Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Medved, Israel, Holocaust, Terrorism

Chose to go to Christ Church last night and listen to Michael Medved present four common lies about Israel and the Middle East. 1) That the issue between Israel and the Palestinians has anything to do with the current war on terror. 2) That the issue between Israel and the Palestinians has anything to do with land. 3) That Palestinians once had an organized state of which they were robbed and have the right to re-establish. 4) that Israel was created out of the Holocaust.

The first three I consider pedestrian, and the dear reader is most invited to verify the facts. One piece of trivia worth noting is that Yassar Arafat was NOT a Palestinian. He was Egyptian.

The fourth lie, regarding the relationship between WWII, the Holocaust, and the creation of the state of Israel, did educate your humble blogger. I was not aware that long before WWII movements and sentiments existed to create a Jewish state in the area of what was once Judea, where the famous war that began in 68 A.D. and resulted in the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. took place. In the United States, a work proposing such an act was published in the 1840’s. Talk resurfaced about the idea in the 1890’s.

A significant Jewish population was already in the region (shocker there), and it was rapidly expanding PRIOR to WWII. For reasons having nothing to do with Europe, Jews were starting to congeal in the area, arriving from the surrounding Middle Eastern countries. When the state was formed in 1948, this migration accelerated to produce the rapid expansion of the population of the state. It had NOTHING to do with Holocaust survivors. In 1950, 95+ percent of Israel’s population consisted of people from the Middle East, not Europe.

Bottom line: This notion that after WWII the victorious allies transported a group of European Jews into the land of Israel to create a state and "displace" Palestinians from "their own land" just isn’t accurate.

Regarding Terrorism, those familiar with this blog may recall my very well read and perhaps problematically intelligent mathematician friend, who found Something Else "utterly incomprehensible" due to "orthographical transgressions beyond the pale of written discourse," has said the following, "If you read one and only one book about terrorism and what is happening in the Middle East, you should read Gilles Kepel’s Jihad, The Trail of Political Islam. Now, I kid my reader not, praise from Thalia is precious indeed. For every book praised, half a dozen to a dozen carcasses of thoroughly eviscerated casualties lie on the floor.

I can promise that Jihad’s orthography will be befitting that of a high school graduate.


Blogger Sirocco said...

I haven't read Jihad, but I'll add it to my next bookstore purchase list.

Medved is being somewhat misleading in regards to points 4. Yes, it's certainly true the notion of founding a separate Jewish state in the general vicinity of modern-day Israel greatly pre-dates WW2. It's also true there was a large demographic influx of Jews to the area prior to WW2.

However, despite all such discussion and demographic trends, it's also unquestionably true that no separate Jewish state was actually created prior to WW2 and the Holocaust. A strong (to my mind, absolutely convincing) case can be made the Holocaust was the final powerful push that turned discussion into action regarding the founding of Israel.

One might argue demographic pressures would eventually have led to that point anyway, but that's questionable at best, and ultimately entirely hypothetical.

So yes, Medved is correct in claiming it's a "myth" the founding of Israel was built on a platform of the Allies transporting European Jews to the region, but the statement "Israel was created out of the Holocaust" can not, itself, be termed a "myth".

5/30/2007 11:56 AM  
Blogger x4mr said...


Academically, I don't disagree with a word you've said. Pragmatically, I think Medved is justified in being somewhat aggressive in attacking the "myth" in public perception, the image of the allies charging into the Middle East in an aggressive fashion and "displacing" significant numbers of people to "force" this state.

It just didn't happen that way.

I will reinforce my recommendation of "Jihad." Praise from this woman is rare. It has to be good.

5/30/2007 1:01 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

What are you saying about the displacement of Palestinians, x4mr? I'm not sure I understand. Have you ever heard of al-Nakba, "the Catastrophe?"

5/30/2007 1:40 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

I would have been shocked if I did not hear from you, Liza, and we stand at the mouth of a hornet's nest.

I know of what you speak, and we could enter into very lengthy exchanges about ethnic cleansing and displacements and so on, and I am not trying to justify a thing.

My point is that the holocaust, as Sirocco noted, served as a catalyst, NOT a principle driver, in what occurred. The forces of "Zionism" were brewing long before WWII from the large number of Jews unhappy with the state of affairs in Tsarist Russia to unrest and uneasiness in other places, and pressures were mounting globally towards a Jewish State.

I do not seek to justify all that occurred as the state of Israel was established, what happened as families were forced from homes, etc., and yes, blood was shed.

What I am saying is that the forces behind the creation of the Jewish state cannot be attributed to WWII and Hitler's holocaust, save that it may have been the "spark" that landed on a pile of gunpowder.

The Holocaust, by itself, would not have produced the State of Israel. The pile of gunpowder had to be there, ready for the spark.

That's what I am saying. I am also saying that any resolution between Israelis and Palestinians won't do squat for us regarding the carnage taking place between Sunnis and Shiites.

They are separate issues driven by separate forces both of which date back thousands of years.

Vietnam was child's play compared to the shit we've got ourselves into at this point.

5/30/2007 7:48 PM  

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