The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
So let me see if I have this straight. The anti-Zionists claim that the Jews have no right to the land of Israel because before Israel was re-created in 1948, it had been almost 1,900 years since the last time that the Jews exercised sovereignty over the Land of Israel. And the anti-Zionists claim it is absurd to argue that anyone still has rights to land that was last governed with sovereignty 1,900 years ago.
And on what basis do they argue that the Arabs have some legitimate claim to these same lands? On the basis of the claim that the Arabs last exercised sovereignty over that land 1,000 years ago.
You all with me? Claims that are 1,900 years old are inadmissible. Thousand-year-old claims trump them and are indisputable.
Now let us emphasize that even the thousand-year-old Arab claim is not the same thing as a claim on behalf of Palestinian Arabs. After all, the last time that Palestinian Arabs had sovereignty over the lands of “Palestine” was … never.
It is true that Arabs once exercised sovereignty over parts or all of historic Palestine. There were small Arab kingdoms in the south of “Palestine” already in late biblical days, and they were important military and political allies of the Jews, who exercised sovereignty back then in the Land of Israel. After the rise of Islam, historic Palestine was indeed part of a larger Arab kingdom or caliphate. But that ended in 1071, when Palestine came under the rule of the Suljuk Turks. That was the last time Palestine had an Arab ruler. After that, it was ruled by Ottomans, Mamluks, other Turks, Crusaders, British, and – briefly – French.
In any case, why does the fact that Palestine once belonged to a larger Arab empire make it any more “Arab” than the fact that it also was once part of larger Roman, Greek, Persian, Turkish, or British empires? Now it is true that historic Palestine probably once had a population majority who were Arabs, but today it has a population majority who are Jews. So if population majorities are what determine legitimacy of sovereignty, Israel is at least as legitimate as any other country.
So why exactly do the anti-Zionists claim that a thousand-year-old claim by Arabs who were never ruled by Palestinian Arabs has legitimacy, while a 1,900 year claim by Jews to the land should be rejected as absurd, even though the United Nations granted Israel sovereignty in 1947? The anti-Zionists say it is because the thousand-year-old Arab claim is more recent than the older Jewish claim. But if national claims to lands become more legitimate when they are more recent, then surely the most legitimate of all is that of the Jews of Israel to the lands of Israel, because it is, after all, the most recent.
The other claim by the anti-Zionists is that Jews have no rights to the lands of Israel (historic Palestine) because they moved there from some other places. Never mind that there was always a Jewish minority living in the land of Israel even when it was under the sovereignty of Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Crusaders, Turks or British. Does the fact that Jews moved to the land of Israel from other places disqualify them from exercising sovereignty there? The claim would be absurd enough even if we were to ignore that fact that most “Palestinian Arabs” also moved to Palestine from neighboring countries, starting in the late nineteenth century. But, more generally, does the fact that a people moves from one locality to another deprive it of its claims to legitimate sovereignty in its new abode? Does this fact necessitate the conclusion that they need to pack up and leave, as the anti-Zionists insist?
If it does, then it goes without saying that the Americans and Canadians must lead the way and show the Israelis the light, by returning all lands that they seized from the Indians and the Mexicans to their original owners and going back whence they came. For that matter, the Mexicans of Spanish ancestry also need to leave. The Anglo-Saxons, meaning the English, will be invited to return the British isles over to their rightful original Celtic and Druid owners, while they return to their own ancestral Saxon homeland in northern Germany and Denmark. The Danes of course will be asked to move aside, in fact to move back to their Norwegian and Swedish homelands, to make room for the returning Anglo-Saxons.
But that is just a beginning. The Spanish will be called upon to leave the Iberian peninsula they wrongfully occupy, and return it to the Celtiberians. Similarly the Portuguese occupiers will leave their lands and return them to the Lusitanians. The Magyars will go back where they came from and leave Hungary to its true owners. The Australians and New Zealanders obviously will have to end their occupations of lands that do not belong to them. The Thais will leave Thailand. The Bulgarians will return to their Volga homeland and abandon occupied Bulgaria. Anyone speaking Spanish will be expected to end his or her forced occupation of Latin America. It goes without saying that the French will lose almost all their lands to their rightful owners. The Turks will go back to Mongolia and leave Anatolia altogether, returning it to the Greeks. The Germans will go back to Gotland. The Italians will return the boot to the Etruscans and Greeks.
Ah, but that leaves the Arabs. First, all of northern Africa, from Mauritania to Egypt and Sudan, will have to be immediately abandoned by the illegal Arab occupiers and squatters, and returned to their lawful original Berber, Punic, Greek, and Vandal owners. Occupied Syria and Lebanon must be released at once from the cruel occupation of the Arabs imperialist aggressors. Iraq must be returned to the Assyrians and Chaldeans. Southern Arabia must be returned to the Abyssinians. The Arabs may return control of the central portion of the Arabian peninsula as their homeland. But not the oil fields.
Oh, and the Palestinian infiltrators, usurpers and squatters will of course have to return the lands they are illegally and wrongfully occupying, turning them over to their legal and rightful owners – which would, of course, be the Jews.
Steven Plaut is a professor at Haifa University. His book ‘The Scout’ is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
About the Author: Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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