I am very puzzled by the desire to possess a land that one’s ancestors may or may not have controlled 2000 years ago. If the “Jews”, whatever that means, have a right to what constitutes the State of Israel I am compelled to bring up the following points and ask several very relevant questions. Why are these situations different?
The Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire occupied some combination of the following countries from roughly 27BC-1453BC:
France, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, the sub-entity that constitutes England within the United Kingdom, Macedonia, etc. Why do the Italians not have a right to conquer these lands and return them to the Roman Empire? After all they had possession of many of these lands over 1000 years after the “Jews” occupied Israel.
But, you respond, the Roman Empire conquered these lands and took them away from their original owners. My question to you is, why then do the “Jews” who purportedly conquered the land of Canaan by gross acts of genocide have a right to Israel?
What also of the Native Americans. Under the same logic they should be given all of the lands in the Western Hemisphere. Furthermore they should be given the most of Siberia because that is where they came from 12,000-15,000 years ago before populating the Americas. It is highly probable that all of the inhabitants of Europe, Asia, and the Americas are descended from Homo sapiens who at some point in the last 150,000 years lived in our past through what now constitutes Israel. Perhaps we should break Israel up into 194 pieces and give part to each of the countries on the planet. Then the decision would be, should they be divided, equally, according to current population (differing and mixed ethnicities need to be considered), current countries landmass, etc. etc. etc.
Why not this solution? What makes the 700-1300 year of occupation by the “Israelites” different than any other migration, conquest, change of boundaries, etc? What of the lands controlled in the past by the Egyptians, Persians, Babylonians, and Mongols? That would mean we need to return lands to Egypt, Iraq, Iran, and Mongolia. How far back do we need to go? How about the Great Rift Valley and the very beginnings of the Homo sapien experience?
The decisions surrounding the State of Israel are based largely on a book, the Tanakh, that is of questionable origin. Large portions of the Tanakh are patently false and other portions grossly overstated. Furthermore the portion of the Tanakh that makes up the Torah is virtually devoid of anything that even resembles the truth. I fail to see anything rational surrounding the creation of the State of Israel.
My experience has been that the adherents of Judaism and Islam both suffer from the same problem. Both groups are trying to view the world through “lenses” based on theological fictions created centuries ago. Until the adherents of Judaism and Islam realize that large parts of their “histories” and sacred texts are fabrications the Middle East will continue to be problematic.
I have seen very few rational discussions concerning the situation in Israel and Palestine. Most interactions seem to come from the amygdala rather than the prefrontal cortex because the topic is so emotionally charged. As with most such situations the “thinking” if you can call it that is being done by the emotional centers in the reptilian portion of our brains rather than in the more aptly suited “higher” brain regions.
An additional problem is that the U.S. populous in general and much of the media has a strong pro-Israel bias. Calling on the U.S. to mediate the situation given population trends, historical opinions, and U.S. dealings in the Middle East creates a serious conflict of interests. Most of the U.S. populous believes in the same ethnocentric myths presented in the Tanakh (Old Testament) as do many of the more hard line Israelis. Asking people who believe in a 6000-year-old earth, the creation of the earth in six days, the universal deluge, etc to make balanced and rational decisions is seemingly flawed from the start.
In short there are many factors contributing to the violence in the Middle East. Unfortunately most solutions appear to be focusing on irrelevances and purposely yet unwittingly skirting the real causes of the problems. In my opinion the biggest causes are our 4,000,000+ million-year-old tribal mentality, the human propensity to seek religion, and the cognitive dissonance that makes it very difficult for us to realize that we suffer from the first two problems.
Bravo. (insert two hands clapping) Well done.
I think your marvelous mini-dissertation deserves a toast and a quote from the deceased, yet still ‘one righteous dude,’ Thomas Paine:
“Governments now act as if they were afraid to awaken a single reflection in man. They are softly leading him to the sepulchre [sic] of precedents to deaden his faculties and call his attention from the scene of revolutions. They feel that he is arriving at knowledge faster than they wish, and their policy of precedents is the barometer of their FEARS. This political popery, like the ecclesiastical popery of old (if only), has had its day, and is hastening to its exit. The ragged relic and the antiquated precedent, the monk and the monarch (or unelected ruler) will moulder together”—from “The Rights of Man”, part 2.
the “thinking” if you can call it that is being done by the emotional centers in the reptilian portion of our brains rather than in the more aptly suited “higher” brain regions.
We are driven by the amygdala far more powerfully than by the neocortex. The imperatives lodged in our reptilian brain do not form part of our conscious awareness. They are unconscious to us.
To tackle issues originating in the unconscious mind, we have to get down there and engage with unconscious motifs. None of them make sense - that’s the main characteristic of the unconscious. Dreams, fairy tales, myths and beliefs. Why does the USA support Israel? the Jewish vote? I don’t think so. My guess is that it’s more to do with the shared mythos, as you suggest.
So if you really want a solution, use the mythos to create it. The Arab world hates the USA mainly because of its support of Israel. Create a Palestinian state against the wishes of the Israelis: hey presto, the Arabs are on your side.
Just to clarify, US support of Israel is about a common Abrahamic religion?
Just to clarify, US support of Israel is about a common Abrahamic religion?
To a degree, but that would include Islam as well. It’s more about things encoded in the American mythos like: pioneers fighting their ground, the Alamo, support for the little guy against a perceived common enemy, the rightness of the American way (of which Israel represents a beachhead in the middle East). All good stuff of course, but it’s driving a political agenda that’s causing a lot of other problems!
Interesting piece, thanks for the link. The main thrust is the attempt to clarify the question: did non-Jewish Palestinians leave or were they expelled?
After reading the article, I can’t tell for sure. But doesn’t it seem unlikely that non-Jewish Palestinians left their villages voluntarily? No interviews with them are cited. (The assumption that all non-Jewish Palestinians are/were Muslims is not addressed. My information is that as many as 50% of ethnic Palestinians are Christians.)
Leaving all that aside, we still have the problem that Palestinians have no state. The establishment of the state of Israel is directly or indirectly responsible. For Arabs this is a smouldering issue which sparks off hatred of Israel and of the west, particularly the USA, its main sponsor.
It would be so easy to douse this fire by the creation of a Palestinian state with western brokerage. Muslims would no longer have the Palestinian axe to grind, and, moreover, would be encouraged to trust the good intentions of western governments.
The new Palestinian state would be Muslim, of course. (Most of the original Christians have long ago jumped ship.) But they would be Muslims with a debt of gratitude to western influence. That means they would be susceptible to western ideas, such as a) environmentalism b) secularism c) psychology d) democracy.