Zionism Has Reached the End of the Road
If it is a movement of national liberation, then liberation has been achieved, and it is impossible to go on being liberated forever.
Ten days after declaring Israel’s independence, David Ben-Gurion said at a May 24, 1948 meeting of the Haganah’s general staff: “We must immediately destroy Ramle and Lod. ... We must organize Eliyahu’s brigade to direct it against Jenin in preparation for the Jordan Valley. ... Maklef needs to receive reinforcements and his role is the conquest of southern Lebanon, with the aid of bombing Tyre, Sidon and Beirut. ... Yigal Allon must attack in Syria from the east and from the north. ... We must establish a Christian state whose southern border will be the Litani [River]. We will forge an alliance with it. When we break the strength of the [Arab] Legion and bomb Amman we will eliminate Transjordan too, and then Syria falls. And if Egypt still dares to fight, we will bomb Port Said, Alexandria and Cairo.”
Yes, that was Ben-Gurion, not Napoleon Bonaparte. He promised at the same time: “That is how we will end the war – and make a reckoning of our forefathers with Egypt, Assyria and Aramea.”
By the way, some of these “promises” were fulfilled some time later. During Operation Horev in December 1948, Israel captured Egyptian territory, and withdrew only after the British Air Force intervened. In 1967 Israel, as is known, was under existential threat, but after the Six-Day War it tripled its territory.
So why do things look different? Haim Margaliot Kalvarisky, a central figure in the Zionist movement, wrote in 1937: “It turns out that we have put out our hand for peace, but took it back right away, when the other side expressed its interest in accepting it. This dangerous game did not help to raise our honor in their eyes as honest people, and the accusation that they blame us for, that we are conducting two-faced politics: On one hand we pretend as if we are asking for an agreement, and on the other hand we only want to gain time – is not baseless.” (Taken from Aharon Cohen’s book, “Yisrael Ve’ha’olam Ha’aravi” [“Israel and the Arab World”], published in Hebrew in 1964.)
This is Zionism for those observing from the sidelines. After all, if the Zionist aspiration was the establishment of a national home for the Jews, it was possible to do everything so the harm to the Palestinians would be minimal; but the dominant leaders of the Zionist movement thought in terms of empire.
So the time has come for some courageous soul searching. After all, if Zionism is a movement of national liberation, then liberation has been achieved, and it is impossible to go on being liberated forever. If Zionism has come to redeem the land, then the Arabs no longer have room for a cemetery. If Zionism is a movement for ingathering of the exiles, then to continue with this enterprise we must establish a global conversion operation.
Zionism has reached the end of its road, both inside Israel and in the region. After all, it is impossible to continue to act with a colonial mentality towards Israel’s Arab citizens: To rob them of a dunam here and a dunam there. Zionism has gone bankrupt in the region too. The war of Armageddon is going on around us, and no one there acknowledges the Jewish state with even a single look of hatred. At a time when all the prophecies of fury are coming true – the rise of fanatical movements and chaos spreading throughout the region – no one there is thinking about Israel. Not about Haifa and not about Jaffa. Only Benjamin Netanyahu bothers to remind the Palestinians: Nu, what about Jaffa?
Across the border, Bashar Assad has not involved Israel in the war raging in his country, and the forces fighting there do not relate to Israel. The Islamic State in Sinai acts against Egyptian forces and shows no great interest in Israel. In truth, the Arab world has chutzpah! It plays by itself, and does not want to let Israel join the game for which it has been preparing itself for generations.
Zionism has a bad name among Arabs not because it espoused the establishment of a national home for the Jews. After all, “national home” was the excuse for implementing grandiose regional plans, which had no connection whatsoever to a national home.
Examine yourselves courageously.