100 years later: Israel is not an occupier

How much do you know about Mongolia, Cameroon or Suriname? The countries in Asia, Africa and South America, respectively, for most readers, are likely blank spaces. It’s forgivable: these countries have little connection to, and resonance with, the majority of Westerners with no friends or family there.

And believe it or not, that is how most people see Israel. Surveys show that the majority of individuals do not view themselves as pro or anti-Israel. Most people are simply undecided and knowledgeable about Israel.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that frequently individuals don’t hold false beliefs about Israel, such that it is an illegal occupier of Palestinian land.

Israel is regularly accused of being an occupier. Israeli has also been alleged to be a country that was given to the Jewish people out of Holocaust guilt, but that really isn’t the case.

There were events that took place before the Holocaust and nearly two decades before the outbreak of the second world war that prove that there had been intentions by the British Government and by extension the League of Nations to give the land of Israel to the Jewish people, long before the state of Israel was founded in 1948.

It starts with Zionist Organizations in the early 20th century being in communications with British Parliament, and the British foreign Secretary writing a declaration. This declaration promised the land to the Jewish people with the conditions of a proper governing body and both civil and religious rights being guaranteed to both Jews and non-Jews alike. Given those conditions were met, autonomy would be granted to the Jewish homeland. This declaration was written for the Jewish people and given to Chaim Wizman and Baron Rothschild, both were world leaders in Zionist movement.

This document prove that there was an intention to reconstitute a nation-state  for the Jewish people as early as 1917 in their historic homeland, but an even more significant event would solidify the Balfour Declaration. The San Remo Conference was held in April 1920 after the conclusion of the first world war. It was held by the allied powers to determine how to proceed in the middle east after the fall of the Ottoman empire. Led by the League of Nations, the predecessor to the United Nations, A series of resolutions were made with the intention of creating autonomous nations from the divided wreckage of the Ottoman empire and attempting to instill peace in the middle east. One of the resolutions passed at the San Remo conference pertained to what we now call the land of Israel. In 1922, the League of Nations would then go on to mandate Palestine. From then on, the British government would oversee mandatory Palestine and begin to work that region into a national home for the Jewish people. This proves two things, first off, the Jews never stole the land, it was in the process of being given to them, and the second thing is that the land wasn’t given to the Jewish people as some sort of gesture of Holocaust guilt. The land had been given to the Jewish people as a means to reshaping the middle east after the death of the Ottoman Empire.

The League Of Nations, and Later the United Nations gave the Jewish people the land of Israel. The land isn’t stolen and the land wasn’t given away in some misguided gesture of guilt. From a declaration in 1917, to a conference in 1920, this had been planned by the governing global body for 31 years. That should be proof on its own that the land isn’t stolen. When you’re fed misinformation, challenge it. Here are the tools, to challenge. The Balfour Declaration is widely available online, this isn’t a secret or something that recently came to light. You don’t have to be Jewish to challenge misinformation about Israel. Challenge misinformation because it is damaging to an entire group of people who seek no ill will and its creates a culture of racism and anti-semitism when unchallenged. In an age of equality, anti-semitism shouldn’t be condoned, especially when it is fueled by misinformation by people who seek to destroy Jewish culture and practises out of blind hatred. Israel is deemed an occupier by those who seek to take Israel from the Jewish people and make it something other than it is while also driving the Jewish people out of land that was lawfully given to them.

Josh Socket is an Educational Intern with Hasbara Fellowships Canada

About the Author
Josh Socket is a recent Ryerson student with a degree in arts and contemporary studies, who has recently returned from working in Jerusalem. From Thornhill woods, a Suburbs of Toronto, Josh went to a predominantly Jewish high school and was a brother of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. Josh Socket is also a fellow with Hasbara fellowships
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