In the wake of Israel's recent bold and provocative attack against the flotilla of aid ships bound for Gaza, the world reacts with anger and disbelief at the audacity of Israel. No one is surprised that Israel uses the same lame blame game "They attacked first". Of course, only Israel commandos expect people to stand still with their head down while being attacked without provocation. It is a lesson learnt from the cruel Holocaust days - it's a ghetto thing.
Let us not kid ourselves anymore about the Middle East conflict. There is no such thing - it is a clever camouflage and ruse to mislead the world from the real truth - the lawlessness of the Israel regime, which has its hand in the cookie jar of 'License to plunder bon-bons', 'Midnight Invasion Surprise' and 'Turkish Delight Disaster'. Many express frustration through all channels, one of which can be located on Facebook.
However, the outpouring grief and at times emotional rantings without understanding how Israel has managed to keep the world at ransom will not achieve the change and justice we desire. We have to understand the history and chain of significant events, see here, here and here - in order to make significant and intelligent efforts to break away from this political impasse.
Israel was established as an independent state in 1948. Let us examine how this came about after 3000 years of exile of the Jews.
Amidst persecution and oppresion by the Pharaoh, Moses and his Jew followers were driven out from Egypt. Circa 135 AD, the Romans exiled the Jews from Jerusalem and renamed it Palaestina or Philistine Syria. About five centuries later, in 638 AD, Khalifah Umar conquered Jerusalem and the Jews and Christians - the people of the book - were allowed to practice their religions subject to certain conditions including having to pay taxes. They were neither exiled, nor forced to change their religion, and they were mostly free in their choice of lifelihood. They were even allowed to intermarry with Muslims. This was in keeping with the Prophet Muhammad's SAW actions when he returned to Mecca. This went on until the 1900s Jerusalem became holy to Muslims as it is believed that Nabi Muhammad S A W ascended to heaven after a miraculous overnight ride from Mecca on his horse Al-Buraq. The al-Aqsa mosque was built on the site.
Steadily, worldwide, the reputation of the Jews suffered over the centuries. In the 17th century for example, Shakespeare painted a lasting and vivid picture of a greedy revengeful Jew in Shylock form his play The Merchant Of Venice. In comparison, there was a fascination with the Arabs in particular Egypt. Arabs were well respected as thinkers, poets and scientists.
The Jews continued to emigrate far and wide across the globe. Palestine was under the Ottoman Empire rule. A brief history of this period can be found here and here. After almost two millennia of being homeless, the modern Zionist movement was born in the late 19th century as a response to the growing world-wide anti-semitism. Zionism grew rapidly and became the dominant force among Jewish political movements. Journalist Theodor Herzl in the late 19th century published the book Der Judenstaat which spurred Zionism further.
The movement mainly sought to encourage Jewish migration to Palestine - this is fundamental - their belief is that Palestine is a Jew's given right of citizenry, and not by birth in actual Palestine. Major aspects of the Zionist idea are represented in the Israeli Declaration of Independence.
To understand how unreasonable this is, imagine if all Muslims in the world believed that Mecca and Arab Saudi was their birthright and claimed citizenship. Or all Catholics believe that it is their birthright to be citizens of the Vatican City.
The end of World War I was a time of negotiations for the spoils of war. Britain was entrusted with Palestine in view of establishing a Jewish state. However, Britain stopped short of taking decisive action when the Arabs made a strong appeal. During World War II however, Hitler, after what seemed to be clear victory following his conquest of most of Europe including France, retaliated in anger when he was faced with the ingenuity and sheer will power of Winston Churchill who did not give in to the German assault and air raids. In retaliation, Hitler began an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Jews by first establishing the ghettos - a closed wall community suffocated by famine and shame and ultimately the ghetto survivors faced death in the gas chambers, the Holocaust. In the aftermath of WWII and inparticular the Holocaust, the Zionist were eventually successful their campaign to pressure the world, especially Britain and finally established Israel on 14th May 1948.
Today it is estimated that there are 13 million Jews worldwide, out of which 5.6 million live in the United Stateds and 5.3 million live in Israel. Therefore the Jews are about 0.2% of the world population. Remember, there is an estimated 1.57 billion Muslims in the world which makes up about 23% of the world population. (Refer here) Sufferance are in many forms and the Muslims have their own share of plights. But the blame game is not the way of a Muslim. We take responsibility for our actions as this is the basis of our relationship with our Maker. We will be punished for our wrong-doings and rewarded for our good deeds.
12th October 2012
I would like to add the thoughts of a Rabbi I just knew to this post so that anyone reading this can have a balanced viewpoint. I do not agree with Rabbi Avi in everything, I still believe with all my heart that what is happening in Gaza is atrocious, which the Rabbi acknowledges - but I know that this is a matter people of different religions have different viewpoints and historical claims. In the end we are all humans - and want the same things for our children - peace and choice.
By Avi Balser
The article is well written, but I would like to point out a few small errors in its logic.
