A History of theIsraeli-Palestinian Conflictfrom aProgressive Zionist PerspectiveBy Rabbi Maurice Harris
The Guiding Values of Progressive Zionism National liberation of the Jewish people / self-determination Freedom from anti-Semitism / existential security for Jews Manifesting the best of Jewish values, beliefs, and culture as a nation – what Rabbi Kaplan called “ethical nationhood” Justice / Tzedek Peace / Shalom Democracy Human rights Respect for the equality of all the religions and peoples of the Middle East Balancing Jewish rights with the rights of the Palestinians & other non-Jewish stakeholders (Druze, Bedouin, Baha’i, Christians, Samaritans, etc.)
The Guiding Values of Progressive Zionism Hillel’s ethic:
The Guiding Values ofProgressive Zionism Opposed to Cosmic War ideologies Jihadism Religious Messianic Zionism Christian Zionism (see Reza Aslan’s How to Win a Cosmic War)
Sub-topics: Your Interests1. The Occupation and its impacts2. Anti-Semitism in the Arab world, Anti-Arab/Islamic bigotry in Jewish & Christian worlds, & the dangers of Cosmic War3. The Shoah and its impacts4. Denial of the Other’s basic identity or claim by both sides5. Propaganda from both sides, & recognizing it6. Understanding Israeli feelings of vulnerability and risk7. Understanding Palestinian feelings of vulnerability and risk8. The “One-state-solution” – Right Wing Jewish/Christian version9. The “One-state-solution” – Palestinian justice version
• 1200 years of Israelite / Jewish civilization• Birthplace of the Hebrew Bible and much of the Christian scriptures• Birthplace of rabbinic Judaism and of Christianity• A civilization of reference for Islam• Strategic hinge: meeting place of 3 continents• Israelite independence always precarious
Bunting Map – 1581, Magdeburg Jerusalem is the center
THE ROMAN EXILE & THERELATIONSHIP OF THEJEWISH PEOPLE TO THELAND DURING EXILE
THE ZIONIST MOVEMENT &THE RUN-UP TO THE BIRTHOF THE STATE OF ISRAEL
Some Context Pogroms Blood Libels Dhimmi status for Jews in Muslim lands Dreyfus Affair New Racial Anti-Semitism Enlightenment ideals: democracy, self- determination, nationalism Disregard for desires of Arabs living in Ottoman controlled Palestine
The Balfour Declaration "His Majestys Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.“ - 1917
San Remo & the League of Nations’ Awarding to Great Britain of a Mandate for PalestineWhereas the Principal Allied Powers have agreed, for the purpose of giving effectto the provisions of Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, to entrustto a Mandatory selected by the said Powers the administration of the territory ofPalestine, which formerly belonged to the Turkish Empire, within such boundariesas may be fixed by them; andWhereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory shouldbe responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the saidPowers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home forthe Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be donewhich might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewishcommunities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews inany other country; and . . . (continued)
Whereas recognition hasthereby been given to thehistorical connexion of theJewish people withPalestine and to thegrounds for reconstitutingtheir national home in thatcountry;
British backtracking… Jewish immigration restricted During W.W. II 1939 White Paper
Perception of Zionists as Aiming to Dispossess“We must expropriate gently theprivate property [and] spirit thepenniless population across theborder.”-Theodore Herzl’s diary, 1895“The Arabs will have to go.”-Ben Gurion in letter to his son, 1937
Popular Arab protest ofBritish immigration policy reJews & British agreement toa Jewish homeland
THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE– AN ISRAELI PERSPECTIVE
Jews expelled in conquered areas, in a few cases massacred Gush Etzion Massacre – May 13, 1948 (image is actually a burial of IDF troops who had been part of a convoy to G.E.)Jews expelled from Old City JerusalemSynagogues Destroyed
From a pro-Palestinian web site:The massacre in Deir Yassin was part ofan official Zionist strategy to frightenPalestinians out of their land and intoneighboring countries. Yosef Weitz,member of the Jewish Agency’s TransferCommittee declared that “betweenourselves it must be clear that there is noroom for both people together in thiscountry… we shall not achieve our goalwith the Arabs in this small country. Theonly solution is a Palestine without theArabs and there is no other way than totransfer Arabs from here to the neighboringcountries, to transfer all of them, not onevillage not one tribe should be left”.
