Paul Greenberg’s selective history of Israel left out something his readers might find interesting. From the start of the Zionist movement at the end of the nineteenth century, respected Reform and Orthodox Jews opposed the founding of an exclusive Jewish state in Palestine. Besides fearing that a political movement would distort Judaism, they pointed out that a Jewish state would threaten the indigenous Arab population as well as Jews living in other countries. As Judah Magnes, founder of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, put it in 1942, “The slogan ‘Jewish state’ (or commonwealth) is equivalent, in effect, to a declaration of war by the Jews on the Arabs.” The Grand Mufti notwithstanding, Jewish and Arab communities coexisted in Palestine until the Zionist movement was launched and Arabs began to be removed from land they had lived on and worked for generations.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Sent to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today in response to Paul Greenberg's editorial (and probably next syndicated column) on Helen Thomas and Israel: