I'll delurk and bite at your thread.
> This is an odd ideological jag, at cross-purposes with itself. The point of
> Collective Guilt was to blame the Germans for the Holocaust and justify
> unique retribution against that country by the victors.
How would someone justify the Israelis' opposition and pressures on the American policy makers not to recognize the massacres against the Armenian people such as when the pro Isreal lobby took steps to keep congress from recognizing the Armenian genocide. Similarly a BBC documentary on the Turkish slaughter of Armenians was dropped from Isreali television because the idea that Jews are the only people to ever suffer a genocide is a central element in the ideological justification for Zionism. The holocaust was a brutal slaughter of world historic significance but it in no way justifies the creation of a settler state exclusively for Jews in Palestine. a key element of zionism is that Jews are Gods chosen people, that the suffering of Jews is special and subsequently justifies any and all oppression of Arabs by Jews. On one hand anti-semetism is a very real phenomenon and yet, the charge of anti-semetism is also used as an ideological subterfuge to justify any and every autrocity by the state Isreal.
> A more general statement of generic hostility to Jews already had a label --
> it's called Anti-Semitism. The idea that Jews needed their own state was
> not justified by the Holocaust; the idea was already over fifty years old
> and was justified by millenia of genocide, discrimination, pogroms and
> wholesale expulsions. The Holocaust merely played an ideological reminder
> role for the Zionists to use just as decolonization put real estate into
> play on the international scene.
It is true that the idea for a Jewish state existed prior to the WW2 but not as an outcome of autonomous national development. British imperialist interests were threatened by the growing Arab nationalism in the region and they needed an agent in the region to help them protect that interest. furthermore, fifty years before The holocaust the Jews constituted less than 7% of the total population of Palestine which makes no sense to say that there was a mature development of nationalism and an idea of Jewish statehood. The holocaust and the sufferings of the jewish people were used by the Zionist leaders to attract Jews to Palestine and use them as a force for the imperialist interests. David Ben Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, himself refused to save tens of thousands of Jewish people from the holocaust because their demographic characteristics did not suit his need for an army. So old, very young, handicapped, and even women were left to die in the gas chamber because Ben Gurion did not see them as good jews [see the Israeli new Historian Tom Segev on Ben Gurion and the Holocaust].
Also, the post WW1 and WW2 decolonization process was a rearrangement of world geopolitics according to core Imperialist's states interests. There is no meaning in talking about a Jewish state in Palestine as a historical outcome of local factors fifty years prior to the holocaust. The Zionist second and sixth congresses suggested Uganda and Argentina as a location for the Jewish state. That is an acknowledgment that Jews have no special claim on the territory of Palestine, either historically or religiously (which is just asinine anyway) Although I do not see the relevance for historical or religious claims in the conflict but both the UN 181 resolution you cited and the first zionist plan [as seen in Hiem Waizman's Trial and Error] included the areas with rich resources [e.g., water]as a location for the Jewish state. This contradicts the religious claims because it give the Jews the areas they do not claim as holy for them [the north and south of palestine] and gives the west Bank, Gaza, other areas to the Arabs where the Jews claim that David's kingdom existed. Waizman, the first Israeli Chairman and a zionist founder, did not care about Hebron or Jerusalem, but negotiated with the British on the Litany River of Lebanon to be part of the suggested Israel.
>That a bunch of Arab groups had been on the wrong side of World War II
>just added to the force of the argument at the time (and remember that
>the 1948 UN vote was amazing lop-sided in the Zionists' favor).
Arabs in the Middle east and North Africa account for almost 300 million people. Only the Zionists willingness to be used as an agent of British and later American Imperialism resulted in Palestine as the location for the state of Isreal. Much bloodshed would have been spared if European Jews had migrated to the U.S. following WW2. It is as if you are saying that 300 million arabs are in the middle east by mistake while 4 million Jews are there by historical necessity. The creation and growth of the state of Isreal has caused the death of 110,000 Palestinians and the ethnic cleansing of over 1.3 million people since 1947 [see this Israeli source Benny Morris :The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem. 1987. Oxford].
> Of course, Jewish brutality against its internal Palestinian minority has
> just demonstrated why Collective Guilt is silly; any majority group turns
> brutal and nasty when it is either dominated by ideological/religious
> fanatics and/or has external pressures that leave the population fearful and
> vulnerable to demagogic racist appeals.
