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The Mudcat Cafesj

User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Nickhere BS: Israeli Jews/Israeli Arabs (372* d) RE: BS: Israeli Jews/Israeli Arabs 12 Jun 08

Ok, I see what you are saying. But I (maybe wrongly) wonder what exactly is meant by 'destroying the State of Israel'? At first glance it seems to mean an act of genocide, as in killing the Jewish population who inhabit it. On the other hand, it could mean something else: that the Jewish population living there and the State of Israel can be seen as two seperate entities (hear me out!):

It has been pointed out already that Jews were living in the area down through the ages, which is one of the basis some people use to say there is a continuous historical claim for Jews to regard Palestine as a homeland. Now that being so, it appears that Jews lived alongside Palestinain arabs and otehr ethnic groups in relative peace, if not actual harmony, apart from occasional outbursts of ethnic conflict. I recently finished reading an excellent book on the Templars (by Piers Paul Read - one the best and least sensational account of the fighting Order). There were outbursts of ethnic conflict in the region down through the ages, even prior to the Crusades. He mentions how on at least one occasion Jews massacred Christians, then of course the Crusaders sacked Jerusalem and massacred Jews. But in more recent centuries there seems to have been less conflict. One reason for that may have been the firm fist of the Ottoman empire (much like Tito holding things together in Yugoslavia) until the Otttomans went into decline.

Therefore it does not seem, historically, that the actual presence of Jews in the region was considered to be a problem by the Palestinian arabs who were sharing the territory with them. The conflict seems to have arisen mainly when zionists were starting to accomplish their objective of creating a geographical territory in the region which was intended to be dominated by Jews (in the sense that it was to be a Jewish homeland, and therefore with an assumed majority Jewish population making laws in a majority Jewish parliament for the benefit of a majority Jewish population).

Since immigration into what was to become Israel was already well underway by the time the state of Israel came into being in the 1940s, the sudden influx of immigrants was obviously going to raise tensions. Israel is not unique in this regard, we have witnessed similar tensions in almsot any European country that has seen periods of large-scale immigration (eg, Britain in the 60s and 70s). The Palestinian arabs had a lot culturally in common with the Jews living in the region in terms of lifestyle etc., but the European and Russian Jews arriving were a different proposition: they brought very different cultural expectations etc., and many brought the memory of the holocaust which not unnaturally left them with a 'siege mentality'. Moreover among their number were many religious zealots who believed in their God-given right to dominate whichever other ethnic groups already lived there (as is echoed in the pages of the Old Testament / Torah).

There was another big difference compared to the European experience of immigration: immigrants from former UK colonies in teh 60s and 70s were expected to get on their bike' find a job and buy or rent themselves somewhere to live (once they got past the 'no dogs, no blacks, no Irish' signs). There was no quetsion of them arriving and turning English natives out of their homes or throwing them off their land to live as their 'superiors' with an immigrant government approval. On the other hand, this is what happened as Israel, as we know. Conflict was inevitable since the Jewish immigrants coming from Europe and Russia were given the right to throw Palestinians out of their homes, shops and farms and take up residence in their place.

Thus while we can say that Jews and Palestinian arabs had managed to live alongside each other RELATIVELY peacefully until the 20th century, the creation of the state of Israel was altogether a different experience. It brought with it a huge influx of culturall very different Jews from those that had traditionally inhabited the region; the dispossesion of Palestinians, their expulsion; and the relegation of those that remained into a kind of second class citizen within their own homeland. I don't think you need to be a genius to work out what the problem is there.

Now it may be that behind the hyperbole, when Hamas talk about the 'state of Israel being wiped off the map' what is meant is undoing this political entity / state and perhaps replacing it with something more equitable. If I may refer to another precedent: the Civil Rights marchers of 1960s Northern Ireland were not seeking independence so much as just to be treated at least as equal citizens of the UK, of which the North was supposed to be a part. Instead they were met by the batons, bricks and baseball bats of a Protestant / unionist majority who believed in their own God-given supremacy to lord it over the other half of the population and refused to give even the steam off their piss to the civil rights crowd, and Catholics in general. The result of course was 35 years of what was effectively civil war and some 3,500 dead. Nowadays the Northern State as a geographical entity still exists (though one wonders for how much longer) but the nature of that state has started to move towards the more equitable inclusive society it should have been. Israel seems a bit of a 'Northern Ireland for slow learners'

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