In today’s Ha’aretz, Merav Michaeli has written a most engaging op-ed on the occasion of Israel’s 63rd Independence Day. She focuses in particular on the Orwellian “Naqba Law,” which bars public funds for any organization that marks the Palestinian tragedy that was part and parcel of Israel’s creation.
“…after 63 years, Israel is unable to recognize that no matter how necessary and justified its establishment was, it was accompanied by wrongs and pain inflicted on others.”
For me, this defines so much of what we deal with today, and it is precisely this sentiment that tends to rub activists of both sides (with a good number of exceptions, to be sure) the wrong way.
The establishment of Israel came after decades of conflict. When I look at the history of the early days of Zionist settlement, I want to weep for all the time that a change in attitude on either side might have changed the tragic course of the history of Palestine.
European settlers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries brought with them the European attitude of superiority. The presence of this sentiment was unavoidable in Palestine, an area of the Ottoman Empire whose upkeep was not a priority in Istanbul at the time.
Yet the hysterical reaction throughout the Arab world to early Zionist settlement ignored both the historical connection that the Zionists awoke in some Jews and, much more importantly, the very real persecution most of them were fleeing in Europe. Continue reading