Isreal is an explicitly Jewish State! Isreal is also a militarized police state with citizenship and law based upon explicitly religious and ethnic categories. At least 97% of Isreali's are "dominated by ideological religious fanatics." The only Isreali's excluded from this are the tiny smattering who actively oppose their own state by defending Palestinians in Isreali courts, providing prisoner support and other activities.
> Not to start a whole other thread (although it inevitably will), I do think
> the Left ideological opposition to Israel's existence (as opposed to
> opposition to its brutal actions) has large streams of Anti-Semetism
> associated with it. The justification for why Jews don't deserve their own
> state as much as any other nationality has always seemed weak to me.
First, this is false on purely semantic grounds. If you want to play the ethnic origin game (which is dangerous in and of itself) almost any arab is more "semetic" than jews who have lived in Europe for a thousand years and have intermarried and procreated with many "non-semetic" peoples. Palestinians in Isreali prisons (frequently held without charge or trial in administrative detention for years) have lived in the region longer and ironically speak Hebrew better than many Isreali guards (who are frequently recent migrants from Russia). The zionist's propaganda machine works exactly by confounding anti-Semitism with Anti Zionism.
How can you seperate Isreal's hypothetical existence from Isreal the real material political and economic entity? Isreal isn't an abstraction that hangs in the air. The term Historical rights" should not mean who was there first as it is commonly understood by nationaists of all stripes, but rather the actual role of each party in the conflict. Israel proved that it can only play an oppressive role not only in the region but also in the world. Israel's allies have always been reactionary former colonizers and imperialist forces and its enemies were and are always national liberation movements all over the world. The affinity between Isreali and South African apartheid was matched by excellent political and economic relations between the South African Apartheid regime and Zionists. The emerging cozy relationship between Turkey, with its war against Kurds and Isreal is further evidence of the deeply reactionary nature of the state of Isreal. The best evidence of Isreal's reactionary role in the region is its treatment of Palestinians both within Isreal and in the occupied territories. Palestinians are denied access to water (Isreali's use ten times more water than Palestinians), access to land (Palestinians systemically can't get building permits and have their houses destroyed to make room for Isreali settlements in the territories and inside Isreal itself), access to transportation (the roads connecting settlements in the territories have been largely designated for settler and soldier use only), economic in-puts (most of which must be bought exclusively from Isral at exhorbinant prices), lack of jobs inside Isreal(Palestinians serve as low wage semi-proles in the Isreali economy), and exclusion from Isreali markets for Palestinian agricultural and manufactured goods. The denial of even any semblance of civil and democratic rights for Palestinians in the occupied territories should be final proof that Isreal is an apartheid regime. A struggle for the abolition of the state of Isreal is progressive.
> The argument that the Palestians were already there fails, since plenty of
> groups have lost nation-state control to later migrants. And there were of
> course plenty of Jews in the Middle East long before 1948;
Nathan your "since plenty of groups have lost nation-state control to later migrants" evinces a nonchalance towards the brutality of history I seriously doubt you would maintain if repression in the former socialist bloc was the topic. History does hurt, but that shouldn't keep us from choosing sides. Palestinians in Palestine and The neighboring Arab countries by far out number the Israeli Jews. The recent migration of Russian Jews is in large part an attempt by Isreal to counteract the population growth of Palestinians, who have one of the world's highest birth rates, thus Isreali citizenship and migration policy isn't just unfortunate and tangential but instead is central to the expansionist project of a greater Isreal. In something like 50 years there will be twice as many Palestinians in Palestine as there are Jews in Isreal. Contrary to zionist claims Palestine was not empty prior to the establishment of the state of Isreal and the near future will be characterized by a tiny minority of Jews with significant resources and a huge population of Palestinians living in grinding poverty and rapidly deterriorating ecological conditions. Palestine is an exemplary case of systemic underdevelopment at the hands of Isreali development. There were NOT plenty of Jews in Palestine prior to 1948. when the state of Israel was first established the Jews were only 600,000 while 900,000 Arabs were forcibly expelled. if you add the number of Arabs in the middle east to whom the Palestinians belong as a nation the Jews will never be plenty. the Jews never exceeded 12% before the expulsion of the Palestinians, and the difference was that the British laws facilitate the Jewish immigration, economic development, armament, and did exactly the opposite to the Palestinians. The state of Isreal was created as an instrument of Anglo-American Imperialism and persists to this day only with enormous economic and military assistance from the U.S. Support for the state of Isreal is support for a racist apartheid regime and U.S. Imperialism.
Sean Noonan seanno at ksu.edu