March 8, 2007
In which our loyal readers take us to task for various and sundry
(Page 2 - Previous Page)Joseph Gitlin
Like all other Jewish or pro Israel organizations, StandWithUs is working hard to counteract the on going charges against Jews and Israel (Letters, March 2). How good the job they do time will tell.
The definition of Zionism is: "A movement founded by the Viennese Jewish journalist Theodor Herzl, who, in his 1896 book "Der Judenstaat" (The Jewish State) argued that the best way of avoiding anti-Semitism in Europe was to create an independent Jewish state in Palestine, biblically known as Zion-Tzyion. Zionism was named after Mount Zion in Jerusalem, a symbol of the Jewish homeland in Palestine since the Babylonian captivity in the sixth century BCE. The movement culminated in the birth of the State of Israel in 1948. I will go farther and simply define Zionism as the return of the, forever persecuted and discriminated, Jews to their home of over 3,000 years.
I really do not know if one has to justify Zionism. Do Americans justify America, which, to begin with, was never theirs? Does any European country justify its borders that changed and moved again and again as one European nation conquered the other?
Archeological and ancient or more recent books are enough evidence to attach Jews to Israel or the Land of Israel, as we know today and beyond, to Jews. Enough evidence to make the claim that Israel was and is the cradle of Judaism. The land of Israel is not a matter of importance to whom? It is the home Jews were thrown out of and exiled around 2,000 years ago.
So I see no compelling argument when the word Zionists is used. I do however see total horrific misunderstanding of the word that is now used in the same breath or connotation with the word Nazism!
If until the 1970s, they -- who ever the 'they' are -- argued that "Zionism is justifiable because the land was far more important to the Jews than to the Arabs because this land was a 'tiny notch' of the Arab greater homeland," those "they" were terribly mistaken. The land of Israel was never Arab land. The Arabs appeared in the area to work for Jews or seek life-improving opportunities.
The tragedy is that since the Jews were exiled, the land of Israel went through the hands of a chain of conquerors and the land was abused and desolated but belonged to no one. The Jews leaft scattered in the Diaspora, prayed east, dreamed of Israel and their Beit Hamikdash -- their Jerusalem and the Temple, but no real initiative, not another Ezra and Nechemyia rose to bring the Jews back home. Until Herzl, Jews were too tired of being beaten, oppressed and humiliated to pack up and come back home.
The truth to be told is that Jews, in small numbers, always lived in Israel; never left their land.
And when the nations of the world legitimized the State of Israel, the book of doubts should have been closed. Israel was reestablished and Jews returned to their home.
The time has come to stand up and educate the public of the truth! The time has come to know that Zionism is simply the return of Jews to their home!
Side note: When defining Palestine one refers to a region of the eastern Mediterranean coast from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan Valley-Jordan River and from the southern Negev desert to the Galilee lake region in the north. The word itself derives from "Plesheth," a name that appears frequently in the Bible and has come into English as "Philistine."
Plesheth, (root palash) was a general term meaning rolling or migratory. This referred to the Philistine's invasion and conquest of the coast from the sea. The Philistines were neither Arabs nor even Semites; they were most closely related to the Greeks originating from Asia Minor and Greek localities. They did not speak Arabic. They had no connection, ethnic, linguistic or historical with Arabia or Arabs.
Clarifying the Facts
I want to clarify that Jeffery Ellis' essential condemnation of my letter critiquing Aryeh Cohen's criticism of the Iraq war is based on misreading my letter and poor logic (Letters, Feb. 23). I did not claim Abu Nidal was the bomb maker of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. I merely referred to the bombaker after a comma following Abu Nidal (not recalling his name).
Ellis' downsizing of Iraq's threat to the world and Israel and its historical brutality is truly breathtaking in its childlike naivete.
Ellis is in dire need of some History courses, and I don't mean Noam Chomsky's.
His name-calling (right-wing crazies, etc.) only cloaks a glaring deficiency in facts and comprehension of the nature of evil that we face today.
Faith-Based Foreign Policy
In his "analysis" of the current Middle East situation in your March 2 edition ("The Perils of Faith-Based Foreign Policy"), James Besser uses the phrase, much beloved by proponents of the "peace process," that "you make peace with your enemies, not your friends."
Historically, this is true only after the enemies have been totally crushed (i.e., Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan), both sides have exhausted themselves (i.e., Russia and Japan in 1905-06), or one side has decided it's not worth continuing the war (i.e., Britain in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, France in the Algerian War, the U.S. in Vietnam, Egypt after the Yom Kippur War, the USSR in Afghanistan after Gorbachev's accession to power) or a genuine change of heart by one or both sides.
As to Israel and its enemies, Jordan and Egypt decided it wasn't worth continuing the fight, but that could change at any moment due to Hosni Mubarak's death or King Abdullah's assassination. As to Syria and the Palestinians, the latter elected a group (Hamas) sworn to Israel's destruction, and the former is the one through which Iran ships thousands of rockets to Hezbollah to fire at Israel. Just which of these enemies do proponents of the "peace process" think Israel has a good chance of making peace with?