Standard pro-Palestinian Take (Pappe, Said & others) Deliberate and massive ethnic cleansing by Israel (Plan Dalet) Western colonial powers never consulted the actual inhabitants of Palestine and didn’t respect their clear wishes re Jewish immigration & creation of Jewish state. Zionist militias used terrorism often and did some shocking and shameful things to civilians. UN law conditions Israel’s existence on the pre-existing Arab residents’ rights not being violated, including their absolute right of return. Israel – morally and legally illegitimate
Standard pro-Palestinian take Israel was born in “Original Sin.” This sin is so great that justice demands transformation of Israel into a secular, binational state, combined with full right of return for all Palestinian refugees. Loss of Jewish collective sovereignty as a result is a reasonable outcome and not the problem of Palestinian Arabs who did not perpetrate the Holocaust and should not have been forced to give up their lands and homes to make room for a Jewish state. The occupation of Palestinian territories that begin following the 1967 war is a moral outrage of its own, but it is not the primary problem. 1948 is the primary problem.
Standard pro-Israel take International community had determined that Jews had a legit claim and should have homeland in part of Palestine. Arabs rejected all reasonable international proposals for partition & walked out on negotiations. In the aftermath of the Shoah, Jews were desperate and had few viable good options other than Zionism. Flight of Arabs from Palestine wouldn’t have happened if Arab countries hadn’t attacked new State of Israel. Few Arabs were literally expelled by force or with intent to do ethnic cleansing. Just before the ‘48 war, some Arab leaders claimed they were going to dispossess or exterminate the Jews, and Jews had good reason to think they meant it.
Standard pro-Israel take Arabs were not the perpetrators of the Holocaust, but anti- Semitic propaganda similar to the kind found in Nazi Germany was popular in the Arab world, and key Arab leaders formed alliances with the Nazi regime. Palestinian Arab militia groups used terrorism often and did shocking and shameful things to civilians. Jews living in Arab lands were suffering inequality and discrimination. Israel’s creation gave them a refuge and their first experience of self-determination and sovereignty. Anti-Jewish persecution following 1948 drove most of these Jews out of their homes and lands, and to some degree their refugee experience should ‘cancel out’ the moral claim of Palestinian refugees.
Morris, Avineri & Co. International community had determined that Jews had a legit claim and should have homeland in part of Palestine. Arabs rejected all international proposals for partition & walked out on negotiations. In parts of the territory during the war, the Israeli forces did engage in deliberate and forcible ethnic cleansing. There wasn’t a coordinated master plan for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, but there was an atmosphere supportive of such actions by regional army commanders. Plan Dalet wasn’t an “ethnic-cleansing-of-Palestine” plan; rather, it was a military plan for solidifying territorial gains and defending against future invasion.
Morris, Avineri & Co. Arab forces engaged in ethnic cleansing in areas where Jews lived in the Jerusalem area. Israel refused to re-admit Palestinian refugees following the war. (Avineri: I received orders to shoot on sight Arab civilians attempting to return to their homes in Israel.) Israeli leaders were pleased with the drop in the Arab population and had no intention of allowing the refugees back, despite the argument that this may violate the UN’s terms of Israel’s existence. Arab leaders were unwilling to consider a peace agreement that would include recognizing Israel, with refugees part of the negotiation.
Morris, Avineri & Co. Palestinian Arab militia groups used terrorism often and did shocking and shameful things to civilians. Right-wing Zionist militias used terrorism often and did some shocking and shameful things. Morris: there were more massacres & expulsions committed by IDF than by Arabs.
The UN and Israel’s LegalLegitimacy as a State
Progressive Zionist Takes on 1948The war can be described as “Arab-Jewish fightingover the same piece of land and for demographicsuperiority.” – Shlomo Ben Ami The Jewish claim for self-determination and sovereignty in some part of British Mandate Palestine was and is legitimate, and as a matter of human rights it should be given its due. The Palestinian Arab claim to self-determination and sovereignty in Palestine is also legitimate and should be given its due. Compromise and partition, with honesty about the past and mutually agreed upon compensation for losses, all form parts of a just solution.As Jews we can’t deny the wrongs committed by ourside. Admitting to those wrongs does not mean givingup our homeland.
Unequal Use of Resources •Israel‘s gov’t has supplied 440,000 Israeli settlers and Israel proper with 87 percent of the water from the West Bank’s eastern aquifer, leaving 2.5 million Palestinians to survive on the remaining 13 percent.
