christian and Muslim Palestinians? Being anti-Islam shouldn't blind us to injustice just because it's done to Muslims (and not even only to them in this case).
The testimony goes on:
Judge Hutcheson: I have asked these various persons if it is essential to the right or the privilege of the Jews to go to Palestine, if it is essential to real Zionism that a setup be fixed so that the Jews have a Jewish state and a Jewish majority without regard to the Arab view. Do you share that point of view, or do you think the matter can be handled on any other basis?Adam Horowitz on Mondoweiss explains that Einstein opposed partition and supported a bi-national state that would ensure equal rights for Palestinians and Jews.
Dr. Einstein: Yes, absolutely. The state idea is not according to my heart. I cannot understand why it is needed. It is connected with many difficulties and a narrow-mindedness. I believe it is bad.
Judge Hutcheson: Isn’t it spiritual and ethical – I do not mean this particular Zionist movement, I do not mean the idea of insisting that a Jewish state must be created – isn’t it anachronistic?
Dr. Einstein: In my opinion, yes. I am against it . . .
Many in the Jewish community responded to Einstein with letters of protest and anguish, including expressions of "a certain horror and sincere doubt as to your mental processes.”
Horowitz maintains that there has never been consensus within the Jewish community on Zionism or Israel, but an intense debate.
The best evidence that the intention to dispossess and displace Palestinians has been there all along from the beginning is in the words of Zionist and Israeli leaders:
Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism, wrote: “We shall have to spirit the penniless population (the Arabs) across the border … while denying it any employment in our own country.”The interpretation of the Middle East conflict as caused by Muslim supremacism doesn't seem to hold water.
Chaim Weizmann, the first president of Israel, said: “Palestine is to become as Jewish as England is English.”
David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, wrote: “I favor partition because when we become a strong power we will abolish partition and spread throughout Palestine.”
He also said: “Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves … we are the aggressors and they defend themselves”; and wrote this: “If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural, we have taken their country.”
Also, in a letter to his son: “We will expel the Arabs and take their place.”
Moshe Sharett, Israel’s first foreign minister and second prime minister, is quoted in “Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict” as saying: “We have forgotten that we have not come to an empty land to inherit it, but we have come to conquer a country from people inhabiting it.”
Moshe Dayan, Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff and later defense minister, was a straight talker: “There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.”
Richman and Grossman tell us that in 1967, “the Arab world threatened Israel with destruction.” Here’s what then-Prime Minister Menachem Begin said in 1982: “In June 1967, we had a choice. The Egyptian army concentration in the Sinai approaches did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”
The Arabs did not initiate the war, Israel did.
The main events of the origin of Israel, as described for example by J.M. Roberts' The History of the World (Amazon USA) (Amazon UK) and other sources, are these. At the time of the British government's Balfour Declaration (2 November 1917, named after the British Foreign Secretary A.J. Balfour), 600,000 Arabs and 60,000-80,000 Jews lived in Palestine.
The Balfour Declaration, enshrined in a League of Nations mandate in 1920, said that a "national home for the Jewish people" would be founded in Palestine, while respecting and preserving "the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine".
Neither Britain, which then had a Mandate for Palestine, nor anyone else later could reconcile the conflicting principles.
The situation was precipitated when, soon after the end of World War II in 1945, the World Zionist Congress demanded that one million Jews be admitted to Palestine at once.
The United States had a major role by turning pro-Zionist, a necessity dictated by the 1946 mid-term congressional elections in which Jewish votes were important.
The British decided to withdraw and, on the very day they did, 14 May 1948, the state of Israel was proclaimed.
The justification for this act of dispossession was and is in the predominant historiography of the Holocaust. This is the reason why doubting the latter's orthodox account is in many countries an imprisonable offence. The first instigators of "hate crimes" and "hate laws" in Western societies have not been the Muslims, but the Jews.