Judaism - Israel - Palestine - Part III

NOTE:  A Link to the next Part of this writing is at the bottom of the writing and succeeding parts will have a similar link to the next Part at their conclusion.

I am a white, USian Jew, whose family left Germany, Russia and Poland before the rise of Hitler in the 20th century.

There are deeply contrasting narratives related to Israel and Zionism.   It is can be challenging, if not totally impossible, to contend with and be Heard when putting forth the perspective that the Jews are not “owed” Israel because its Jewish biblical history.

Personally, by itself, I find this perspective troubling.  For fellow USians, how do we address Native People in “our country”???

Seriously think about the logic of stating that The United States should be “The Confederation of Native Tribes”.   Those of us who are not accepted as tribal members (the vast majority of U.S. citizens) are citizens (of course), however because we are a Tribal based Nation, we, in reality, own less and less of this country, as Native Citizens reclaim their lands.

Such a concept – would seem absurd and impossible to most, if not all, of us.   We don’t see it as absurd, however, that Israel is a “Jewish Nation”, and that its Palestinian citizens lack various significant rights, such as the rights to enlarge their houses, as well as the rights to live/own in much of Israel.   A Palestinian citizen of Israel effectively can not rent an apartment or house in much of Israel, because the Jewish owner will not rent or sell to them.    This is 100% legal!

Looking at how modern Israel came to be is interesting.

1.   The Jews of Russia and Eastern Europe faced pogroms, other forms of extreme Anti-Semitism, and more,

2.   Do the Jewish People “deserve” a “homeland”?

3.   If so, was/is Palestine their “logical” home? 

4.   Should Israel be a “religious” state welcoming any/all Jews as “automatic” citizens (if they choose to emigrate)?

5.   If Israel should be a religious state, What about the Palestinian People?

Historically, I look at:

1.   Palestine

2.   The United States (as well as Canada perhaps)

3.   Most of Africa, Asia and Latin America

4.   Western and Eastern Europe and Russia.

The key questions I would look at relate to Palestine and how Israel is in relation to the other three areas noted above.

The land of the U.S. and its territories has been stolen from its Native Peoples.   We have violated virtually all, if not all, treaties.   We have never apologized for our appropriation, acknowledged it, nor have we even begun to repair the harm caused.

In much of the remainder of the world (besides Europe and Russia), the patterns have been similar.   Enslavement, extraction of natural resources and other exploitation existed and often still exists.

Wealthy and powerful white people are exploiting BIPOC in the U.S.  The powerful are also often using their less powerful brethren as the “enforcers”.   Poor white people were the strongest supporters of pre-1865 U.S. slavery.     Less powerful white people continue to support racist messages.   They are allies of the wealthy who spew messages of fear.   Christianity is often weaponized.

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Russia, Europe and Palestine are interesting and often different.  Russia had oppressive leadership prior to 1917.   Anti-Semitism pitted much of the blame on Jews for the oppression.   Eastern Europe also had discrimination and exploitation of its Jews.

Western European Jews had both similarities and differences.   My paternal grandfather sold his bank to Deutsche Bank in 1904.   His second oldest son received his PhD from The University of Koenigsberg in 1903.  He was immediately recruited to NYC by The Jewish Theological Seminary.   In 1926 my grandfather Moses Marx was recruited from Berlin to Cincinnati to become the Chief Cataloger at Hebrew Union College’s library.

It is also true that other Western European well-educated Jews were limited by Anti-Semitism.   Elite U.S. universities had quotas to limit their percentages of Jewish students.  Their faculties were mainly the white, male Protestant elite.

After World War I tiny U.S. Government quotas stopped the influx of non-wealthy immigrants from Europe and elsewhere.

Prior to World War I, the U.S. was often a haven for other (white) immigrants.  The Irish had been poor, and had better opportunities in the U.S. starting with the great Potato Famine.   Sicilians were the “throw-aways” for the wealthy of Italy, helping build up white America.

In the U.S. our oppression of the “less fortunate” has repeated itself over and over and over again.   Slavery, though most significant, was far from the only oppression of working people.

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Palestine was the place to “solve the (Anti-Semitism based) problem” for Europe and Russia – exporting large numbers of the victims.

Unfortunately, the less powerful vast majority of The Native People were exploited and largely ignored.

1.   Why are we, the Jews, “The Chosen People”?  

For me, if so, we are “chosen” - to support liberation and social justice for those of the rest of the world, not (solely) for us – as Jews.

2.   “Never Again” – means two (often) mutually exclusive things!

a.   For many Zionists – the issue is limited to the European Holocaust.

b.   For me – and for my allies – “Never Again” – means that we will strongly oppose the murdering of the innocent people of The World, not The Jewish World.

Similarly –  (to be later on discussed in detail) –

“From The River to the Sea” – for me and for my allies – means Justice – a Just Peace – for the Palestinian People.   This contrasts with the often common vision of such words calling for our Annihilation as Jews.  

The fears of Jews (and others sharing such views)  are comparable to the fears of white USians, that Black People will avenge racism, if Racism is (ever) ended.

Most Palestinian People have little or no desire to avenge the oppression that they have faced from the Israeli Government and its Jewish citizenry.

Most Black People have little or no desire to avenge slavery and racism and to kill or oppress white people.

Where – the oppressed – seek Revenge – it generally only comes from – having No Other Options.  The Palestinian People have tried and tried and tried and tried to get basic rights in Israel, as well as in The West Bank and Gaza.

Hamas and what Hamas has done, both historically, and on October 7, 2023, can be understood, if not approved of.   Hamas has recently killed, at the most, roughly 1200 people on October 7th and several hundred, perhaps, since then.

The deaths of these Israeli Jewish People are often not compared to the deaths of far, far more Palestinian People by the Israeli Government and its Jewish citizens.   In comparing this, we should not only look at October 7th through the present.   The Palestinian People have consistently faced this oppression since 1948, as well as prior to then.

More will follow beginning in Part IV of this writing.

I would suggest that readers of this writing – watch Peter Beinart (Jewish Currents)’s January 19, 2024 interview of Rashid Khalidi - This Moment in Palestinian History  on YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EDypq6cKDM

I think that most readers will find Khalidi to be fair, as well as kind and caring.  Some may disagree with some of what he says.  

Part IV continues from here

https://www.georgemarx.org/2024/01/judaism-israel-palestine-part-iv.html

 

 

 

 

 

  

 


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