Not discussed enough…ANTI-SEMITISM IN THE ARABAND ISLAMIC WORLD
Case in point: Use of TV to reinforce anti-Jewish stereotypesHamasTV
Case in point: Use of TV to reinforce anti-Jewish stereotypesEgyptianTV
ANTI-ARAB AND ANTI-MUSLIMPREJUDICE IN THE JEWISHAND CHRISTIAN WORLDS
Arab-hating web sites &media http://jtf.org/israel/israel.black.nazi.nelson.mandela.htm http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bngtfUvN2s8 Note: radio caller at 2:20
A Lens for Viewing the Conflict:THE ABRAHAMIC RELIGIONS& COSMIC WAR
Abrahamic Religious Messianism and the conflict Scripture is clear that When all of Eretz one of the events Yisrael is resettled by God has planned is its rightful Jewish the return of the owners, Hashem- Jews to the Holy willing, moshiach will Land. These events be sent. will precede the Second Coming of The blood of our martyrs will be Christ. celebrated, and when the 12th Imam reappears, Allah will set right all of the injustices, beginning with Palestine.
A Lens for Viewing the Conflict:THE SHOAH AND ISRAELIEXPERIENCE
Two iconic images(credit to Rabbi Daniel Gordis)
Radical Messianic ZionismUntil 1967 religious Zionists in Israel were marginalized both by the secularmajority, and by the more visibly religious groups that seemed to offer a moreauthentic, uncompromising brand of religion. The Six-Day War of June 1967resulted in the the capture of East Jerusalem and other territories of the BiblicalLand of Israel.The long-range fate of these territories, and their Arab inhabitants, became amajor controversy of Israeli policy makers. From a purely secular perspective,the choice was between the military security that was offered by the expandedborders and the relative demographic stability that would be achieved byexcluding their large Arab population from the domain of a Jewish state.
A religious claim provided strong justification for those who wishedto hold on to the occupied territories: If the State of Israel wasviewed as the unfolding of a Messianic scenario, then themiraculous victory of the Six-Day War was an essential stage inthat process. The territories belong to the Jewish people (i.e., theState of Israel) by Divine decree and they may not be handed overto foreign hands.The issue of territories, viewed in an eschatological context, becamethe defining feature for broad segments of religious Zionism in thepost-1967 era.Under the spiritual leadership of Zvi Yehudah Kook, with its centrein the yeshivah founded by the elder Kook, Jerusalems "MerkazHarav," thousands of modern young religious Jews campaignedactively against any territorial compromise, and establishednumerous settlements throughout Judea and Samaria.
Many of these settlements, though originally founded illegally,were subsequently granted official recognition by the Israeligovernment, especially under right-wing regimes.The most powerful political voice of the movement againstterritorial compromise became "Gush Emunim" (the Bloc of theFaithful).
Christian ZionismTheology of Christian ZionismThe actual theology of Christian Zionism, also known as Biblical Zionism,supports the right of the Jewish people to return to their homeland onscriptural grounds. The biblical foundation for Christian Zionism is found inGods Covenant with Abraham. It was in this covenant that God choseAbraham to birth a nation through which He could redeem the world, and todo this He bequeathed them a land on which to exist as this chosen nation.Christian Zionism is confirmed throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. The majorand minor prophets consistently confirmed this national calling on Israel,promised her future restoration to the land after a period of exile, and spokeof her spiritual renewal and redemption bringing light to the world.
Christian Zionism differs with Replacement Theology which teaches that the special relationship that Israel had with her God in terms of her national destiny and her national homeland has been lost because of her rejection of Jesus as Messiah, and therefore the Church has become the new Israel. The Church has then inherited all the blessings promised to Israel but the judgments and curses still conveniently remain over the Jewish people.Instead, Christian Zionism teaches from the scriptures that Gods covenant withAbraham is still valid today. There remains a national destiny over the Jewishpeople and her national homeland is her everlasting possession in fulfillment ofGods plans and purposes for her. The New Testament scriptures not only affirmthe Abrahamic covenant, but they confirm the historical mission of Israel andthat Israels gifts and calling are irrevocable.Thus, Christian Zionism is not based on prophecy or end-time events. MostChristian Zionists would agree, however, that Israels reemergence on theworlds scene, in fulfillment of Gods promises to her, indicate that otherbiblically-predicted events will follow.Rev. Malcolm HeddingVice-Chairman of the Board, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem
PROGRESSIVE ZIONISM: APROPOSAL TO END THECONFLICT AND PROVIDEPARTIAL JUSTICE FOR ALL
The Geneva Initiative The Geneva Accord principles:• End of conflict. End of all claims.• Mutual recognition of Israeli and Palestinian right to two separate states.• A final, agreed upon border.• A comprehensive solution to the refugee problem.
