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People continually ask me how anyone can negotiate with a group like Hamas that vows to wipe Israel off the face of the map. What they don’t do is realize that it has never been a goal of Zionism to share the land of Palestine with an Arab state. Just take a look at the map that the World Zionist Organisation offered at the Paris Peace conference in 1919 for a Zionist state. Just take a look at the dozens of documented statements by influential Zionist leaders way back before 1900 that said that their intention was to dispossess the Arabs of Palestine in order to make room for the newly arrived Jewish population. Just read Ben Gurions statements about the Zionist attitude to the 1947 Partition Plan. Just look at the response made by the Israelis when in 1993 Yasser Arafat officially recognised the right of the state of Israel to exist with safe and secure borders. Just read the documentation made by Israeli historians showing the ethnic cleansing of 800,000 Palestinians in 1948. Just look how Israeli settlements have increased in the West Bank over the last 43 years. All of this and much more would lead any reasonable person to conclude that so far as a Palestinian state is concerned, Israel has never wanted it to exist. Israel has never needed to make a statement that they wish to wipe a Palestinian state off the map because they have simply done everything they could over the last 80 years to make sure that it never could come into existence in the first place. The Zionist desire to make sure that any Palestinian state will be still born is at the basis of the claims by groups like Hamas. Just look at the case of my homeland, Australia. Do you think the British ever came here to share the great South Land with an indigenous state?

The following article was published on the Mondoweiss website on July 29th 2011

What does secular mean? ‘J Street’ official says American Jews ‘ideally’ want the whole ‘land of Israel’
Jul 29, 2011 09:21 am | Philip Weiss

Last Sunday night I went to hear a J Street director speak in Cape Cod, in a community with many Jews, and I kept looking around the room for ones I knew from my childhood summers. Only one—and afterward I had a fight with my mother about the issue. Which is really all I’ve asked for, a battle inside the Jewish family over Zionism. I will get to the fight with my mama before long but meantime it is important to relate what Steven Krubiner, the young well-spoken J Street man had to say. For it speaks to the backwardness of the American Jewish community on the Israel/Palestine issue and underlines a theme here, we Jews fell in love with Zionism some time ago and it will take a long time to break up the romance, and it is very hard to make any progress if the conversation is only inside the Jewish community. No, we Jews must open our ears to the likes of Ali Abunimah and John Mearsheimer and Andrew Sullivan.

Krubiner’s message was the urgency of the U.S. pushing Israel to come to the two-state solution. The only way Obama will do so is if he feels political able, and the only way he will feel that political comfort is if the Jewish community doesn’t abandon Congress and the president over the issue. So Krubiner’s talk was directed at Jews: The hour is getting late, this is an existential crisis for the Jewish state, and you must allow Obama to pressure Israel or Israel is lost.

To make headway with his presumed Jewish audience, Krubiner began in a place of love and fear. He told us that he had been taught to love Israel as part of his Jewish identity – like all other Jews, he said and reader, I did not projectile vomit—and had not even realized there was a conflict over there till his 7th grade social studies teacher was killed in a bombing in Israel, evidently in the early 90s, and this had jarred him. Then Krubiner had helped lead a tour of Jewish communities in Europe and realized there were no thriving Jewish communities, they had been wiped out, an experience that convinced him that Israel was necessary for Jews. After college he had defied his parents to move to Israel. Again, not my storyline, nor the storyline of most American Jews. Zionism calls on a conservative impulse in the Jewish soul.

Krubiner is a liberal, surely thinks of himself as a liberal, but his messaging was very conservative. As I noted earlier here, he never talked about the occupation and didn’t mention settlements until the Q-and-A. Settlements isn’t J Street’s agenda. There was a lot of unpleasant demographic talk. If we make a 6 percent land swap, the state of Israel will go to 86 percent Jewish (yes, and what about the Palestinians dealt out of Israel into a Palestinian state, on ethnic transfer terms, will they dig that?). Or: If you put a GPS device on everyone in Jerusalem and made the Palestinian dots green and the Israeli ones blue, you would find that it’s very “clean,” Jews move around in West Jerusalem and Palestinians stay in East Jerusalem.

Mr. Clean! Not for me!

Krubiner said, “Ideally, especially for American and Israeli Jews they would want… all of the land… of Israel,” from the river to the sea. But they can’t have that without either sacrificing democracy or giving up the idea of a Jewish state. And therefore because J Street is “unconditionally” for a Jewish state in Israel, we must give up the land so that the inevitable Palestinian majority will have a place to go.

The revelation in these statements is that Krubiner is doing outreach to a very conservative community. You can talk all you like about secular Jews, but American Jews believe in a way that can only be called religious (because most have never seen the West Bank) in their right to the “Land of Israel.” And so when asked about settlements, Krubiner was somewhat apologetic about J Street’s backbone moment of February, when it criticized Obama for voting against the U.N. Security Council’s resolution opposing Israeli settlements. Yes, our position didn’t play very well in the Jewish community, Krubiner said. I.e., this community is behind the times, and it is driving policy.

Now as I have pointed out earlier, Krubiner is a smart guy who gets the story. He knows that the occupation is destroying Palestinian souls, as he stated in the one-on-one by the lectern after the speech. And when a questioner asked about democracy without regard to race in Israel and Palestine, Krubiner acknowledged that democracy was a virtuous thing, but he then said that it would take a “sad rollercoaster of violence” to get us to that place. A legitimate point of view of course. Though not in itself a justification for slavery. Remember: an American rollercoaster of violence, the Civil War, is justified historically on that basis, it was worth it to end slavery.

