An Addendum to theReflections
Logic in Defense of Zionism
The media nowadays are overwhelmingly biased against Zionism and Israel. This posture has lately become more than a mere fashion – it is now the “spirit of the times”, a popular “axiom” that it is forbidden to even question. As an acquaintance remarked to me during the recent Gaza war – it is really an emotional burden for us Jews to have to bear this massive negative vibration emanating from so many of our fellow human beings at once. Indeed, never before in history have so few been blindly hated by so many. In the past, such hatred was concentrated on some communities more than others – but nowadays, due to media hype, the orchestration of anti-Semitism has taken literally world-wide proportions.
There are many aspects to this issue, of course. My purpose here is to remark on some of thelogicalaspects of it. I wish to bring to your attention some of theinconsistencies and empirical failuresin the argumentum of the opponents of Zionism.
A standard argument of anti-Israelis is that the Jewsstolethe land now called Israel. It is important to debunk this claim because it is alleged by leftist opponents of Israel to bethe causeof their opposition to it. It is on this basis that they pose as indignant defenders of justice and morality. They claim the Arabs, or “Palestinians”, were there before the Jews, natives living peacefully, minding their own business, when they were invaded by foreign imperialists (i.e. the Jews) who displaced them and colonized their land. This argument is not only historically false, but logically absurd.
If the Jews had gone to Uganda (as was proposed to them at the beginning of the 20thCentury), they could have been labeled invaders and settlers, for they had no historical connection to that land. But when the Jews came to the land then called Palestine, they were returning home, to the land of their direct ancestors. Their situation at the time was analogous to that of exiled Tibetans today. If these Tibetans wish to reclaim their country, now or hundreds of years from now, who would dare deny them their moral right and legal title to the whole land or assert that people who took their place in the meantime have a valid claim to any part of it?
Historically, it is well known since antiquity that the Jews (or Israelites or Hebrews) have inhabited the land of Israel since 1300 BCE (counting as of the Exodus from Egypt) or since 1700 BCE (counting from the Patriarch Abraham’s immigration from Mesopotamia). These are traditional Biblical dates (some anti-Zionist historians dispute them, but even if some 500 years are subtracted, our arguments will hold, so this issue does not matter here).
When the Jews arrived, there were other peoples there, who have all since disappeared from history– either killed in wars or exiled abroad (as many Jews were) by Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, etc. The peoples who were present were in any case not “home grown”, but themselves immigrants or parts of peoples spread further afield. Thus, the Philistines (a non-Semitic people) probably came from the Greek islands, the Hittites (also non-Semites) came from Anatolia, the Amorites (Semites, like Abraham) came from Mesopotamia, the Canaanites were Hamites according to the Bible or Semites from Arabia according to some historians, and so forth. All these disappeared by the time of the First Exile, i.e. the 6thCentury BCE.
This country being at the crossroads of three continents has always been a melting pot of different peoples. Humanity, remember, has always been in motion, ever since the first men emigrated from East Africa. None of the peoples who antedated the Jewish presence, note well, were the progenitors of present-day “Palestinian” Arabs. The latter arrived much later: some conceivably came in the wake of the 7thCentury CE invasion of the land of Israel by Arab hordes recently converted to Islam; but many came much more recently, in the 19thand 20thCenturies (at the same time as Jews were returning from Europe and surrounding Arab countries).
Reading current ‘Palestinian’ narratives, one might suppose that these Arabs were createdin situ. But this is of course a story lately concocted for propaganda purposes by pseudo-historians. European and Jewish travelers to the Holy Land in the 19th Century all testified to the depopulation and desolation of the land.
So to the question: who was here first and who came after? – the answer is indisputably: the Jews came before the Arabs, a couple of thousand years before. Moreover, it is significant that the Jews have inhabited that land much longer than the Arabs have. If any people is indigenous to that land, then, it is undoubtedly the Jewish people. Furthermore, the fact on the ground that the Jews are now in control of the land is significant. These three factors – who came first, who was there the longest and who is now sovereign – determine the superiority of the claim to the land (the whole land) by the Jews in any rational and fair assessment.
