Israel and Original Sin

There have been murders of Israelis: In the West Bank a Palestinian Arab sneaks into an Israeli house and murders a sleeping couple or maybe their child but when I then grieve with a neighbor Jew I sense a lack of shared distress. With me pressing the point, I eventually get an answer; my neighbor says “Yes, it is a terrible thing but then, after all, they were living in Palestine, they had no business living in Palestine, and anyhow, Israel had already gobbled up enough of Palestine and already driven out the Arabs. Given this, what are the Palestinians supposed to do? The world doesn’t support their loss and grief and it must be expected that people driven mad by loss will often react violently. No Jew can support Apartheid, can he?” Yes, this is what I hear “You have to expect a violent response when people are protesting injustice.”

We Jews are mixed politically; here in the USA there seems a majority of non-affiliated or Reform Jews whose Jewish centrality is the Shoah. This majority has accepted the problem, in part or in whole, as defined by the Palestinian Arab and much of the Muslim world. The problem is “what can be done to force Israel to relinquish its theft of land and culture.” The Zionist recoils in astonishment from this definition. But definitions in the humanities can yield to premises and opinions and the premise of the modern progressive is that blacks and browns are in the right unless proven otherwise.

The Palestinian statement of its history is basically the following: The population of the ancient lands, now including Israel and its surrounds, evolved into modern Arabs. To the extent that there might or might not have been a Hebrew history, artifacts, and language in these lands, that has long been subsumed into the current Arab Muslim culture, with Hebrew giving way to Aramaic and then Arabic. During these millennia, the few enclaves in Palestine using Hebrew and following Judaism consisted of Arabs hanging onto ancient and superseded texts, i.e, Arab Jews, just as there are Arab Christians. Persecutions of these communities by the Muslim population, including that of Hebron in 1929, were internecine quarrels. Although practicing Judaism, these people were Arab. The European Jews who started immigrating to Southern Syria as per the Ottomans, i.e. Palestine, in the late 19th century  have no history in this area. These Europeans (Ashkenazim) are descendants of a Caucasus tribe that converted to Judaism in the early days of Islam. These Ashkenazim have aggressively stole Arab owned land and driven off the Arab inhabitants. Following on the Balfour Declaration and the San Remo agreements, they increased their colonizing immigration and started the Judaization of Jerusalem; they drove the Mufti, Mohammed Amin al-Hussein (Uncle of Arafat) into Hitler’s hands when he protested. “What are we do to when confronted with this theft of land and culture? We will never surrender and are forced to fight with the weapons we have. We want the Jews to leave.”

The above is basically the Arab argument and likely I have stated it better than they have. Biblical references, artifacts, Roman history, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Iranian exodus, are all dismissed as histories stolen by the European Jews to support their non-claims.

No doubt there was much intermingling of local populations but this does not matter. The issue is peoplehood, not blood. A people is a group with many of certain attributes: an awareness of self from others, an agreement by others of their separateness, a common history, a common language, a common religion. Most but not all peoples have a fixed territory or recognized leader. There has been for millennia a general agreement that the Jews are a separate people. Indeed, during the last 1500 years the Arabs themselves would likely have killed any Jew who claimed to be Arab, Sephardic as well as Ashkenasic. It is demeaning to even defend this truth.

Nonetheless the Arab argument has not only gained traction but is the current accepted belief in many non-Muslim circles. Many Christian Churches have trouble conceding Jesus as a Jew has a relationship to contemporary Jews. For many, their easy acceptance of the Arab argument is bolstered by latent anti-Semitism.

