Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Finkelstein and Morris debate

You should watch this debate (too much of which is two people talking at the same time) to hear Norman Finkelstein, with his usual laser-beam use of facts, go against Benny Morris by quoting Morris' own writings. Morris attempts to throw up a barrage of noise and largely succeeds.

History undeniably shows that Israel is a theft of Palestinian land, acknowledged by the leaders of Zionism and documented by Morris in his books on the history. It was never a case of Jews asking to be allowed to come to Palestine and participate in a society with equal rights for all. Instead, it was a planned effort to expel the residents and replace them for the exclusive residence of Jews.

With this in mind, it is not surprising that Israel doesn't want to look at history before 1967 at the earliest, because that brings the whole concept of Israel itself into question and undeniably supports the right of return of the residents that were expelled in the formation of the state and the drive leading up to it. To Israel, there was a vacuum before 1948 and there continues to be a vacuum in the occupied territories where non-Jews can be swept aside without qualm.

This is why the future of Israel as a Jewish state is dim - it requires continuing injustice to add to what has occurred up to the present time. Israelis can rationalize what they have done, but it requires refusal to see the equality of the Arabs they expelled. It is by definition exceptional and arrogant. Always expect Israel to put the spotlight on two places in time: the present and a mythological link to 2000 years ago. What has happened in Palestine in the meantime is dismissed as irrelevant. Only Israelis can say with a straight face that the expelled have no rights whatever. Looking at the world with such blinders to reason has no future, but the very country that should be first to oppose it, the United States, is the only one doing everything it can to extend it. Zionism is wrong, but as long as something has political and financial power, right or wrong don't mean much.

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