So, I thought I’d take a bit of time to clear up some facts regarding Palestine.
There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the conflict there, and also a lot of disinformation. This really hit home when I heard a recording of a phone in radio show featuring George Galloway MP, in which a Jewish caller thought he knew what was going on, when the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Consequently Mr Galloway “schooled” (for want of a better phrase) the caller in his own heritage. Hear that show here
To enable us to see the current situation with clarity, we must first go back to the start. Throughout history, there are examples of various religions or creeds being discriminated against. This is not something that is suffered by just one group of people, this has repeated over history, whether it be people in poverty, people of African descent, people of Middle Eastern or Asian descent, Muslims, Christians and members of its many different denominations, et cetera. But for now we will focus of the Jews. It IS true that they have also been persecuted throughout time, but worthy of note here, is that in many of these situations, the Jews would either seek refuge in an Islamic region, for the Muslims were often attacked by the same aggressor, or the Jews would JOIN the Muslims in their exodus to a safer place.
Now it is my opinion that originally the Jewish plight was treated differently to most others for one simple reason, and that is that the Jews were reasonably wealthy, and therefore could afford influence and travelled socially in higher circles. This leads us to some of the ideas that were raised BEFORE World War II, NOT after it as many would have it. In fact some of these proposed solutions to the situation were put forward before 1900, the earliest and most prominent being the pamphlet penned by Theodore Herzl, Der Judenstaat.
Amongst this “higher social circle,” the question was raised – “What is to be done about the persistent persecution of the Jews?” And so it was discussed. The common consensus was that Jews needed a permanent home, one where they could NOT be persecuted for their religion, and would no longer be exiled or annexed from other nations, in this “Jewish State,” they would all be able to live peacefully and by their religion’s own standards without fear of judgement. I have to agree – this was the ideal solution, for if a country no longer wished to accommodate Jews, for ANY reason whatsoever, the Jews would ALWAYS have a home in their own nation.
Herzl, the afore-mentioned author of Der Judenstaat, founded the World Zionist Organization in 1897. One of their first proposals was to establish a home for the Jews in Palestine, secured under public law.
I MUST emphasise this fact – TWENTY YEARS BEFORE THE BALFOUR DECLARATION, this idea was put forward.
The next significant event to pay attention to has to be World War I, “The Great War.” At this time, there was a HUGE concentration of Jews living in the immediate theater of war. The Russians had occupied Austrian Galicia, Germany and Austria had invaded Poland, Lithuania, and Belorussia. Under the rule of the Russians, over half a million Jews were forced into exile by the czars, when it was suspected that Jews were co-operating with the enemy. This certainly bolstered the public opinion that the Jews had it tough, and the global Jewish community set up welfare organisations all over for their fellow brothers and sisters. This is not the entire story however, as there were also a vast number of Jews that joined the war effort, largely on the side of Russia, but also Germany.
The World Zionist Organization made it well-known that they remained neutral. Following the war, a minority of the Zionists approached England for aid in achieving their goal – and this is where we see the Balfour Declaration signed. However, I must point out, the declaration was signed by atheist jews. That is to say, they were of Jewish heritage, but they were NOT practicing Jews. I point this out, because of the massive amount of Jews that have convinced themselves that Israel was given to them by God, etc. This was not the case. Bible texts and promises aside, the fact remains, that Israel was founded on Palestinian land, given to ATHEIST Jews, by a country who had no right to occupy it themselves, let alone give the land to a third-party.
Humour me, what would the world think if, in response to the massively significant plight of the Afro-Americans who were enslaved for years, America decided that they would give all the Afro-Americans a land of their own, where they can live as free men, and govern themselves without fear of oppression. Lets say for argument’s sake, that America decided to give them half of Belgium. They have no claim to Belgium, they have no right to occupy Belgium themselves, and far less right to gift it to a third-party! So how on earth are we to accept that the founding of the state of Israel was just?
The tragedy of it all is that as I mentioned before, there were ALREADY Jews in Palestine. They lived alongside the nations residents, peacefully, for many many generations. Then Israel is founded, and Palestine is rightfully annoyed at their mass displacement – one could argue that the Jews did to the Palestinians the very same deed that they had suffered time and time again at the hands of other countries/leaders/regimens. Doesn’t the Bible say “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” ? (Luke, 6:31).
Now a quick Google search of historical maps in that region can tell you that the land they were “given” (I must put that in quotes, because it could not have been given, just like I cannot give you the statue of liberty,) was not enough. Over the last century, Israel has taken more and more territory from the Palestinians, dividing families, imprisoning innocent people, and causing mass conflict in the process. That is not to say that they have not been met with resistance. Palestine has fought back, and further fought to try and protect their land from further being stolen from them. The scales have tipped both ways through time, but ultimately Israel has come out on top, especially with the backing they receive from certain nations across the world.
So let’s make it all as simple as possible:
- Jews, like many other groups, were persecuted across time
- With financial backing, they put forward the idea that they should be given someone else’s land
- England saw fit to grant said wish, even thought they had no right to the land they gave
- Israel is founded
- Not content with their gift, they sought to expand their borders, at the cost of many lives, both their own and their victim’s
- The media think it’s right to paint the Palestinians as the provokers, and Israel as the defenders, despite the fact they are “defending land that wasn’t theirs to start with, and the gigantic chasm that separates their military capabilities.
So there you have it. The plight of Palestine in a (rather large) nutshell. The next time you see a headline or a news report on the subject, remember the history I have given you here. A lot of people seem to be under the impression that the Jews were given Palestine as a kind of “war crimes compensation” in order to make up for the horrors the Jews suffered during the Holocaust. Well, that is simply not true.
To be clear, I am not in any way anti-semitic, I do not discriminate against any race, creed or colour, nor do I actively favour any of them. Before we are black/white, or Christian/Muslim/Buddhist, or French/Japanese/Scottish, we are all HUMAN. And THAT is what I support.
For a MUCH more detailed view on the subject, check out a good friend of mine’s piece here
Thanks for reading,
3 thoughts on “A Beginner’s Guide to the Plight of Palestine”
Well done! –Paul