But generally speaking, Krubiner was addressing Jewish fears. He said that the longer we wait on the two state solution, the more frustrated Palestinians will come round to the view that we can just wait the Jews out, we will be the majority in this land in a few years, and “we’ll have the whole state to ourselves.”

I don’t know about that. I am not opposed to partition, but I don’t think that Palestinians want the whole place to themselves. The one-staters in our community want a democracy for the people who were born in that place–and for the people whose grandparents were born there. By playing the fear card, I think Krubiner is trying to get Jews off their butts and energize them politically.

Why doesn’t J Street take its teachings to a non-Jewish audience and try and energize them? The reasons are several. A, the Jewish community is where the Democratic money is and J Street is playing a Washington insider game, B, If you are a Zionist, well, you don’t fully trust the goyim with your fate– so how can you work with them, it goes against the Zionist understanding… C, And how could you trust American non-Jewish liberals anyway? The non-Jewish audience as soon as they become informed will question the right of Jews to have a Jewish state in a land that is not historically ours and at a time when Jews are way safer in the west and there are Jim Crow conditions across the West Bank and a ghetto in Gaza.

On the other hand, the problem for J Street in working inside the Jewish community is, their views are to the right of Atilla the hun. You can’t even talk about settlements. Krubiner made a point of bashing the neocons, saying they had driven policy in this area, so evidently neoconservative has high negatives even for Jews. But it’s not like liberal Jews are all that much better.

I want to conclude on the secular point. We grew up thinking that we were secular Jews. That’s the big category of Jewish cultural life: east coast secular Jews. But as Krubiner proves, there is a large percentage of secular Jews who believe in a religious idea: our right to the West Bank. Ed Koch believes it, it’s why he’s savaging Obama. David Mamet believes it, he doesn’t want to give an inch. We have the right to the Land of Israel. An idea we read in a book with leather covers and God inside, for which we have no evidence. A year or so back I heard that peace processor Aaron David Miller was speaking at a synagogue in Cleveland and said we have to give up the land and the rabbi said, But God gave us that land. Joke was on Miller.

I am saying that intolerant religious attitudes on Israel/Palestine are deeply embedded in the Jewish community. So what progressive would want to move policy forward by working only in that community? It would be like trying to wage the battle for abortion back in the 80s by organizing in the Catholic church. Or waging the battle for women’s lib by organizing in the Muslim community, which tends to be very traditional. All these communities can be moved on these religious questions. But it requires an outside force.

 

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The ideological basis of Israel’s Ethnic Cleansing of Arabs in Palestine.

The root cause of the Israel-Palestine conflict lays squarely at the feet of Zionist colonialism and those European and western powers who have empowered and enabled the Zionist State of Israel to oppress the Arabs of Palestine. This oppression has provoked a people (previously enjoying good relations with Jews throughout the Arab world) to violence against the tyranny of the Zionist State of Israel. Unfortunately some Arabs have (in their despair and sense of powerlessness) resorted to acts of terrorism, just as the Zionists had done during the British Mandate period when they felt overwhelmed by those more powerful than them. However, the vast majority of Palestinian Arabs have resisted the Zionist State in a dignified and peaceful manner.

Though there were and still are many strains of Zionist thought, the one that has dominated in Israel has always been one that sought to dispossess the indigenous Arab population of Palestine in order for a Zionist (majority Jewish) state to exist in a land were Jews were not in the majority and had not been in the majority for some 1800 years. Zionism’s reaction to gentiles was based on their unshakable belief that integration or assimilation of Jews into a hostile gentile world was impossible. Just as the anti-Semites had believed, Zionists also espoused that Jews and non-Jews can not live together. Before 1945, the crime of ethnic cleansing was nowhere acknowledged as a crime and hence statements made by Zionist thinkers concerning Arabs were much more candid than any made by Zionists today. A list of just a few of the many statements made by Zionist thinkers (and European politicians complicit with them) regarding the ethnic cleansing of Palestine are given below.

1. Pamphlet by founder of socialist Zionism, Nahman Syrkin, says Palestine “must be evacuated for the Jews”. (1897)

2. The diaries of Theodore Herzl reveal Zionism’s intent towards the indigenous population of Palestine…

“We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the borders by procuring employment for them in the transit countries while denying any employment in our country. “(The Complete Diaries of Theodore Herzl, New York 1961, p. 88)

3. Israel Zangwill states Jews must drive out the Arabs or “grapple with the problem of a large alien population…” (1905)

4. One of Zionism’s most liberal thinkers, Leo Motzkin, said

“Our thought is that the colonization of Palestine has to go in two directions. Jewish settlement in Eretz Israel and the resettlement of the Arabs of Eretz Israel in areas outside the country. The transfer of so many Arabs may seem at first unacceptable economically, but is nonetheless practical. It does not require too much money to resettle a Palestinian village on another land” (1917)

5. Zionist Commission members at the Paris Peace Conference say “as many Arabs as possible should be persuaded to emigrate”. (1919)

6. Winston Churchill wrote “There are Jews, whom we are pledged to introduce into Palestine, and who take it for granted that the local population will be cleared out to suit their convenience.” (1919)

7. Stephen Sizer reports a disturbing letter, written in 1919 by Lord Balfour to Lord Curzon, showing the racism inherent in British attitudes towards Arabs:

“For in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country…the Four Great Powers are committed to Zionism. And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires or prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land… “(cited in Sizer, 2004, p. 60, 61).

8. Zionist leader Jabotinsky writes “…the Arabs must make room for the Jews in Eretz Israel. If it was possible to transfer the Baltic peoples, it is also possible to move the Palestinian Arabs.” (1939)

9. David Ben Gurion’s diaries show clearly Zionism’s desire for a Greater Israel with as little Arab presence as possible and how that might be obtained.

