WARNING : This site is not for you if you cannot see the otherness of other and sufferings of both sides of the party in the conflict. Security for Israel and Justice for the Palestinians are interdependent, one will not happen without the other. My view focuses on building cohesive societies where no one has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. I hope and pray a sense of justice to prevail. Amen. Website www.IsraelPalestineDialogue.com | Also Check Israel Palestine Confederation a pragmatic solution

Monday, July 9, 2018

Zionism and Freedom

Dear Paul,

I have always valued your opinions, am pleased to read your piece on Zionism and while agreeing with most of the aspirations, I have seen a different version of history from the Israeli Jews. A few different perspectives are presented on the left panel of this site, www.IsraelPalestineDialogue.com

 The United Nations through the United Kingdom had the arrogance to believe that they can impose their decisions on an unwilling people. The conflict and Naqba butchery that followed was wrong. Had the UN or Brittain called in all parties to sit down and figure the way forward, we would have had a different history. I think it is wrong to blame Jews or the Arabs, a decision was forced on them and they reacted. Both sides have made regrettable statements. 

Religion has everything to do with the creation of Israel, the Holocaust survivors could have been absorbed everywhere and resettled in their own homes. Agreed,  there were many non-religious Jews among the founders, so was Pakistan, which was created on the basis of religion by leaders who were least religious. Most of the conflicts emanate from the acts of leaders of these two good nations. 

Anti-Semitism is different than Anti-Israel sentiments. Anti-semitism is evil and need to be extricated from our hearts, minds, and souls. Whereas Anti-Israel is caused by the leadership of Israel, violating the UN resolutions, it is like slapping 96% of the world's consensus, it breeds resentment for the flagrant violation of the leadership, not because of Anti-Semitism.

The Arabs living in Israel live as 2nd class citizens, denying them the very things they owned. Until both sides truly acknowledge the mistakes made in the past and compounded by the likes of Mashal and Netanyahu, security for Israelis and justice for the Palestinians is merely a hope and a wish. One will not happen without the other.

Do we need the next generation to blame us and our generation for dumping our problem on them?  I hope the next generation does not call us, Abu Mashal and Netanyahu criminals for messing up their lives.

Mike Ghouse

Zionism and Freedom
Last month (in June 2018) I had an extensive letter published in the "Hallingdølen" (the main newspaper of the Hallingdal valley of south-central Norway) - in response to a series of seven nasty anti-Israel letters sent to the paper in recent months by the region's resident bigot, who I've also locked horns with in the past.
[The Hallingdal region is where Liv has her family roots, and where we have our vacation cabin.]
I wrote the article "Zionism and Freedom" in English, and Liv translated it into nynorsk (a dialectal written form of the Norwegian language) for publication.
This appears in print in the issue of Saturday, June 23, on page 36, and also appears online at the paper's website. (Unfortunately, free access to the online edition is only available to subscribers.)
Below is my original English-language version, written just three days before publication. To see the published nynorsk translation by Liv, scroll down beyond that.
Paul Goldstein June 20, 2018
Bjarte Rundereim has recently written seven articles in «Hallingdølen» in opposition to Zionism, opposing national rights and freedoms for the Jewish people.
He tries strenuously to separate anti-Zionism from anti-Semitism, but that is an exercise in absurdity. Zionism is the National Liberation Movement of the Jewish people. It is the return to self-governance of a people in a land of their indigenous ancestry, rooted in over 3500 years of history. It is the deep heritage of the connection of a people to their national homeland – a heritage that is not only spiritual, but also political, cultural, societal, and linguistic. Zionism expresses the principle that the Jewish people are entitled to the same rights and freedoms as other peoples of the world in their indigenous national homelands.
One cannot oppose this equality of rights and freedoms for the Jewish people, and at the same time claim to have no prejudice against the Jewish people. This is a position contrary to both logic and humanity.
Jewish people have maintained a continuous presence in their homeland for thousands of years (though a succession of conquering foreign powers drove many into exile from the first two Jewish nations). No other people have ever built a sovereign independent nation in the land that is now Israel.
Rundereim's version of events surrounding the 1948 re-establishment of Israel is highly distorted. Religion had little to do with Israel's founding. Indeed many of the founders were non-religious Jews. As Great Britain ended its 31-year control over the region, the revived nation of Israel declared independence without any reference to a Divine power, and invited the surrounding Arab nations to accept them in peace. Instead, the surrounding Arab nations launched a co-ordinated attack the next day in an unsuccessful attempt to annihilate the new nation.
Rundereim falsely alleges that millions of Arabs were expelled when Israel was created. In actuality, during the years around 1948, a period of war and upheaval, there was a massive two-sided population shift. About 700,000 Palestinian Arabs left for neighboring lands, while a roughly equal number of Jewish refugees from Arab and Muslim lands of the Middle East and North Africa, escaping increasing persecution, poured into the new nation. Many of the Arab refugees of 1948 fled, fearing the unknown, or were encouraged to do so by their community leaders. As often occurs in wartime, there was wrongdoing on both sides. Arab forces expelled all Jewish residents from the Old Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. Some Israeli commanders wrongfully expelled Arabs from certain villages. But there was no systematic national attempt by Israel to expel its Arab population – this has been confirmed by the respected historian Benny Morris, who has written a comprehensive detailed history of the period, based on Israeli archival records kept secret until the 1980's.
The 150,000 Arabs who remained in the new nation of Israel became Israeli citizens, with equal civil rights including full voting rights. Today the number of Arab citizens of Israel has grown to 1,800,000 (12 times as large as in 1948), comprising 20% of the nation's population. They have completely equal rights as the Jewish population, and the strict laws against discrimination are enforced by Israeli courts. Arabs in Israel have achieved considerably higher levels of literacy, education, socioeconomic and professional advancement, health care, and longevity than other Arabs in the region; and have reached high positions of leadership in all sectors of society. All public areas and public accommodations in Israel are fully open to Jews and Arabs on an equal basis. That's the law, and that's the reality. There is no «apartheid» in Israel, as Rundereim alleges.
It is most important to work in behalf of a full peace between Israelis and the Palestinian Arabs of the region. In my view, this can be best accomplished by a two-pronged approach, something that has not yet been tried. On the one hand there need to be negotiations among leaders and diplomats on both sides to reach a viable two-state solution. On the other hand, there also needs to be grassroots peace activism among the peoples, at all age levels, to nurture mutual understanding, co-operation, trust, and friendship. I remain hopeful that with more peace-oriented leadership on both sides, this can be achieved.
But relentlessly attacking the people on one side of the conflict, and seeking to deny their national rights and freedoms - as is the case with Rundereim – accomplishes nothing except fueling the flames of the conflict.