This latency was exploited by the wealth of the Arabs. Early on, the huge oil wealth, dwarfing any wealth of the Jewish community, has been used to pay lobbyists, to buy influence among politicians, and to use threat of withholding Arab nations’ friendships if support for Jewish aspirations in the Palestine Mandate were evident. This latter was seen in the British Foreign Office culminating in the White Paper of 1939. The US State Department under President Roosevelt supported all these British initiatives before and during World War II. Although President Truman broke with the State Department when he recognized Israel, nonetheless, despite a war that threatened the nascent Israel’s existence, Truman imposed and enforced an Arms embargo against the new State. This embargo was sustained, even through the 1967 War, until reversed by President Nixon during the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

Left wing Americans, among them notably some communists such as I.F. Stone, were generally supportive of Israel until the 1967 War. It is rumored that archives exist documenting that the Soviets told Israel not to attack preemptively and attempted to assure Israel that it did not face a risk, this despite the documented mobilizations and crowd hysteria being generated by Arab Governments. Immediately following Israel’s victory, the Communist bloc broke with Israel and the American Left instantly followed suit. The American Left has never repaired that break and has been the main domestic critic of Israel ever since. The power of these progressives, as they gained control of the media and the humanities in the Universities, sometimes sponsored by Arab funded desks, is seen in the current hostile stance on campuses and on the street demonstrations. It has penetrated into the Democratic Party as seen in the booing of a Jewish Jerusalem clause in the 2012 Democratic platform and in the unauthorized, but nonetheless present, Palestinian flag on the floor of the Democratic convention this year. Mainstream Protestant Churches such as the Lutheran and Presbyterian have similarly joined the attack on Israel. The New York Times, its Jewish (some now converted) publishers apparently sympathetic to non-Zionist groups in US circles in the 1930’s, has continued its ongoing distaste for Israel by featuring Jewish surname writers critical of Israel.

Circumstances are now such that the word “Zionist” is an embarrassment to many Jews, and that open anti-Semitism exists on many campuses here, in Canada, and in Great Britain. “Israel is not doing enough for peace”, “Israel is thwarting the Peace process”, “Israel is an apartheid State”, “Israel is blocking Muslim worship in the Old City”, “the settlements….”. That the Yishuv in 1938 was willing to talk about the Peel Commission, that it accepted UN 181, that Israel accepted UN 242, that Israel offered the Palestinians 1967 lines and shared Temple Mount as starters for discussion in 1999, 2000, and 2006 (Olmert) are dismissed as insufficient or lying statements. That the PA has never made a written proposal for peace and that it has rejected all of the above offers is discounted as Israel not doing enough.

How can this be? It is because the Arabs, bolstered in the aftermath of the 1967 War by the Soviet and its fellow travelers in the Western world, decided that, if told often enough, the world would come to accept the Arab version of history: Europeans pretending to have a historical attachment to Palestine have invaded and colonized the Country, renamed it Israel, driven out or killed its indigenous peoples. As told it is an original sin, and Israel is created on this sin. Therefore, nothing called an injustice can be done to Israel by those so sinned upon, and the best ending would be the disappearance of Israel.

So when I read that Israel has made a good speech in the UN, or that Israeli lawyers are suing someone or some entity for discrimination, or Israel sends its aid to some earthquake devastated zone, or an Israeli wins a Nobel prize, or Israel says it will compromise with the Arabs on this or that, and expects that these deeds will engender good will I wonder how Israel can be so naïve. There is a huge lie out there, a huge lie, and this lie overwhelms all actions by Israel. Until that lie is confronted and confronted and exposed and exposed, there is no path for Israel to acceptance and peace. Original sin overwhelms all argument.

Arnold Flick 3890 Nobel Dr. #1206 San Diego CA 92122 (858) 597 8138

About the Author
Arnold L. Flick was born 1930 of secular, Zionist, Russian-Jewish immigrant parents. He has followed events in Israel since age seven when he first solicited for the “Jews of Palestine” on the streets of Los Angeles as a young member of Habonim. He was in Israel for four months 1990-91 and for two months 2002. He is active in the House of Israel Balboa park, a non-profit museum in Balboa Park, San Diego, that provides information about Israel to its 15,000 annual visitors.