“The Jewish State now being offered to us is not the Zionist objective. Within this area it is not possible to solve the Jewish question. But it can serve as a decisive stage along the path to greater Zionist implementation. It will consolidate in Palestine, within the shortest possible time, the real Jewish force which will lead us to our historic goal.”

10. In private correspondence, Ben Gurion pushed the point even further.

“I have no doubt that our army will be among the world’s outstanding – and so I am certain that we won’t be constrained from settling in the rest of the country, whether out of accord and mutual understanding with the Arab neighbours or otherwise.”

11. Aharon Zisling, one time Minister of Agriculture in David Ben Gurion’s provisional government and member of the Haganah and participant in the founding of the Palmach, said:

“I do not deny our moral right to propose population transfer. There is no moral flaw to a proposal aimed at concentrating the development of national life;” (Finkelstein, 2003, p. 16).

12. On 17 November 1948 he told the Provisional State Council (the forerunner to the Knesset);

“I couldn’t sleep all night. I felt that things that were going on were hurting my soul, the soul of my family and all of us here (…) Now Jews too have behaved like Nazis and my entire being has been shaken.”
(The expulsion of the Palestinians re-examined Le Monde Diplomatique, December 1997)

13. Moshe Dayan, Israeli General

“What cause have we to complain about their fierce hatred to us? For eight years now, they sit in their refugee camps in Gaza, and before their eyes we turn into our homestead the land and villages in which they and their forefathers have lived.” (Moshe Dayan, Israeli General, 1956)

Many more statements could be added. In 1919, at the Paris Peace Conference, the World Zionist Organisation put forth a map showing the land that they wanted for a Zionist state. Anyone looking at this map can see that no room has been made for an Arab state. The Zionists had no intention of sharing the land of Palestine with the Arabs and their continued illegal occupation and colonization of the West Bank and the siege of Gaza are indisputable legacies of this Zionist attitude towards non-Jews in the land of Palestine.

References

Sizer, S. (2004). Christian Zionism: Road-Map to Armageddon?
Intervarsity Press: Downers Grove, Illinois.
Finkelstein. N. (2003). Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict. (second edition) Verso

Craig Nielsen
ACTION FOR PALESTINE

Why I believe the Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine in 1948 was a reality.

During the course of conversations with numerous supporters of the Zionist State of Israel, I have come across the assertion that no ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people ever occurred in 1947-48. Those Palestinians that left their homes in Palestine to become refugees did so voluntarily. This voluntary evacuation occurred as the Palestinian people left their homelands in order to make way for the surrounding Arab armies entering Palestine to destroy the newly formed State of Israel, probably in the hope that they could return once the Zionists had been overcome. I believe this “voluntary flight” narrative to be a colonialist myth, used to justify the continued dispossession of Palestinian Arabs from historic Palestine.

Whenever I hear these “well informed” supporters of Zionism I can’t help but feel that I am looking into a mirror, seeing my own previously held to ideas about the justification of British colonialism in Australia being reflected, in many ways, in the beliefs of these enthusiastic apologists for Israel.

Growing up in Australia in the 60’s and 70’s I learnt nothing in school of the massacres of Aboriginal people by white settlers. I heard nothing of the decimation of entire communities of Aboriginal people by diseases that were brought to this country by Europeans. Land theft and dispossession of Australia’s indigenous peoples was off the menu when it came to the education of non-Aboriginal Australians about the creation and settlement of Australia. The history that I had been educated in had been written by the winners of the battle to transform the ancient continent of Australia into a British colony. Not surprisingly, the winners failed to mention the crimes that were committed against the indigenous peoples and did everything to magnify the heroic deeds of the early settlers. It was only their hardships and sacrifices that were worth telling in the story of the creation of the nation of Australia. I grew up on a diet of the jolly and brave deeds of Captain Cook, Burke and Wills, Matt Flinders, John McDowell Stuart and Charles Sturt when it came to Australian history.

It was not until a safe distance in time had elapsed before a few brave historians could finally tell of the crimes committed against the Aborigines. The stories uncovered by those historians and researchers could have been accessed by ordinary Australians many years before. The eye witness testimony of Aboriginals themselves had given ample testimony to the events of the past but their voice was conveniently marginalised and their opinions not esteemed.

Even when injustices were finally revealed, white Australians would counter with various arguments to justify the concept of European entitlement to the land of Australia. What had Aboriginals done with the land? What had they achieved compared to the development of the country by European settlers? And of course, we came with the Bible and God’s salvation. But European entitlement to the land had always been built on far more racist and pitiless concepts of entitlement than those just mentioned. British colonialism started, in the main part, with the forced transportation of large numbers of those who were unwanted in their land of birth. They had been disowned by their native countries. They were very much a people with no land. These wretched souls were being delivered to a land that would be declared Terra Nullius; a land uninhabited that could be taken by mere occupation. Those first members of this new country were a people with no land for a land with no people. How inconvenient it would have been for the British government to acknowledge the sovereignty of the indigenous Australians before bringing the people they felt unfit for their own society to the shores of the Aboriginal homeland? Perhaps the Aboriginal people may have had a very uncompassionate immigration policy towards these boat people if they knew how many of them were in fact convicted criminals.
Just as I had naively accepted the colonialist’s version of the events surrounding the founding of my country, so these young Zionists had gulped down the version of the story of the creation of Israel as told by the victorious Zionists. That is simply the nature of the legacy that colonialism gives to later generations. They get to tell their version of events and all competing versions are silenced.

In the case of the founding of modern Israel, the need to silence the version of events as told by the Palestinians is many times more important than in the case of the origins of my country. This is because Zionist colonialism has occurred in an age where colonialism is frowned upon by international law and global communications make it extremely difficult for crimes against humanity to go undetected.