Prior to the Arab arrival, the Jewish nation lost its sovereignty to the Greeks, then the Romans (who renamed the country as Palestine in an effort to conceal its Jewish ownership). Many Jews were exiled after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, but many stayed on (as attested, for instance, by the redaction of the Jerusalem Talmud in the 4thCentury). Dominion passed on to the Byzantine successors of Rome and (briefly) to Persian conquerors, until the Moslem Arabs came as conquerors and settlers in the 7thCentury, as already indicated.
If any group in the region can be accused of imperialism and colonialism it is demonstrably the Arabs, who left their native peninsula to spread by the force of arms from India to Spain in a matter of decades. They still today occupy most of these stolen lands – from Iraq to Morocco. It is therefore ironic that these very people accuse Jews of those particular crimes. They claim that Israel (or more moderately, parts of it) is “occupied Arab land” and complain of “settlements” in it – but forget or conceal that not just Israel butallthe land outside of Arabia proper that they stand on today is land the Arabs stole from other peoples!
This is, of course, alogicalmistake in their argumentum. There is however another, more subtle, inconsistency that I wish to bring to your attention. Anti-Israelis answer the above historical arguments by saying: “well, but this is all ancient history – the fact is that in the mid-20thCentury, the Jews displaced the Palestinians [i.e. Arabs] and took over their lands.” Why is this inconsistent? I will now explain.
If we accept that ancient Jewish history is irrelevant and what counts is who was in fact inhabiting most of the land some decades before the Israeli War of Independence – then we could equally well argue that recent Arab history is irrelevant and what counts is who is in fact inhabiting most of the landtoday. If the fait accompli of the Arab takeover of the land of Israel in the 7thCentury (and later by other conquerors, most recently the Moslem Ottoman Turks) is morally acceptable, why is the fait accompli of the Jewish takeover in the 20thCentury morally unacceptable? Who decides how many years of de facto possession constitutes legal ownership? By what universal standards?
Clearly, those who deny Israel its right to exist usean arbitrary double standard, which cuts history up in ways convenient to Arab claims. If might is effectively right in the case of the Arabs, then it is logically also right in the case of the Jews. If we are going to be Machiavellian about it, we must be so all the way. So long as the Jews are able to maintain their independence from Arab hegemonic ambitions by the force of arms, they have full right to the land. If they are fool enough to let themselves be weakened by the psychological war their enemies wage against them, and they give up their possessions, no one will defend their rights.
But in any case, I do not advocate that might is right. Jews have a much better and more lasting claim to the land of Israel. This isthe land of their ancestors, which they have in part at least inhabitedfor about three and a half thousand years. The fact that other peoples (including the Arabs) invaded that land since their arrival, and often killed or chased many of them off does not diminish the Jewish claim, because there were demonstrably (through plentiful documentary and archeological evidence) some Jews in the land throughout this historical period, and because Jews have survived history and continued to claim that land. This argument has force irrespective of one’s religious convictions (or lack of them), note well.
As for the “Palestinians” – i.e. the Moslem Arabs living in “Palestine” – it should be added that they were never a distinct people, with a distinct history and culture, until some smart propagandists invented them a few decades ago. They always existed as undifferentiated Arabs, scattered throughout the Middle East since the Arab invasion of it. The land they lived on was always part of or possessed by a larger political entity. There was never an Arab nation or sovereignty specifically on Palestinian soil. The last effective sovereign before Israel was the British Mandate, and before that was the Ottoman Empire. So the Arabs have no national claim to the land.
There would be no Arab-Israeli conflict if the Arabs had done the right thing from the start and left the land to its rightful owners, the Jews. The surrounding Arab countries ought to invite their brethren back home – if necessary, all the way back to their original Arabian homeland (now oil-rich and quite able to sustain them). Nearly a million Jews were expelled or escaped from the Arab countries in the years surrounding the creation of the State of Israel; and most of these refugees (and millions more from other countries) were lovingly absorbed by that country. There is no reason why the Arabs should not likewise show hospitality to their kin, for the sake of lasting peace.
