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"It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell." Buddha
For much of the world, Zionism is associated today with racism and apartheid. That certainly was not always the case. In the context of 19th century European imperialism, where it had its origins, Zionism was totally benign.
Zionism's original idea was to "heal" the Jewish people of the deformations caused by centuries of Diaspora wandering. Heal them by renewing their contact with the land.
Zionism's foundational idea was for Jews to become farmers and artisans. But you could say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, because they certainly picked the wrong neighborhood to put it into practice.
The Zionist movement began with anything but the "ethnic cleansing" now in relentless progress.
In the days before antibiotics had brought down infant mortality in hot countries, with the subsequent population explosion, Ottoman Palestine, although not "empty," was nothing near as populated as today.
The Turkish empire was tottering on its last legs and most of the land that early Zionist pioneers acquired was owned by absentee landlords, who lived in Istanbul. Buying their land was easy and Baron Rothschild helped finance the first colonies. In Jewish families of that period Zionism was the sort of flaky thing that your wife's younger brother was involved in. And so it remained until the 1930s.
The horrible irony of all this is that it was Adolph Hitler that really put Zionism on the map for well-meaning and powerful gentiles... again within the totally eurocentric context of the day, the idea that in compensation for the German-led Holocaust, the Jewish people should be given Arab Palestine instead of Baden Würtenberg seemed to make sense.
Now, it looks like Israelis have painted themselves into a dreadful corner, one where they are forced to do a dozen evil things before breakfast just to keep their lead balloon of a country afloat. So much for being a light unto the nations.
Believe me, this is not just a Palestinian tragedy... it is taking the Jewish people, who, with all their Nobel prizes, brains, initiative, talent and soul, are an ornament of humanity, and bending them all out of shape. You might say that their "inner Albert Einstein" is in danger of being overpowered by their "inner Bugsy Siegel".
The real change that has taken place in the world since Theodor Herzl was inspired to create the Zionist movement, is the emancipation, self-awareness and the empowerment of the heretofore humiliated, subordinate and invisible... the process whereby "colored people" become "people of color" called anti-imperialism.
Israel itself is a projection of Europe's sins and problems onto a region which had never organized pogroms and where Jews had lived in peace for centuries. (I understand that Iraq's Jewish community, for example, dated back some four thousand years).
Ironically, a product of eurocentrism, Israel, created to be the homeland of the persecuted and downtrodden, is the last bastion of the "white man's burden" left standing.
In the world of "Arab Springs", Israel's case is like the slogan of Sam Peckinpah's classic, "The Wild Bunch"... "they came too late, they stayed too long". They, of all people, should know better. DS
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.