When looking at the issue of ethnic cleansing, we need to consider a number of lines of evidence in order to make up our minds as to whose version of the truth is more accurate.

In order to see if the Zionists did in fact commit ethnic cleansing, we need to ask whether or not they had motive, means and opportunity to carry out this crime against humanity. We need to see if there is corroborating documentary evidence of such actions as well as investigate eye witness testimony of those involved in the events.

In so far as motive is concerned, we first note that right from the beginning, as soon as the Zionists decided that Palestine was the place for the intended Jewish State, they had no intention of sharing the land with the indigenous Arabs. In 1897, a pamphlet by Nahman Sykrin, founder of socialist Zionism, said that Palestine “must be evacuated for the Jews.” While some moderate Zionists like Albert Einstein, a passionate believer in equal rights for Arab and Jew, wanted a Jewish homeland, the version of Zionism that dominated was one that sought to create a specifically Zionist Jewish state. In 1905, Israel Zangwill said that Jews must drive out the Arabs or “grapple with the problem of a large alien population…” In 1919, the World Zionist Organisation presented a map to the Paris Peace Conference showing the land they desired for the Zionist homeland. No room was made for any Palestinian state to co-exist with this Zionist state. Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, was to say in 1938 to the Jewish Agency Executive, “I am for compulsory transfer; I do not see anything immoral in it.”

By 1900, Palestine was populated by nearly 500,000 Arabs and some 20,000 to 30,000 Jews. At this time, before the real onslaught of Zionist colonialism, Jews and Arabs lived for the most part in peace and mutual respect in Palestine, as they had done for some 13 centuries in the Arab world. Albert Einstein initially supported the Zionist movement but after seeing the aggressive nature of the Zionists, proceeded to distance himself from the colonialists. Einstein stated, after an outburst of violence against Zionists in Palestine:

“There could be no greater calamity than a permanent discord between us and the Arab people. Despite the great wrong that has been done to us, we must strive for a just and lasting compromise with the Arab people. Let us recall that in former times no people lived in greater friendship with us than the ancestors of these Arabs.”

The Zionists had no intention of asking the permission of the majority population of Arabs to build a specifically Jewish state in the land of Palestine and the European powers had no intention either.
In 1919 Lord Balfour, of the Balfour Declaration, wrote to Lord Curzon, showing British attitudes towards Arabs:

“For in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country…the Four Great Powers are committed to Zionism. And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires or prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land… “

In pre-Zionist Palestine, not only did Jews and Arabs live together without the violence of today, but the Jews indigenous to Palestine resisted the Zionists even before the Arabs did. This resistance was true of the vast majority of Jews, particularly the Orthodox religious Jews. The creation of the Israeli State was condemned by many of the religious Jewish authorities.

When the United Nations mandated the Partition Plan of 1947, there were a large number of Arabs within the borders of the proposed Israeli State challenging the Jewish majority. It was no secret to anyone that the Palestinians did not want the land of Palestine partitioned. Every Zionist new this. The Arabs of Palestine had declared their fear of dispossession due to the creation of a Zionist State to the King-Crane Commission of 1919. They no more wanted an exclusively (European) Zionist State created in their homeland any more than the states of Europe would have wanted an Arab state created in theirs.

The Zionist have always craved three concepts for their Jewish homeland; Zionism, democracy and greater Israel. Today’s Zionists loudly proclaim that the State of Israel will never annex the West Bank and Gaza to create a one state (non-Zionist) solution. This is because in doing so they will bring some 4 million more Arabs into the State of Israel proper. Add returning refugees to this situation would ensure a majority population of Arabs in Israel once more. Zionists believe that an Arab government in Israel will bring the end of Zionism and the end of democracy in Israel. They simply won’t allow it. If Israel had given Arabs equal rights with Jews in the State of Israel in 1947 when the partition plan was first drafted, and held democratic elections, they would have run a grave risk of Arabs gaining power and hence the Zionist State would have been annulled. Something had to happen. As David Ben Gurion wrote in his memoirs, “The Arabs will have to go”.

Two years after the State of Israel was declared and some 800,000 Palestinians had been dispossessed, the new Zionist homeland could boast a Jewish majority with immigration laws enacted that ensured that only Jews could come into the new state and Arabs would be barred from returning or migrating to Israel from wherever they lived in the world. Israel could now guarantee that any Arab population in Israel would be a minority and no threat at the ballot box. Zionism would be safe and the State of Israel could claim that it was fully democratic; allowing Arabs to vote and even be members of the Knesset. The goal of greater Israel would have to wait. Zionist historians like Benny Morris claim that the Palestinian refugee problem that grew out of 1948 was born of war not design despite a multitude of evidence to the contrary.

Israel is a Zionist State. Zionism as an ideology is the only option for any person wishing to enter politics or any political party in Israel. They do not vote on the issue of Zionism. It is an absolute.

The wishes of Palestinian Arabs (the majority population in Palestine) regarding the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 were not given consideration and they were completely unrepresented in the decision making process. Not one member of the United Nation Special Council on Palestine was an Arab. Virtually every person that signed the declaration of the creation of the state of Israel was not even born in Palestine.

So far as motive is concerned, we can clearly see that the Zionists had every reason to commit ethnic cleansing in Palestine. The actions of Zionists like Menachim Begin and others show they had no problem executing the violence required to carry out such a task. Without the removal of Arabs from the State of Israel in 1947-48, the Zionist State would have collapsed before it had a chance to become strong.

