Rose: Nakba was natural outcome of foundational messianic ideology of Jewish stateby Philip Weiss
May 20, 2010
I’m thinking about the Nakba a lot today. The Nakba is the core event of Palestinian history, just as the great identity event of Jewish history in recent time is the Holocaust. Until the Nakba is understood as the direct cost of the foundation of Israel in the spring of 1948; until the foundational myths of Israel that we Jews and Americans celebrate are revised to acknowledge the ideology of expulsion, there will be no peace. I am confused by the right of return, in terms of a historical injustice/you can’t live in the past; but there are some historical injustices that don’t go away for a reason.
The New York Times has done great work on the pedophilia scandal in the Catholic church; and many of those crimes are ancient ones. They resonate today because they were never addressed, and they speak to core power imbalances in the Catholic church.
The core power issues in Israel/Palestine are that one side has had more power, continually; and the world’s recognition of this ongoing injustice in the occupied territories has inevitably exhumed (for non-Palestinians; Palestinians grew up knowing about the Nakba) the centrality of this historical injustice: that the creation of the Jewish state, though celebrated by my people, went against the wishes of the majority of the people in the land.
Yes many Palestinians have come to accept Israel, but on what terms? Jeffrey Goldberg himself understands that once you open the door to Palestinian opinion, Palestinian understanding of history, you are opening the door on the foundational myths of Israel. As he challenges Peter Beinart, who has questioned the religious attachment to Jerusalem, “[without the religious attachment] Shouldn’t it [Israel] have been built in Bavaria?” Good question. 
Well that is a long intro to Jacqueline Rose in her fine book of 2005, The Question of Zion. As you read her exhumation, remember that Arabs had outnumbered Jews in historical Palestine by about 2 to 1 before 1948; and after the creation of Israel and the Nakba, Jews far outnumbered Palestinians, especially inside the expanded borders of the new state.

“The return to Zion and to the Bible is a supreme expression of the rebirth and resurgence of the Jewish people,” he [Ben-Gurion] proclaimed in an address delivered in Jerusalem in 1950, two years after the creation of Israel, “and the more complete the return the nearer we will come to full political and spiritual salvation.”…
At moments in Ben-Gurion’s language, ingathering appears as the ultimate goal, not just the means to the creation of the state but its most fundamental raison d’etre: “The promotion of Jewish immigration is not only a central task of the Jewish State–but the essential justification for its establishment and existence.”
We know of course what “ingathering” means. “We must create a Jewish majority in the Land of Israel in the next twenty years.” “There can be no stable and strong Jewish state so long as it has a Jewish majority of only 60 percent.” [both quotes are from Ben-Gurion.]
In 1931 [Chaim] Weizmann was forced to resign from the presidency of the Zionist Congress after giving an interview to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in which he said that there was no need for a Jewish majority in the Land of Israel: “I have no understanding of and no sympathy for the demand for a Jewish majority in Palestine. Majority does not guarantee security, majority is not necessary for the development of Jewish civilisation and culture. The world will construe this demand only in the sense that we want to drive out the Arabs.”
…In fact, Weizmann had been one of the strongest advocates of transfer of the Arabs as a way of securing the Jewish identity of the state. Ingathering and expulsion are two sides of the same coin–only the Jews must increase.
 “The Zionist enterprise so far.. has been fine and good in its own time, and could do with ‘land-buying,'” wrote Joseph Weitz, director of the Jewish National Land Fund from 1932, in a diary entry of December 19, 1940, “but this will not bring about the State of Israel; that must come all at once, in the manner of a Salvation (this is the secret of the Messianic idea); and there is no way without transferring the Arabs from here to the neighbouring countries, to transfer them all.”

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