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John Chuckman



‘The creation of the state of Israel was fundamentally wrong’

 I know The Independent is trying to be quite provocative here, but the truth is, there is nothing wrong with Livingstone’s statement. It is not hateful, it is painfully accurate.

Many, many thoughtful people have said more or less the same thing.

It has absolutely nothing to do with anti-Semitism.

It is simply a reflection of all the misery and turmoil Israel, as a state, has generated since 1948.

Albert Einstein himself – often called a Zionist – had a highly qualified view of Israel. He liked the idea of displaced Jews finding homes in the Holy Land, but wrote very forcefully against the kind of state we have seen emerge, one governed only for the benefit of Jews and with a powerful army. He was strongly against that happening.

One of the leading early Zionists, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, established a terrible principle called “the iron wall” which was completely adopted by re-created Israel. The principle is that Jews should show only an iron wall to their neighbors in the Middle East.

How can anything good come of that? Well, it cannot, and it hasn’t.

Had Israel been founded along lines Einstein advocated, the whole story might well have been different, but it did not. It adopted “the iron wall” and has treated its neighbors pretty much with contempt, and nearly endless aggression, since 1948.

The Six Day War, we know from various historical sources including blunt observations from de Gaulle, was deliberately created by Israel. It had calculated and knew that it could win handily against divided and poorly-led Arab states enticed into war. There were a whole series of provocations laid out, and Israel got just what it wanted in terms of land, and the Arabs were left looking like failed aggressors against poor little David. It was a military and propaganda triumph.

The results are what we see today: millions living as prisoners with no rights or future, slow-motion depopulation of the captured territories in favor of new owners, the outright theft of people’s homes and farms week-in and week-out, the disruption of ancient life patterns through walls (built on other people’s land) and countless barriers, the theft of many other resources such as oil from Syria’s Golan Heights or gas from a seabed which should belong to Gaza, theft of precious water supplies through many diversions and projects, and a very great deal more.

How can that kind of state behavior ever produce peace or anything else good? Of course it cannot. It is not meant to do so.

The truth is Israel is not even a very good place for many Jews in which to live. It is an awfully inefficient economy, always heavily subsidized. Prices are terribly high. It is difficult to afford a home. Good jobs are not plentiful. You must see your children in the army, and enforcing the ugliness of the occupation. And you must accept all the noise and ugly violence that goes on. The wealthy class in Israel, many or most of whom are dual-citizens, do very well and are safe in the idea they can easily migrate if required or desired.

Israel has attacked every neighbor that it has, some numerous times. It is always making threats, as against Iran, and the threats are unwarranted because Iran has attacked no one in its modern history and does not threaten Israel. Various modern leaders have demanded American attack every place from Iraq to Iran, and they very much got their way in Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Likely a million have died, and for what?

Well, in the end, re-created Israel is a fact, even if a mistake, and the world can accept it if only it can play by the rules, return to the Green Line, and live in peace with its neighbors. This is the view of people like Uri Avnery whom I support. But voices like his are extremely rare in Israel. So what hope is there ever to see peace and progress with dark figures like Netanyahu or Sharon? None.

Israel will only respond to pressure from Western states, and that is why it is completely right to criticize and try to alter the political environment which allows Israel’s bloody excesses to flourish. It is not anti-Semitism, it is human decency, and I am sure most Jewish people really understand that but feel fearful of saying so.

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