In 1947, Golda Meir travelled to the U.S. to drum up funding for armaments for the conflict they knew would occur when the British Mandate period ended. She came back to Palestine with $50 million (U.S). Jewish military strategist, Martin Van Creveld, claims that the Zionists were able to finally muster some 90,000 troops by 1948. These troops out numbered the Arab forces that came up against them and were better trained and equipped. The Zionists definitely had the military capability to carry out ethnic cleansing.

In the 20’s and 30’s violent clashes between Arabs, Jews and the British had been frequent. As time went on and the end of the British Mandate period came in to sight, tensions rose even higher. Neither the British nor the U.N. stayed in Palestine to enforce the Partition Plan of 1947. Rather it was left to the Arabs and Zionists to thrash out the issue. Violence by Zionist militias and retaliation by Arabs started well before the mandate period ended. The circumstances certainly created the opportunity for the violence of ethnic cleansing.

Documentary evidence from Military archives has been evaluated by Israeli historians like Ilan Pappe. Detail of this evidence is discussed in detail in his book, “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.” Pappe is in no doubt that the Zionists were guilty of ethnic cleansing in 1948 and that it was no ad hoc affair but a carefully devised plan to rid the State of Israel of this dangerous Arab population.

Finally, the eyewitness testimony of hundreds, even thousands of Palestinian Arabs has clearly corroborated the evidence compiled by Pappe and others. I personally have spoken to a number Palestinians who have related their personal stories of being forcibly removed from their homes at gun point by Israeli military forces. Most Zionists simply disregard the eyewitness accounts of the Arab victims of this crime against humanity, only adding to the frustration and sense of injustice felt by Palestinians. The Zionist rejection of this testimony is reminiscent of the attitude of whites in the slave states of the U.S. who considered all black men to be basically liars.

Denial of the ethnic cleansing of 1948 by Zionists is totally understandable in human terms. How can we expect young Israelis and supporters of Zionism to admit that their country was born of injustice, land theft and murder? Anyone who has ever been in denial knows how painful it is to come out of denial. Coming out of denial is like coming out of a religious cult. A young Zionist once told me that Israel is a lovely country. I am sure it is. Israel can boast wonderful achievements for its people and is a world leader in many areas of modern life. Adelaide, where I live, despite what many Adelaidians think, is a lovely place as well and most people who live in Adelaide are wonderful people. This in no way denies the reality of the massacres and dispossession that occurred in our history.

But denial costs those who have been the victims of the shameful acts that are being held in denial. Israel can never grow as a country until it confronts its ugly past and seeks reconciliation with the Arabs that share the land of Israel-Palestine.

I believe the evidence of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Zionists forces in 1948 is every bit as compelling as the evidence of the Holocaust. The notion that Palestinians fortuitously vacated the newly formed state of Israel, thereby saving the Israelis from having to commit the crime of ethnic cleansing in order to create a Jewish majority in the Zionist State, is clearly ridiculous. Seeing how doggedly the Palestinians cling to their homeland in the face of misery and oppression hardly lends credibility to the idea that they would have ever left their homes initially unless extreme force or at the very least the real threat of extreme force was employed.

The idea that Arab leaders asked the Palestinians to leave their homelands in 1948 to make way for the ensuing attack on the Zionist State lacks any documentary evidence and runs counter to common sense. Arab armies would have much preferred that local Palestinians in Palestine would have stayed put to provide much needed intelligence, supplies and general assistance to the invading Arab forces. This is common practice in war. During the allied landing at Normandy in World War II the allied forces did not ask the French civilians to vacate their homes to make way for the ensuing battle with the Nazis. The assistance that French civilians gave the invading allied troops was greatly needed and appreciated.

Do Zionists really wish us to accept the idea that Palestinians voluntarily gave up their homes to the Zionists and then once they realised they were not going to be allowed back, have invented the idea that they were forced out in the first place? If this scenario is true then how lucky could the Zionists have been to have had such a foolish adversary as they had in the Palestinians? And how unlucky for Israel that such actions would also look indistinguishable from that of ethnic cleansing to all those anti-Semites who are just waiting for an excuse to twist the evidence for the purpose of the de-legitimisation and ultimate destruction of Israel?

I find the whole voluntary flight scenario to be quite unbelievable and contrary to the massive evidence compiled by those brave enough to challenge the myths of Zionism and put up with the inevitable onslaught of accusations of being an ant-Semite or a self hating Jew.

Craig Nielsen

ACTION FOR PALESTINE

Who Owns the Land of Palestine?

A basic tenant of Christian Zionism is that the Jewish people sovereignly own the land of Palestine. For the Christian Zionists, to even designate the region as, “The Land of Palestine” is to betray ones ignorance of the true status of the ownership of the holy land. The proof texts from scripture used by the proponents of this Zionist position are said to be plain, unequivocal and compelling in the extreme. Followers of Jesus who hold to doctrines at odds with the Christian Zionist position are looked upon by them with a suspicion that borders on outright denunciation of the faith. The most widely known proof text comes from the twelfth chapter of the Book of Genesis.

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse and all families of the earth will be blessed through you.” (Gen 12:1-3).

The, “land that I will show you”, is universally accepted as relating to the land of Palestine as it was known before the creation of the modern Zionist State of Israel in May of 1948. In fact the land designated in scripture that this covenant promise refers to encompasses a region significantly larger than the Zionist state of Israel and the Occupied Territories. The covenant promise is further revealed a few chapters on in the same book of the Bible.

Abram fell face down, and God said to him, “As for Me, this is My covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram, your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you and kings will come from you. I will establish My covenant as an everlasting covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”(Gen 17:3–8).

