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June 02, 2002
What in the world are we doing?

By James Brooks


If we were fighting the war on terrorism back in 1948, would Israel have been created? Would we have pushed statehood for Israel through the UN against the opposition of many nations, including Britain? Even though the new nation's leaders were self-described 'terrorists' who for years had led vicious attacks on civilians and the British in Palestine and elsewhere in the Middle East? If we were against terrorism back then, would we have stood by as the new Jewish state began massacring Palestinian villages, with the explicit strategy of creating so much terror that the Palestinians would 'simply go away'? Would we have allowed this new Israel to use such tactics to immediately grab a third more land than the UN granted? Would we have allowed these very terrorists to become the leaders of Israel for the next fifty years?

Israel is the result of Zionism, a 19th century idea that Jews and non-Jews must be completely separated for the good of both groups. The Zionist campaign of colonization and conquest began a hundred years ago, when only 10% of Palestine was Jewish. The goal was to emancipate the Jews of the world by colonizing the Promised Land in fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. The Zionist motto, 'A land without people for a people without land', was a lie concocted to obscure the existence of nearly half a million people already living in Palestine, an area about the size of Vermont.

We shouldn't be surprised that these ideas found an eager audience. They were an extreme solution to an extreme problem. The wretched injustice of antisemitism is the deepest stain on the soul of Europe, where Jews have been massacred and persecuted for over a thousand years, and it's a sad part of our American legacy. It took the incredible horrors of World War II to finally wake us up to the depth of our problem. So we can understand why, in 1948, many caring people wanted do as much as possible for any surviving group of Jews.

Convinced of our own virtue (and anxious to have an American client state in the oil-rich Middle East), we did the wrong thing. We signed on to the most extreme, most un-American "solution" possible - segregation and exclusion - and we helped outright terrorists rob a people of its land. To complete the blunder, we brazenly offended the Muslims of the world, who treasure these lands as Holy in their own religion.

This is not the Jewish dream of a return to Jerusalem. It is the nightmare of Zionism, which came to believe that the ends justify the means. And it's alive today, a twisted remnant of another, even darker age. We did not absolve our guilt in 1948; we traded one injustice for another. Now we have a great tragedy, for the Jews, for the Palestinians, and for America. Every year, our tax dollars provide $7 billion to Israel, more than $1,000 for every Israeli man, woman and child, including $3 billion in military aid. What in the world are we doing?

James Brooks

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