No good can emerge from perpetuating the problem of conflicting claims to the same land. The “two state solution” currently proposed is a road map to hell. Only tension, hatred, war and suffering can come from it. It is designed to so narrow and weaken the Jewish State as to ensure its eventual destruction. Everyone knows this is the secretly desired outcome of that “peace plan” – it promises the peace of the (Jewish) grave. Israel cannot rationally be expected to commit suicide. Those who sincerely want peace should advocate, facilitate and help finance the obvious solution of an international program encouraging voluntary emigration of Arabs.
Because, for the moment, anti-Zionists vehemently deny that they are anti-Semites, it is important to demonstrate their equivalence. The simplest way to do so is to examine whether the passions aroused in anti-Israelis by events in Israel are proportional or disproportional, in comparison with the passions aroused in them by events elsewhere. This is an appeal to the logic of causation, the branch of formal logic that tells us how to identify causes and effects. If a person reacts differently to similar circumstances, we naturally ask why; if we discern a pattern of behavior such that when Jews are involved the reaction is one way and when they are not involved it is another way, we may fairly infer that the observed difference in behavior isdue tothis differentiating factor.
The question is: are the current opponents of Israel simply ‘pro-Palestinian’ or ‘humanitarian’ (as they claim) – or are they prejudicially anti-Israeli? If Israel was not Jewish (but the creation of some other ethnic group) would reactions to it be the same? The empirical facts are the following. When Palestinians are subject to similar or worse sufferings due to the actions of other Arabs or Moslems (for example, when thousands of them were killed in Jordan in September 1970), the public outcry is much smaller or non-existent. When similar or worse sufferings happen to Jews by the hand of Palestinians (women and children deliberately killed by terrorists) or to other peoples elsewhere (for example, the Darfur minority in the Sudan), again the public outcry is noticeably less or almost nil. The reactions to Israel are evidently out of all proportion, compared to usual reactions.
Such observable discrepancies clearly and irrefutably prove that anti-Israeli sentiments are rooted in anti-Semitism and nothing else, for a majority Jewish population is the distinguishing mark of the Jewish State. The importance of this argument cannot be exaggerated: the evidence at hand proves the true cause. However much anti-Israelis protest their objectivity and even-handedness, their actions speak louder than their words: their basic motive is manifestly anti-Jewish racism and their reactions are manifestly based on double-standards.
They protest that “it is surely possible to criticize the Israeli government’s behavior without being an anti-Semite” – but the question they do not answer, note well, is: how come that criticism is so much more virulent than the criticism towards other countries or peoples for comparable behavior? Criticism is legitimate – but unfair criticism, criticism using double standards, is not legitimate. If all humans are equal in their hearts, then their indignation, anger and hatred should be commensurate with actual events. For instance, if a couple of thousand Palestinians die in anti-terrorist operations, while 400,000 Darfur people die in ethnic cleansing operations – the emotions aroused by the latter events should objectively be at least 200 times more intense than in the former. Yet the opposite occurs. This proves double standards are involved.
Some anti-Semites moronically claim they are not anti-Semitic, since they are Jewish or Arab and therefore themselves Semitic! This is just word-play. The word ‘anti-Semite’ originally (19th Cent.) meant anti-Jewish – if now some sophists wish to change its meaning to include hatred of all Semites (so as to dilute its significance), then we could simply have to start using the word ‘anti-Jewish’ instead. And of course, there is no denying that some Jews are anti-Jewish (we call these ‘self-hating’ Jews).
In conclusion, it is very important for people to get acquainted with the full and real history of the land of Israel, which clearly and unequivocally declares the Jews’ just and full entitlement to it. The media succeed in their misrepresentation of the Jews’ rights first of all by falsifying history. When, to give one example, the Moslem authorities (theWaqf) currently in charge of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem shamelessly claim that there was never a Jewish Temple on the mount, or even a Jewish kingdom in Israel, and mainstream TV or newspapers report such statements without comment, implying acquiescence, history is being deliberately falsified for political ends. It is no wonder then that the man in the street believes the canard that Israel is “occupied Palestinian/Arab land” and consequently feels hostility against Israelis/Jews.
Moreover, the pseudo-reasoning that leads such people into anti-Israeli views has to be challenged. Double standards are clearly involved, as above shown. This is not entirely due to dishonesty – in some cases, the fake arguments are difficult to unravel and expose. Even so, there is obviously a great deal of dishonesty out there. There is a perverse will to mislead public opinion; most of the journalists, professors and politicians involved are not innocent bystanders, but active enemies of Israel. As other commentators have already pointed out, they adhere to a new secular religion – one in which the nation of Israel (“le juif des nations”) plays a central role as the bad guy, towards which negative passions are deliberately channeled.
We are indeed witnessing “lynch-mobbing” on an unprecedented international scale – totally unfair and unrelenting criticism of Israel, without concern for the destructive consequences, indeed relishing them. This is objectively not just anti-Israeli propaganda; its ultimate aim has got to be the destruction of the Jewish people as a whole. Eretz Israel houses almost half the world Jewish population, and has the sympathy and support of the vast majority of Diaspora Jewry. As Arab propaganda makes clear, the Arabs make little distinction between the groups. When they speak of Israelis, they call them simplyal-yahud– the Jews. They openly and explicitly dream of Jewish genocide.
If anything proves the need for Jews to have their own independent and strong country, even today after the Holocaust, it is precisely this world-wide anti-Israel media campaign. We see here again, barely half a century after the murder of 6 million Jews of Europe by apparently civilized peoples, how easy it is for the modern media to excite the masses against Jews. Journalists are the new priests, preaching hatred. Some do so explicitly – but most do it in a more “politically correct” manner: by selective information (i.e. withholding relevant information) and by disinformation (i.e. peddling false information). The message “Israel is the bad guy” can be transmitted loud and clear in tacit, subliminal ways – by the choice of pictures, by background music, by the tonality of voiceover, by the wording used, and many similar propaganda tricks.
The way things are going, I sometimes fear that one day soon, if we are not careful and we do not react energetically to this new war against the Jews, the world as a whole will conspire to erase our race from this planet. The United Nations will vote to annihilate us, using all sorts of pious arguments to give themselves a good conscience about it. They will say it is a necessity for the sake of world peace and international progress. Everyone will be relieved and happy at last; a sense of unity and common purpose will pervade the world.
An agency will be created and funded to overview the complex operation. Employment will increase and the economy will be stimulated. The Red Cross and Red Crescent will be appointed to ensure that humanitarian standards are maintained in this worthy cause. They will visit the construction sites of modern, computerized killing factories, andcertify theirpainlessnessand hygiene.If some of the Jews dare object or rebel, Amnesty International and Peace Now will brand them as terrorists. Other registered NGOs will make sure that, to be fair, all Jews are included in this Final Solution, and none are allowed to convert to other religions or to plead to have been Israel-bashing atheists. It will all be done cleanly and efficiently, putting Hitler and other predecessors to shame.
This is I hope an extreme, nightmare scenario – but who would have imagined the Shoah humanly conceivable a few years before it happened? We cannot ignore that Iran’s current threat of nuclear war against Israel is looked upon with utter insouciance by the world’s political authorities, media and populations. Many may be suspected to hope Israel will indeed be “wiped off the map”. This is not a mere Islamist or Palestinian/Arab dream, but the secret desire of many anti-Semites in the West, on the Left as well as the Right. The bloodbath will surely not end there. Experience of past pogroms shows that once the killing orgy starts, it is hard to stop. No Jew in the world, whatever his or her political leanings, will be safe.
People of good faith must rally fully behind Israel. This Jewish State was created for a purpose, to ensure the future protection of all Jews against any velleity of genocide. Its necessity is manifest still today.
Note that the Hamitic and Semitic languages are very close, and linguistic indices play an important role in the historians’ theories of origins of peoples.
Less than 500 years ago. These Ottoman Turks, note, were not native to the region, but descendents of invaders of the Middle East originating from the central Asian steppes, related to the Mongols.
Or more recently (in 2007), during the bombardment of a ‘Palestinian’ refugee camp by Lebanese forces trying to destroy a terrorist group there.
Even while loudly accusing Israel of having genocidal intentions against the Palestinian Arabs. But there are no such velleities among Jews – it is a pure invention of Israel’s enemies.