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by Chris Powell


Much of the world has disparaged Israel's celebration of its 60th year of independence (renewed independence, actually) by claiming, as one Connecticut newspaper columnist did the other day, that the country "was built over the debris of 400 destroyed villages and the sorrows of 750,000 people, both Christians and Muslims, expelled from their land."

Yes, Israel's re-establishment in 1948 had its dislocations, Jews going here, Muslims going there, and Christians caught in the middle. But not all these dislocations were expulsions. And if the whole Middle East is counted, there have been far more expulsions of Jews than of anyone else. In any case complaints about the dislocations in Israel's re-establishment presume that the planet was delivered to humanity straight from the factory with its national borders already marked on it and that the return of Israel was a smudge on the natural order of things. In fact, of course, most of today's national borders were established either by war or colonialism. Some make sense now; many still don't.

Even though its re-establishment in 1948 involved war, Israel can claim far more legitimacy than most countries. For unlike most countries today Israel was re-established by resolution of the international organization, the United Nations. Israel's neighbors refused to accept the U.N. resolution and immediately went to war against the new country, and then twice more, in 1967 and 1973, always to deny Israel's legitimacy. But unlike most nations victorious in war, Israel has either given back or has been looking for safe ways of giving away most of the territory it conquered.

As much as the dislocations arising from Israel's re-establishment obsess certain people today, they are tiny compared to dislocations that are hardly noticed anymore. For example, just a year before Israel's re-establishment, British-ruled India was partitioned, by act of Parliament and consensus among the colony's political classes, into Hindu and Muslim sectors, the former becoming independent India and the latter becoming Pakistan. This partition uprooted about 15 million people and cost about a half million lives, through ethnic violence, expropriation, and exhaustion. The resentments arising from the partition of India endure today and continue to cost as many lives every year as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict does, but no one outside India and Pakistan seems to care.

Of course Europe, where criticism of Israel's anniversary may be strongest, has partitioned itself too many times to count, with peoples and nations pushed north, south, east, and west over the centuries. From Finland down to Yugoslavia –– whoops, Serbia now –– it is impossible to walk more than a few miles without crossing what, within the last 200 years, used to be a national border or without finding a town whose name wasn't different not long ago.

Anyone aggrieved that the areas that are supposed to become the Palestinian homeland –– the West Bank and Gaza –– are separated by 20 miles of Israel might check the map of the Indian subcontinent, where 1,500 miles separate what used to be the two Pakistans (now Pakistan and Bangladesh), or the map of Europe, where Russia's Kaliningrad province is 300 miles from Russia proper, cut off by Lithuania and Latvia.

While Israel, the size of Connecticut, is supposed to return to Syria the Golan Heights, smaller than Rhode Island, China is keeping the vastness of Tibet, which it seized in 1959. And, having made five states out of the territory it seized by war in 1848, the United States won't be returning Alta California to Mexico any time soon.

Traces of vanished, persecuted, dispersed, and murdered aboriginal peoples can be found in practically every country –– that's what Connecticut's Indian casinos are supposed to be about –– but everyone is forgiven except for the Jews, who instead are constantly ducking rocket fire and curses for clinging to their tiny strip along the eastern Mediterranean. Call it tribalism if you want, but that is to be blind to the tribalism that surrounds Israel, a tribalism that, unlike any Israeli tribalism, preaches extinction.

That Connecticut newspaper columnist approvingly quoted a letter written by a hundred anti-Israel British Jews denouncing the country's anniversary: "We will celebrate when Arabs and Jews live as equals in a peaceful Middle East." Of course such equality is to be attempted first not by democratizing Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, or Iran but by erasing the border that protects the smallest tribe so that it falls under the sovereignty of the very nations that drove it out and then three times waged war against it.

Any such peace will be only the peace of the grave –– which has been the idea all along.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Several readers of this article contributed some additional pertinent information.

Stephen Rubin wrote on May 25, 2008 10:19 PM:
" Chris Powell,
What a pleasure it was to read your article entitled "Perfection only from little Israel".

The absolute majority of people in the US and around the world are willing to accept the lies and falsehoods spewed out by the 35 Muslim nations.

There are many of us, who look forward to reading an article, as the one written by you, that doesn't chastise Israel for existing.

The anti-Israel establishment, in and outside of Israel, somehow believes that by "returning" land to these fine Arabs that peace will come.

The wars of '48, '56, and '67 were not begun by the Arabs in order to reclaim "their" lands. There were no lands to "reclaim" at the time.

The Palestinian problem was created by the Muslim-Arab world because they didn't want to deal with these landless people. So they made it an Israeli problem.

8,000 people were thrown out of their homes for the good of peace. Did it help any? They now have control of Jenin, Jericho, Gaza, Nablus, Bethlehem and more.... Are we any closer to peace?

All that is important to these terrorist/murderers is the killing of Jews. Just like Haj Amin el-Husseini who was Hitler's biggest fan in the Middle East, at the time.

I served in the Israeli Army. My son just finished 2 1/2 years of service. My daughter will begin National Service this coming year. My niece is a soldier. When will the day come that all our children and grandchildren won't have to serve? When will the 35 Muslim nations stop trying to throw us into the sea?

I was born and raised in the Nutmeg State. I'm proud to be an American and an Israeli. Hopefully, some day soon, the absolute majority in the world will begin to see the truths of the Middle East. One day, perhaps, anti-semitism and anti-Israel will be things of the past.

Thank you for your words of support.

Raymond in DC wrote on May 27, 2008 10:24 AM:

" Israel's case is even stronger. Beyond the fact that Jews were returning to their ancient homeland, the League of Nations authorized the land west of the Jordan as a Jewish homeland (and, by the way, included the Golan Heights, once known as Northern Galilee) under the Palestine Mandate of July 24, 1922. So it has no lesser legitimacy than Syria or Lebanon (under French Mandate) or Iraq (under British Mandate). Much of the land in Palestine which is claimed to be "stolen" was in fact purchased (cf. Cohen's recent "Army of Shadows").

Powell is correct. Few nations can match the fundamental legitimacy that Israel has.

Danny Benjamin wrote on May 27, 2008 12:02 PM:
" Thanks for your article. I would also like to mention that about 850,000 Jewish refugees (according to the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs) fled their homes in Moslem countries with little more than the shirts on their backs. The world has forgotten these refugees, who, in many instances were persecuted or discriminated against in the lands where they were born and grew up. They were forgotten because they were absorbed, fed, housed and settled by their brothers in Israel. The "Palestinian" problem would not be a problem if the Moslem brethren of the so called Palestinians had not chosen to perpetuate it. "

Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer. Contact him at

This article was published May 24, 2008 in the Journal Inquirer (Connecticut) chris_powell/doc4836e0388eea9564165327.txt


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