Power & Market

The Alienation of a Homeland: How Palestine Became Israel

The Alienation of a Homeland:  How Palestine Became Israel

From The Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. V, No. 4 (Fall 1981):

In the United States the right of Israel to exist is taken for granted almost apriori, and the query of who justly owns the land has never really been seriously debated. When the United Nations declared Zionism to be a form of racism, the U.S. threatened to “take its marbles and go home,” but excluded from the public forum in America was substantial dialogue over whether the U.N. declaration was actually well founded. For a variety of reasons, including ethnic preference, religious prejudice, the Zionist lobby, and the needs of U.S. imperialism, many Americans assume Israel’s exist- ence as a categorical imperative. Yet if a comprehensive Middle East settle- ment is ever to appear on the horizon, it will require assessment of the pre- cise nature of Palestinian rights, and the opportunity must not slip by because of an ostrich-like refusal to face the historical facts regarding the manner in which Palestine became Israel.


Menachem Begin’s adage during his Irgun terrorist days that “we fight, therefore we are,” which is applied to justify subsequent Israeli conquests, assumes the ad baculum fallacy that might makes right; but certainly the same existential reasoning would demonstrate the legitimacy of the P.L.O.’s guerrilla infrastructure, including Yassir Arafat’s &Fatah, George Habash’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and other fedayeen organizations, especially insofar as their attacks on Israel are successful. When not basing Israel’s right to exist on its ability to wage victorious wars against Arabs, Begin vindicates Israeli expansion by Jehovah’s gift in perpetuity of Eretz Israel to the Jewish settlers, and thereby designates seized Arab land as “liberated” rather than “occupied.” Yet international law, which views all people equally, eschews claims to territory based on theological presumptions, and it is grotesque to rationalize conquest and genocide by appeals to a higher Being which allegedly designates a privileged group as a chosen or master race. As for the Jews’ right to “return” to Israel because they populated the area two thousand years ago, this reasoning would vindicate much more strongly the right of Palestinian Arabs to return to their homeland of only thirty years ago.

Read the full article in The Journal of Libertarian Studies

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