It compares the concept of Jews feeling a "right" to Palestine as being crazy, since to apply that to Muslim all wanting to live in Makka or Saudi Arabia is crazy, or the Catholics all living in Vatican City is crazy.
However therein lies a major difference.
Islam and Christianity are religions which did enormous evangelizing, getting people from all over the world to convert to their two religions. For instance, the people of Indonesia or Malaysia are 100% Muslim, but have no "inherited" ties to Makkah or Saudi Arabia.
However, Judaism is NOT an evangelizing religion, and does not "recruit" new members. Sure, we accept the few who choose to join us, but the VAST MAJORITY of Jews around the world ARE direct decendents of the original Jews who were driven off their land which became known as Palestine, and other names, and disbursed around the world, where they reproduced, etc. But the Jews today, whether from Germany, US, Poland, Russia, England, Italy, Belgium, or Iran, all came from that original stock... and DO have "inherited" rights to that land...
So, the logic of the comparison to Islam or Christianity falls.
Yes, Muslims suffered also, not only Jews, that is a very legitimate statement. But is does not speak to the situation at hand. The Jews never persecuted the Muslims back in history... (other than the wrongs being done now with the Palestinians, which is truly sad and wrong)
Most of the trouble the Muslims went though over the past 14 centuries were from the Christians.... not the Jews.
Now, There is a very strong argument not made here too well, that the land did not really belong to England or the UN to "give" to the Jews to form the "State of Israel" ... and the Muslims living there for generations certainly should have been granted equality and full citizenship, and not have had property stolen from them, etc. I agree with that entirely, and 100% .. What the UK and the UN did was wrong, dead wrong.
But try to also see it from the eyes of the Jewish refugees back in 1947 and 1948. There were told by the world, "This land is yours to build a Jewish state." The United Nations told this to them. They had just recently left as the leftovers who were not killed by the Nazis, and they clung to this promise from the UN... Their own land, their own country... finally no country can start a new holocaust and kill all Jews because they finally had a country, a tiny country, but a country of their own.
Now, yes, some of the Zionist politicians at the onset were not "nice people" ...but the refugees themselves were innocents. They thought this was truly their land. They believed the UN.
Then, soon after the State was formerly declared, they were attacked from all sides by all their neighbors. They fought for survival, and barely won... after heavy loss of life, etc.
Yes, this war resulted in many Palestinian from Jordan now misplaced inside the new State of Israel... and Jordan did not let them go home to Jordan. So, Israel was "stuck" with them.... but they did not seem to be supportive of the new state, and understandably were felt to be hostile.
This really tough war had the Israelis shuddering in fear of the next war, and of having people inside their country on the side of the enemy.
Then, they sat down to establish their "democracy" and they realized that with all these new Palestinians who were stranded there by Jordan, if they all were given the right to vote, they just may form a voting block large enough to vote the Israeli Jews out of power.... and convert this new State of Israel to an Islamic State.
This was totally unacceptable to them... after sacrificing that many lives to protect that tiny country, the final "safe place" for them, there was no way they would allow themselves to go back to being Dhimmis in any form....
So, keeping them in separated sections, not citizens of the actual state, was a defensive move... self survival.
Now, I will say I do object strongly to how the Israelis treat the Palestinians. No matter what the fear, to turn around and mistreat the good Palestinian people was and is wrong. Horrible, in my book.
But we must also understand that there is another side.
The Israelis there now, have gone through 60+ years of conflicts and wars, including MANY terrorist attacks and suicide bombers attacking their civilians, women, children, elderly, anybody... like blowing up tour busses, inter city busses, pizza shops full of young people, and rockets fired on town from Gaza. They live in Fear every day and every night... just as the Palestinians do. There have been some bad-behaving people from both sides, who have kept the conflicts going on and on.
But, no matter how wrongly the origin of the State was, how wrong the UN was, the land was given to these people grandparents 60+ years ago.
To expect them to all disappear and go away, is just as silly and wrong.
We need to find a solution where Jew and Muslim live side-by-side again, with neither one controlling. I secular state, recognizing both religions' rights, and giving no preference to either. All the people, Jew or Muslim need to have full rights of citizenship, with ALL the rights which normally come with full citizenship... and some amount of significant reparation needs to be arranged to compensate people for land and homes that was stolen from their grandparents back in 1948, etc.
Jew and Muslim need to find a way to coexist, with mutual respect.
But none of this will happen while BOTH sides keep acting like mean bastards towards each other.
We all want a bilateral cease fire.
But maybe the first cease fire needs to be a cease fire from nasty rhetoric. Calling each other crazy, nasty names, and spreading hatred and fear is not productive, and is clearly the goal of Shaytan.
Every time we speak a mean word towards a Mulim or a Jew, we are following Shaytan, not Allah's will .... that's how I see it.
As far as I am concerned, if you believe in and are the servant of the One God, the ONLY God, I don't care if you are Sunni, Jew, or Shia, you are my brother and I love you.