Yisrael Medad
Analyst and commentator on political and cultural issues.

The Hell of the Unworthy Professor Sternhell

Ze’ev Sternhel gets it backwards but still correct when he writes:

After Prime Minister Levi Eshkol’s modest liberalization in 1963, it seemed the days of conquering the land had ended. But the Six-Day War halted the attempts to ratchet down the conquering nationalism and gradually shift to a situation in which tribal particularism could be tamed by the universal principles of democracy.

I have always posited that the 1948 war was but stage one and that the war of 1967 was a continuation of Zionism’s liberation struggle.

That perspective may sound harsh to the “pro-Palestinian camp” but that is the historical reality. Sternhell certainly does his best to besmirch and deprecate Zionism and the intrinsic connection between the Jewish People and the Jewish Homeland, an undeniable fact that even fifty-one member countries – the entire League of Nations – unanimously decided and made into international law on July 24, 1922 as declared:

“Whereas recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.

The territory of this national home was defined in September 1922 – after Britain stole TransJordan as laid out in Article 25 of the “Mandate for Palestine” which entitled the Mandatory to change the terms of the Mandate in the territory east of the Jordan River “temporarily”:

“In the territories lying between the Jordan and the eastern boundary of Palestine as ultimately determined, the Mandatory shall be entitled, with the consent of the Council of the League of Nations, to postpone or withhold application of such provision of this Mandate as he may consider…”

– as so:

On the North it is bounded by the French Mandated Territories of Syria and Lebanon, on the East by Syria and Trans-Jordan, on the South-west by the Egyptian province of Sinai, on the South-east by the Gulf of Aqaba and on the West by the Mediterranean.

So Sternhel’s “claim of colonialism”, if correct, which it isn’t, would define all of the state of Israel, and not only Judea, Samaria and Gaza, as an unworthy project.

Worse, he attacks by applying ‘abnormality’ to Zionism:

all Zionism’s goals had been attained within the existing borders. But even that tiny spark of normalization was obliterated by the great victory of ‘67.

Of course, a little matter of the local Arabs not recognizing, never having recognized and so far, still refusing to recognize any border acceptable to them does not configurate his thinking (and I apply that term hesitantly). And the constant and continuous terror campaign since 1920 until the eve of the 1967 war he convenietnly ignores and hides from his reader(s).

It’s all Israel’s/the Jews’ fault. We took, he implies, what wasn’t ours. The Arabs-who-refer-to-themselves-as-‘Palestinans’ were, he would have us assume, an equal people, with equal political rights, with an equal national heritage and possessed an entity akin to a state. And this is a university professor.

So unworthy. Even hellish.


About the Author
Yisrael Medad, currently is a Research Fellow at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem and Deputy Editor of the English Language Anthology of Jabotinsky's Writings. American-born, he and his wife made Aliyah in 1970. He resides in Shiloh since 1981. He was a member of the Betar Youth Movement World Executive and is a volunteer spokesperson for the Yesha Council. He holds a MA in Political Science from the Hebrew University and is active is many Zionist and Jewish projects and initiatives.