Thursday, January 24, 2008


I am an American, a Jew, and a Zionist. America is my country. I was born in America, have lived here all my life, and have no desire to live anywhere else. I was also born into the Jewish religion and feel comfortable in it. I went into detail about my religious beliefs in an older post, How and Why I believe in God.
Zionism for me is a concern for my relatives and co-religionists who live in Israel, not for shrines of any kind. Although a yearning for a return to Israel has existed in Jewish literature for 2000 years, modern Zionism began with Theodore Herzl in the late 19th Century as an antidote to anti-semitism which still exists in some parts of the world today. Herzl believed that Jews needed a country somewhere where they could go if necessary to escape persecution. The one place that could stimulate enthusiasm on the part of Jews was the ancestral Hebrew homeland between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea in what was then the Ottoman Empire and after World War I the British Mandate of Palestine.
Israel has now existed as a nation state for 60 years (3 generations) and the Jewish community there goes back long before that. That in itself is a justification for Israel's existence. The people there have no other nationality. It's their home.
It was the Arab League that invaded the country in 1948, not the Israelis who were living there already. From 1948 to 1967, the Arabs could have created a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but they didn't. Jordan and Egypt simply occupied and annexed the territories. It was the surrounding Arab countries more than Israel that created the Palestinians' present predicament. Israel offered the Palestinian Arabs a nation which included most of what they wanted under the Clinton/Barak plan, but Yasser Arafat rejected it and started the Intifada.
We can only hope that the present negotiations between Israel and the West Bank will succeed, and that it will demonstrate to the Gaza people the benefits of peace.

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