These two passages of scripture stand as the unshakable foundation of Christian Zionist belief. God has given the sovereign title deed to the land of Canaan to the Jewish people and they have an absolute right to take the land that belongs to them in any manner they see fit. That right is conferred upon them by no other condition than their Jewishness, their descent from Abraham, the Children of Israel. This sovereign Jewish ownership of the land is as absolute as any fact could possibly be. It matters not whether the nations of the world recognise it; it is the consummate fact of history by the absolute decree and promise of God Himself. All who fail to recognise this fact and act according to that mistaken premise align themselves, knowingly or unknowingly, with the forces of darkness that seek to thwart the plans of the Almighty God. They become complicit with the plans of the anti-Christ. The land of Canaan is the possession of the Jewish people; even more so than the land bought by private citizens is their possession. It is the everlasting possession of the Jews by the very word of God.

How could this understanding of the relationship of the Jewish people to the land of Canaan possibly be disputed by anyone desiring to be faithful to the Bible as God’s word? Surely no-one who has studied these texts with a desire to follow the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob could ever dispute this most obvious teaching of the scriptures.

The certainty of the Christian Zionist’s conviction in their understanding of the relationship of the Jewish people to the land of Canaan takes its first hit when confronted with the historical fact that for 18 centuries, Orthodox Judaism has not shared this understanding. Rabbis of the Jewish faith have never believed that the Jewish people can take the land of Canaan at anytime, in any manner they see fit.  Jewish tradition, derived directly from the Old Testament of the Bible, has always recognised the conditional nature of the Jewish people’s entry and occupation of the land of promise. Torah Judaism has never interpreted the covenant of God with Abraham in the sense that Jewish people have an unconditional right to take the land of Canaan for themselves simply by virtue of their Jewishness. The land does not belong to them.

“The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is Mine and you are but aliens and My tenants.” (Lev 25:23)

The land of Israel is a Holy Land. Even by this designation we can see to whom the land really belongs. Holiness in the Bible primarily refers to the concept of ownership rather than moral purity. A piece of land or a space in a temple can hardly be said to have the quality of being morally pure. The term “Holy Land” reveals to us that the land is God’s. The Jewish people, a Holy Nation, belong to God and can never be “as the nations”. As such the land is not a “homeland” but a Holy Land; a land set apart for the purposes of God, not merely the purposes of men, and the Jewish people have a very particular God given mandate as God’s people in this Holy Land. The scriptures reveal this mandate and give further detail and qualification to the covenant promises of God to Abraham and the Jewish people.

The Exodus narrative clearly tells how the first generation of Abraham’s descendants to be redeemed from Egypt were barred from entry into the Promised Land. Had God broken His promise to Abraham by not letting Moses, Aaron and the rest of the Hebrews claim the land of Canaan as their possession? Three millennia of Judeo-Christian teaching have emphatically declared that He had not.

That first generation were halted in their tracks because they had not fulfilled the conditions of obedience and faithfulness to God via obedience to the Law. The Jews were not required to be perfect to enter the land, but they did have to be oriented towards the Lord in faith and obedience for them to find rest in the land of milk and honey. They did not earn their redemption nor were they threatened with having it revoked for their disobedience, but there were conditions that the first rebellious generation, the generation that worshipped the golden calf and tested the Lord on numerous occasions with their disobedience, did not fulfil. Hence they wandered in the desert for forty years until every last one of them, Moses and Aaron included, had perished for their sins. God would not endorse a rebellious Jewish people’s taking of the land He had promised. Implicit in the promise were the ethical conditions that reveal the very heart of God and His purposes in creating the nation of Israel.

And while occupying the land, the descendants of Abraham had similar conditions to live up to in order for them to avoid the dreaded consequences of disobedience while living in the land of Canaan; exile.

‘“You are to distribute the land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel. You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the aliens who have settled among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. In whatever tribe the alien settles, there you are to give him his inheritance,” declares the Sovereign Lord’ (Ezek 47:22-23).

“You are to have the same law for the alien and the native born.” (Lev 24:22).

“Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt.” (Ex22:21).

“So let not the land spew you out for defiling it, as it spewed out the nation that came before you.” (Lev 18:28).

“You shall faithfully observe all My laws and all My regulations, lest the land to which I bring you to settle in spew you out.” (Lev 20:22).

“When an alien (non-Jew) lives with you in your land, do not mistreat or oppress him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native born. Love him as yourself for you were an alien in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” (Lev 20:33, 34.).

Thus says the Lord God of Israel: You shed blood, yet you would keep possession of the land? You rely on your sword, you do abominable things…yet you would keep possession of the land?…I will make the land a desolate waste, and her proud strength will come to an end, and the mountains of Israel will become desolate so that no one will cross them. Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I have made the land a desolate waste because of all the detestable things they have done. (Ezek. 33:25-29)

The Israelites were to learn, very painfully, that God meant what He said. Twice in history the Jewish people have been expelled from the land for their disobedience. The conditions of their tenancy being continually violated, they were forced into exile until repentance was found in the Israelites once more.

Tenants do not own the property they live in. So how do we understand God’s promise to give Abraham’s descendants the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession in the light of this revelation? The answer lies in realising that the ethical traditions of Judaism supersede the traditions of the land. This comes from the understanding of God’s plan of redemption which intimately involves the Jewish people. Biblical redemption is redemption from the sinfulness of humanity. The covenant of God regarding the land can not be separated from God’s righteousness and desire for humanity’s redemption and consequent obedience to God. God’s concern is for all of humanity and a great part of the Jewish ethical tradition concerns the treatment of the stranger, the alien, the non-Jew and all the vulnerable in the land of Canaan.

Assuming that the promise regarding the land meant the land literally, and did not have a dual meaning relating to the Kingdom of Heaven in general, we can make some suggestions as to how we can reconcile God’s promise to Abraham and the implicit ethical requirements of Israel to remain in the land. For the land of Canaan to be an everlasting possession of the Jewish people, those very Jewish people must live up to the ethical conditions required of them forever. This could never happen outside of the ultimate reality of God’s final and total redemption from sin and this is what is at the heart of God’s plan for the Jewish people. The Jewish people can no more live eternally in Canaan while still sinning against the Lord than Christians believe they can live with God eternally in the Kingdom of Heaven in a sinful state. The everlasting possession of the land by the Jewish people is really pointing to what God really desired for the Children of Israel; that they live with a righteousness that is their eternal possession. Occupation of the land by Jewish people can not be separated from this ultimate requirement and desire of the heart of God.

The purpose of God in creating the Jewish people was to make a people for Himself; a royal priesthood and a Holy nation; through whom all families of the earth would be blessed according to His redemption plan. An occupation of the Holy Land by the Jewish people outside of this heavenly vision is against the very heart of God and cannot stand.

The Jewish people DO NOT OWN the land of Palestine. The Lord God owns this Holy Land and the Jewish people are his tenants and are aliens in the land. The currency of this everlasting “rental” agreement is adherence to the ethical traditions of Judaism. Traditions that demand equality and justice for all in Israel.

A grave question mark hangs over the Zionist State of Israel. According to Christian Zionists, the very idea of an illegitimate possession and control of the land of Israel by Jewish people is a contradiction in terms, but in truth finds verification in both the Old Testament and the traditions of Torah Judaism. The Oaths of the Talmud, forbidding Jews to retake Palestine by either force or political activism, clearly speak to us of the reality of the possibility of Jewish control of the land of Canaan being in actual fact illegitimate. Oaths need not be taken for the prohibition of something that God Himself has vowed never to allow to eventuate in any shape or form. God has placed the responsibility of the prohibition to never re-enter Canaan on masse, on the Jewish people themselves. He has never said that he will bar them from entry if they try and break those oaths. To do so would be to annul the oaths that He Himself has caused the Rabbis to take.

What will become of this false taking of the land by the rebellious Zionists is known only to God. Let us pray that God would have mercy upon them.

Craig Nielsen

ACTION FOR PALESTINE

Lessons from the Exodus

The great redemption event of the Old Testament Scriptures of the Bible is known as the Exodus, the story of which is contained in the book of the same name. To understand the message of this book, as well as the rest of the Pentateuch, is pivotal to a proper understanding of both Judaism and Christianity. The lessons learnt from this book, both theological and political, have far reaching consequences for today’s world. However, the consequences for one particular country, the Zionist State of Israel, are quite probably so dire, that one would assume that the book of Exodus would be required reading for every citizen of that country.

The story of the Exodus is hardly unknown in the western world. From Sunday school to DreamWorks Animation’s, “The Prince of Egypt”, most people have been exposed to the basic story of the Exodus. The Exodus is a physical as well as a symbolic example of Divine redemption. It is a redemption won completely by the hand of the Almighty. An unmerited act of favour bestowed on the descendants of Abraham by virtue of the gracious covenant made by God with the Patriarch some 400 years before.

The land of Canaan, promised to Abraham’s descendants by God, is still inhabited by a people not related to Abraham when the story line is picked up at beginning of the book of Exodus. Abraham is long dead, as is his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. Jacob’s twelve sons have also perished and most importantly, a Pharaoh has risen in Egypt that knows nothing of the favoured position that Joseph, Jacob’s favourite son, had enjoyed in the courts of Pharaoh when the children of Israel first moved to Egypt to escape the calamity of an oncoming famine.

The Hebrews had been fruitful and had multiplied in number in Egypt up to a point where the Egyptians feared that the Hebrews large population would put in jeopardy the Egyptian’s majority rule. Egypt was wealthy, powerful and a noble civilisation. It was an empire that shone like a beacon in an otherwise dark and brutal world. Its system of justice and fairness to Egyptians left the other nations in a position of envy. But all that would be put at risk if the Hebrews were allowed to get the upper hand. Egypt would be overrun by uncivilised hoards and her glory would turn to ashes. Something had to be done by Pharaoh.

His answer was a combination of slavery and genocide. The children of Israel were put under the bonds of slavery to work for the Egyptian empire that feared them. But the more oppressed the Hebrews were, the more they multiplied in number and the more the fear of them increased in the hearts of the Egyptians. The more the fear of them increased the more the hatred of them increased. The descendants of Abraham cried out from under the bonds of the pitiless oppression they suffered. They cried out in anguish and God, remembering His promise to Abraham, came to their rescue. He came to their rescue not because they were a righteous people, deserving of mercy by their own virtue, but because of the unmerited compassion and love of the Almighty.

According to the plan of God, Moses was saved from the Pharaoh ordained policy of infanticide against God’s chosen people. But years later Moses, upon seeing the suffering of his people, reacted in anger and killed an Egyptian for abusing one of the Hebrew slave workers. He covered up the murder and fled into the wilderness trying to escape the consequences of his crime.

Years later God called Moses once again and after visiting the famous ten plagues on the Egyptians, the children of Israel were finally driven from their place of torment in Egypt by the edge of the swords of the Egyptians themselves. The Exodus narrative clearly demonstrates that the salvation of God came by grace alone, despite the faithlessness of the Hebrews. The Jewish people complained, “Were there not enough graves in Egypt that we had to be brought into the desert to die?” .At no stage did they display a trust or faith in the God who was saving them from the oppression they cried out from. Yet God in His grace never faltered in His mercy to them. His plan to save them was His choice, not theirs. He desired to take them as a people for Himself; to be a royal priesthood and a Holy nation and through them God would bless all families of the earth in His gracious plan to redeem all of creation.

