Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Will Palestine be Judenrein?

I will admit a bit of ambivalence (or, possibly, timidity) about this post, as well as several others which I've written, and probably a couple which I haven't.

You see, I really am still, in my heart, a peacenik, especially when it comes to Israel. I've said before (on this blog, I'm sure) that, were I in charge of the world, the Palestinians would have a state tomorrow, living in peace with Israel. Not simply because it's good for Israel (I believe that, in the long run, it is), but because it's right. The Palestinians have suffered greatly through all the conflict, and even though it's fair to discuss who exactly is to blame* among the Palestinians, it's clear that there are many, many among them who have suffered needlessly (if you're about to ask “who?” then I remind you that some very young children have tragically died along the way. At the very least, I hope we can all agree that they didn't deserve it).

*I often say that the leadership is to blame, and the people simply suffer because of the leadership's awful and cynical decision-making. But, that's really a gross oversimplification. The people themselves are largely, by most accounts, virulently anti-Israel and anti-Semitic. Now, you can blame that, to a very large degree, on the constant propaganda and miseducation of the populace, by those same leaders. You can also say that, ultimately, people who support terrorist attacks and genocide have to be held responsible for those views. I think that, in reality, it's terribly circular and confusing, and probably not addressable in this space, right now.

But, quite often (and, it seems, more and more) I come across an article which talks about some deeply disturbing, often horrific insight into the Palestinian world. The peacenik in me doesn't want to talk about it. I don't want to sound like I am ever suggesting that Israel should just steamroll the Palestinian people, and dispossess “these scum.” I don't want to ever say, or imply, that Israel should let off the hook for anything it did, simply because its enemy is so bad. But, at the same time, nothing good can really come from hiding from the truth, and sometimes the truth is ugly.

According to an article in USA Today, the PLO's ambassador to the US has stated that any future Palestinian state should be judenrein“free of Jews.” There should, by law, be not a single Jew living on Palestinian soil. It might be somewhat provocative, but not inappropriate, I think, to use the word which the Nazis used for “Jew free” land. Because, Nazi Germany was the last time there was such a law anywhere in the world*.

*that's what the article says; I actually thought that, at the very least, Saudi Arabia had a similar law. True or not, I don't think it really matters here.

Besides the fact that it is, on its face, disgusting, it's also remarkably, shockingly disingenuous. The ambassador says that the reason for this policy would be that 44 years of occupation requires a separation of these two peoples, in order for the Palestinian people to develop their national identity. But, you can be sure that he wouldn't accept (nor should he) the same argument from the Israeli side—because of 60+ years of conflict, Israel needs time to develop its national identity, and is therefore expelling all Palestinians, or all Arabs. It would be disgusting thing for Israel to even suggest. It's no less disgusting coming from a Palestinian.

Decades ago, Golda Meir said that there would be peace between Israel and the Arabs when the Arabs love their children more than they hated us. I don't think that has changed. There are clearly many, many issues to be resolved, if Israel and the Palestinians (or, Israel and the Arab nations) are ever going to have peace. But, a basic acceptance of Israel's right to exist, of the Jewish people's right to exist, and of our basic human rights simply has to be one of the principles of that peace.

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