•Large settlement blocks and most of the settlers areannexed to Israel, as part of a 1:1 land swap.•Recognition of the Jewish neighborhoods inJerusalem as the Israeli capital and recognition ofthe Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem as thePalestinian capital.•A demilitarized Palestinian state. Israeli armypresence in strategic locations in Palestine for initialtime period.•A comprehensive and complete Palestiniancommitment to fighting terrorism and incitement.•An international verification group to overseeimplementation.
FAQs on Geneva Initiative:3)On the refugee issue, if large numbers ofPalestinian refugees indicate that they want tochoose Israel as the country they move to,how will Israel be able to maintain its Jewishdemographic majority?5) If this agreement were implemented, wouldPalestinian refugees be able to take legalaction to make claims on property andpossessions lost in 1948-49?7)What happens if militant groups orextremists take over Palestine and use it as abase for firing rockets or launching terroristattacks against Israelis?9)Is the G.I. well-known among Israelis andPalestinians, and how much support does ithave? Would other Arab countries sign peacetreaties with Israel if Israel and the P.A.accepted this accord?
Former PM Ehud Olmert"If the day comes when the two-statesolution collapses, and we face aSouth African-style struggle for equalvoting rights (for the Palestinians in theterritories), then, as soon as thathappens, the State of Israel isfinished.""Forty years after the Six Day War ended, we keep finding excuses not toact. This isnt doing Israel any good. The international community isstarting to view Israel as a future binational state. We can prove that wehave been more creative than the other side through the years, and thatthey have been more obstinate, but as usual, we will win the debate bylosing sight of whats really important.
"We can always find very good reasons for not doing things now, and for why we would be better off postponing everything to a later date," continued Olmert. "We refuse to face reality. Time is not on Israels side, not because our cause isnt just, but because time has its own repercussions."I admit - this hasnt always been my position. In the past Ive said- and I said it to (former Labor Prime Minister Ehud) Barak at thetime - that what he agreed to in Camp David (in 2000) was wrong."I used to believe that everything from the Jordan Riverbank tothe Mediterranean Sea was ours. After all, dig anywhere andyoull find Jewish history. But eventually, after great internalconflict, Ive realized we have to share this land with the peoplewho dwell here - that is if we dont want to be a binational state,"said Olmert.
Israel, Olmert noted, is the most powerful nation in the region."No other nation is as strong and no other nation in the MiddleEast can rival us. The strategic threats we face have nothing todo with where we draw our borders.”"We can argue about every single detail, but when we finallyhash out an agreement we may find we no longer have theinternational communitys backing, or a partner for that matter.Well be left with nothing but the feeling that once again, as forthe past 40 years, we were right."Im not kidding myself," he added. "I know the change Im talkingabout wont rid us of all the threats. Well still be facingPalestinian threats across the security fence, since they have noreal security establishment, but we can deal with all of that andwe would be better off dealing with it than cementing the notionof a binational state in the international communitys mind."
Israeli Military & Security Experts Supporting P.Z.• Maj Gen (Ret.) Avraham Adan| former Commander of the Armored Corps• Maj Gen (Ret.) Shlomo Gazit | former Head of Military Intelligence, Chairman of the Jewish Agency and President of Ben Gurion University• Maj Gen (Ret.) Amos Lapidot | former Commander of Israeli Air Force• Brig Gen (Ret.) Menachem Aviram | former Commander of Paratroopers Brigade and of the IDF Command and Staff College• Avner Azulai | former senior Mosad official• Brig Gen (Ret.) Asher Levy | Deputy Commander of the Southern Front• Maj Gen (Ret) Zeev Livneh | established the Home Front Command• Maj Gen (Ret.) Aviezer Yaari | former Commander of Military Colleges• Brig Gen (Ret.) Giora Ram | former Deputy Commander of the Israeli Air Force• Maj Gen (Ret.) Dr. Elad Peled | former Commander of National Security College and Director General of the Ministry of Education
“We, the citizens of Israel, call on the public to supportthe recognition of a democratic Palestinian state as acondition for ending the conflict, and reaching agreedborders on the basis of the 1967 borders. Recognitionof such a Palestinian state is vital for Israel’s existence.It is the only way to guarantee the resolution of the conflict by negotiations, to prevent the eruption of another round of massive violence and end the risky isolation of Israel in the world. The successful implementation of the agreements requires two leaderships, Israeli and Palestinian, which recognize each other, choose peace and are fully committed to it. This is the only policy that leaves Israel’s fate and security in its own hands. Any other policy contradicts the promise of Zionism and the welfare of the Jewish people.”
The Question isn’t, “Do yousupport Israel?”The Question is: “What kindof Israel do you support?Which Israeli movements doyou support?”
Progressive Zionism is for Americans whowant to support and stand with:
Organizations that are PZ oriented• Shalom Achshav / Peace Now (and Americans for Peace Now)• J Street• Rabbis for Human Rights• New Israel Fund• B’Tselem• Tikkun Magazine• The Religious Action Committee of Reform Judaism
COMMON STRATEGIES OFDISTORTION: DENIAL OFIDENTITY
Anti-Palestinian version: “Palestinians aren’t a real people / nation.”“Like a mantra, Arabs, the UN, its organs and now the International Court ofJustice have claimed repeatedly that the Palestinians are a native people – somuch so that almost everyone takes it for granted. The problem is that astateless Palestinian people is a fabrication. The word ‘Palestine’ is not evenArabic.In a report by His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom of Great Britainand Northern Ireland to the Council of the League of Nations on theadministration of Palestine and Trans-Jordan for the year 1938, the Britishmade it clear: Palestine is not a State but is the name of a geographical area.”-- Eli Hertz, Myths and Facts, 2006
Anti-Zionist version: PLO Charter: Article 20: The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void. Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what 1998: Revision? constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is • Jews as invasive species in the land not an independent • Jews as colonizing evil aliens (Avatar) nationality. Nor do Jews • Jews as foreign infection in the land constitute a single nation • Denial of existence of Ancient Israel with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong.
COMMON STRATEGIES OFDISTORTION: CHERRYPICKING FACTS TO CREATEPROPAGANDA
Propaganda litmus tests for presentations on Israel/Palestine: Does it show real empathy for people on both sides? Does it acknowledge the reasonable fears and concerns of both peoples? Does it demonize one side with the goal of generating feelings of disgust for the other side? If it is primarily sympathetic to one side, does it acknowledge moral wrongdoing on both sides and express regret for wrongs committed by the side that is being supported? Does it minimize the grievances of one side, or even deny that these grievances are real? • “There was no nakba – that’s just a ploy to delegitimize Israel” • “You Jews always bring up the Mufti, like he had much influence at all…”
COMMON STRATEGIES OFDISTORTION: MINIMIZING THEIMPORTANCE OF THE THINGSEACH SIDE DOES THAT THEOTHER SIDE FEARS
Understanding how Israelis feel:VULNERABILITY AND RISK
Islamic Extremism & Threatsto World Jewry http://www.thememriblog.org/antisemitism/blog_personal/en
Islamic Extremism & Threatsto World Jewry January 12, 2012 Palestinian-Lebanese Historian: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion Are an Exact Reflection of Judaism and the Zionist Idea On December 27, 2011, the Palestinian- Lebanese historian Bayan Nuwayhed Al-Hout published an article in the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, which dealt, among other things, with The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and their connection to Judaism, the Zionist movement and the state of Israel.
Book Review: Arabs and the Holocaust (Part 3)By Asad AbuKhalil - Fri, 2011-12-16 03:15- ANGRYCORNERAchcar should not have cited the writings of BayanNuwayhed Al-Hout on any matter (p. 152) for she,unfortunately, has approvingly cited the notoriousProtocols of the Elders of Zion (her father was amajor promoter of the Protocols) in her book: “Filastin:Al-Qadiyyah.Ash- Sha`b. Al-Hadarah.” Achcar shouldnot have missed that.
Understanding how Palestinians feel:VULNERABILITY AND RISK
Dispossession: East Jerusalem Two sets of laws re the right to build on your own property or expand property ownership Ambiguous citizenship status for Palestinians The Sheikh Jarrah crisis & other similar problems