I talk about the importance of Jewish identity as the central aspect of this conflict because I believe it is. I believe that Jewish identity consists of a very complex set of factors but that if properly taught and internalized, it will be manifested in how Jews deal with themselves and the world and it will change things.
That brings me to why i’m writing this. Why Israel? You could have had land in Africa – I believe Uganda was proposed. You could have perhaps bought land in America or Canada, although the antisemitism that was here makes me think that was not a possibility.
You returned to Israel because it is your ancestral land, the place in which you can perform the majority of your mitzvot (see I pay attention). Israel is where the soul of your people is. It is your ancestral heartland and it is where you belong.
This idea that someone “gave it to you” is stupid. I am not talking about the religious argument that God gave it to you – there are legitimate sources for that argument. I am referring to people who think that because the western world got together and admitted that horrific crimes had been historically committed against your people and they said that a homeland for the Jews was the right thing to do, somehow they GAVE you Israel.
I want you all to ask some very basic questions.
What did the West, especially Britain actually do?
Aside from Sykes Picot where they opened the door, and the Palestinian mandate where they made promises they didn’t keep, they actually gave away 73% of the land that was set aside to create this Jewish homeland, and then they spearheaded a partition plan that took away more of it. They had an arms embargo against both the Arabs and the Jews but they only enforced it against the Jews. A fact that I am surprised most people do not know is that the Czechs actually supplied the majority of the weapons and material that the Jews fought for their independence with. I have written before that it was an ultimate irony that the Jewish pilots flew German Messerschmitts, against Arabs flying British Spitfires. In fact the British hindered the creation of the very state they opened the door to.
What does the UN actually say?
Before there was the UN there was the League of Nations, and at the San Remo conference they signed the San Remo Accords in 1920, where they decided that in the Levant, there would be a Jewish homeland where the Jewish people would be allowed to build a nation-state on their “ancestral lands.” Now the boundaries were not completely set here, but there were some very specific landmarks mentioned. Also its important to note that under actual international law, UN charter article 80 was very clear in that we cannot change it and that it takes priority over anything written afterwards. You can Google it yourself but basically it says very clearly from the river to the sea, it is Jewish land under international law open to Jewish settlement. By the way, they also created several Arab states during this time period. I don’t see much complaining about Iraq, Jordan and Syria though.
Is it moral?
Absolutely! Israel has treated the Arabs very well. In point of fact, no displaced people has ever been treated as well as the Arabs have been treated by the indigenous Jews who returned and regained control. Israel has made mistakes but it has also made concessions and attempted to make peace at every junction. It is not in fact the Jews who refuse to live in peace. Part of the problem I believe is that the Arabs have realized there is very little in the way of repercussions for poor behavior. They resemble angry toddlers in their attitudes. You have the moral ethical and rational claim stemming from the fact that you are the indigenous people, full stop.
Who are the Arabs?
While some of them are no doubt descended from converted Christians and Jews, the majority are “palestinians” because of the UNRWA making ridiculous guidelines and allowing everyone and their dog to claim refugee status. I believe strongly that the Arabs should have all the rights AND THE OBLIGATIONS of any resident, but until they can prove they are worthy of them, I would be fine with them being conditional citizens. The bottom line is that they are guests, and if they want to stay, it comes at the cost of not being asshats. It is not oppression to make it clear that they cannot keep being poor guests.
Your ancestors bought the land, they fought for it, over and over, they died for it. They are buried there, and everything that makes you Jewish comes from there. It’s really simple, it’s your birthright, and it’s the one place on earth that nobody else can claim.
Why is Jewish identity so important to all this?
Because if you act like white European colonizers , people will believe you are. If you do not manifest the importance of the sacred sites, the ancestral sites and the land itself, people will believe you do not belong. If you act like the land matters, the sacred places matter, the other side no longer has an argument. You fought, you fought when nobody believed you even had a chance, you made the impossible possible, you overcame absolutely insurmountable odds, because your cause was just and you had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Now it’s up to you to decide how important that is. Will you fight to keep it and keep your identity or will you go the way of every other civilization, mostly the ones you outlasted, and slowly fade away?
That’s why Israel and that’s why your identity is so damn important. Nobody can take them away, unless you let them.