At Sinai, God gave His people the Law. In numerous places in that Law God reminded His people of the plight He had rescued them from so graciously. He reminded them that all they had was due to the graciousness of God and not won by their own hand or by their own virtue. They were to be a people not like any of the nations of the world; the royal priesthood of the gracious God of Abraham. They were to be the people of grace, justice and mercy: A people who craved the grace and justice of God rather than the power, wealth and status desired by the nations. They were to have no King, God would be their King. Israel was not to be a meritocracy for it was never created by human means. It was to be a kingdom of grace.

God reminded the Hebrews of His mercy to them in Egypt whenever He commanded His people about how to treat non-Jews living amongst them. The entire story was to be a lesson in how to treat others different from themselves who shared the land of Canaan with them. Israel was never to behave like Egypt.

Fast forward to the time of Jesus. When asked why He ate and drank with sinners, Jesus told a story that has become one of the most beloved of all the New Testament parables: The Parable of the Prodigal Son. This parable of the father who spoiled his lost, undeserving, sinful, prodigal son when he found him once again was meant to sound strangely familiar to the Jewish religious teachers of the day. Not only was it a story of God’s love for the lost of Jesus day, it mirrored the story of the Exodus. Israel was and always has been the prodigal son of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God had always been redeeming and unconditionally accepting prodigals and Jesus was doing exactly the same as His Father.

Now fast forward to the present day. Has the Zionist state of Israel remembered the commandments of its prodigal son loving God?

In 1948 the Zionist State of Israel was created following the mandate of the United Nations in 1947. In previous generations Jews and Palestinian Arabs had been on good terms. Islam and Judaism had co-existed in the region for 13 centuries. But all that was about to change. In 1948, fifty five percent of the land of Palestine was given to the Zionists when Jews comprised barely a third of the population and officially owned only 6% of the land. But a huge problem remained. The numbers of Arabs in Israel put fear in the hearts of the Zionists. At the time of the creation of the Zionist State, the population of Israel was roughly 499,000 Jews to 510,000 Arabs. The Zionist State desired to be a democracy, a land of freedom that would be a shining example of civilisation in the otherwise barbaric Middle East. But all these Arabs would destroy the glory that was to be the New Zionist Israel. Something had to be done by Ben Gurion and his compatriots.

What they came up with was known as Plan Dalet. The ethnic cleansing of Palestine. The Arab world rejected the partition of Palestine because of the injustice it did to the indigenous Palestinians. Even before one Arab soldier came into Palestine to defend its native people, some 300,000 Palestinians had been dispossessed by Zionist forces. After six months of ethnic cleansing operations, nearly 800,000 Palestinians had been removed from their homes. Now the Zionists had a majority in Israel. The Zionists promptly demolished the houses of the dispossessed Palestinians so they could not return and within 2 years they enacted the Law of Return so that Jews and their spouses from anywhere in the world could come to Israel and gain full citizenship while the indigenous Palestinians, made refugees in 1948, could only watch in dismay. Now Israel could be a true democracy!

No move on to 1967. While stateless Palestinians sheltered in what was now only 22% of their original homeland, Arab nations sought ways to undo the damage done in 1948. In June of 1967, in response to Egyptian troops building up in the Sinai, Israel launched a pre-emptive attack on its enemies and in six days it defeated its foes and occupied the remaining 22% of Palestine. Now the Zionists had all of Palestine under their control! But there was a huge problem. The same one they and the Egyptians had faced previously. There were still too many Arabs. Israel wanted to be a shining light of democracy to the world and be a nation of power and wealth and military strength. But these Arabs were a bunch of barbarians and they would tare down the Zionist State and turn it into a sewer of Islamist demagoguery. Something had to be done.

This time they decided not to ethnically cleanse the remaining Palestinians in the occupied territories. No country would take any more refugees and the world was watching this time anyway. This time they would come up with another plan. They would keep the Palestinians in huge open air prisons with Palestinians running the prisons on the inside but Zionists holding all the keys and minding all the exits and standing on all the walls. If the inmates co-operated with their keepers they would be given privileges; they could go out and work in Israel for Israelis (so long as they had a permit). If they rebelled against their jailers, the riot squad would be sent in to deal with the trouble makers. If they did not stop misbehaving, the Zionists would lay siege to the prison until the will of the Palestinians was broken.

Now at last Israel can be a democracy! A shining light of freedom in an otherwise dark world of tyranny and hopelessness. Israel can now be like Egypt! Who better to be the jailers of Palestinian barbarians than the Zionists? Who else could deal with such a dreadful situation in such a civilised manner?

History has been utterly reversed. Now the Zionists sit in the seat of Pharaoh and proceed to strangle the life out of the Palestinians with the same sense of entitlement that motivated the Egyptian Monarch. The Zionist State of Israel has violated all the ethical principals that exist as conditions for the Jewish people’s occupation of Palestine. As Egypt was destroyed and Israel was later twice to be forced into exile by the hand of God, so the current State of Israel moves ever closer to the edge of oblivion as it rebels against its God given mandate to love the alien as one of their own native born. The lessons of the Exodus have been ignored by the Zionists. In reality, its message has been buried under a mountain of secular nationalistic idolatry and justified by the continual bombardment of Zionist interpretations of the meaning of the Shoah. This is no surprise to anyone who knows of the origins of Zionism. A secular nationalistic movement that sought to redefine Jewishness in a way that centred on nationalism rather than Torah values. As the Israeli intellectual, Boaz Evron once said, “Zionism is indeed the negation of Judaism”.

Craig Nielsen

ACTION FOR PALESTINE

Israel-Palestine: A Christian Response to the Conflict

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