FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Europe Should Atone for Its Sins

by

Paris.

Now that the American-monopolized “peace process” has expired, Europe should seize the initiative and try to do something useful for Israelis, Palestinians and peace.

If European states still believe that a decent “two-state solution” is conceivable, several useful initiatives are immediately available. They could support and reinforce the current two-state legality by joining the 134 states which have already extended diplomatic recognition to the State of Palestine. They could also require Israelis seeking visas to visit their countries to produce documentary evidence that they are not resident in occupied Palestine. Most constructively, they could impose economic sanctions on Israel and intensify them until Israel complies with international law and relevant UN resolutions and ends the 47-year-long occupation.

If European states are unwilling to take such initiatives or if they have concluded, not unreasonably, that a decent “two-state solution” is no longer conceivable and that the only issue now is whether the current one-state reality will continue to be an apartheid reality or can be transformed into a democratic one, they should reflect upon their own histories and responsibilities in order to identify the most useful way forward.

The harsh reality is that Zionism is, and has always been, an anti-Semite’s dream come true, offering the hope that one’s own country’s Jews can be induced to leave and move elsewhere.

The British politician Arthur J. Balfour, who gave his name to the fateful 1917 declaration, was an earnest supporter of the 1905 Alien Act, which was specifically designed to stem the inflow into Britain of Jews fleeing from persecution in czarist Russia. Subsequently, in the aftermath of the Holocaust, a wholly European abomination, European governments, as well as those of the United States, Canada and Australia, shamefully brushed aside Arab pleas to treat the resettlement of displaced Jews as a duty and obligation for the whole world and refused to relax their immigration restrictions, thereby forcing most of them to seek to build new lives in Palestine, even though many would have preferred to settle elsewhere.

Rather than continuing to oppose justice, human decency and international law through unquestioning support for an ethno-religious-supremacist, settler-colonial experiment, European states, which are no longer anti-Semitic, could and should be opening their doors wide to any and all Israeli Jews who might be tempted to build a new and better life for themselves and their children, with less injustice and less insecurity, by returning to their countries of origin or emigrating to other countries of their choice, offering them immediate residency rights, generous resettlement assistance and a fast track to citizenship (if they do not already have it).

Such genuine “Laws of Return” would be profoundly philo-Semitic, pro-Jewish and, yes, anti-Zionist. They would reflect a moral, ethical and self-interested recognition that political Zionism, like certain other prominent 20th century “isms” which once captured the imaginations of millions, was a tragically bad idea – not simply for those innocents caught and trampled in its path but also for those who embraced it – which, even if sustainable with Western support, does not deserve to be sustained and which has already caused and, if perpetuated, will continue to cause profound problems for the Western world and its relations with the rest of the world.

Western states like to call for “confidence-building measures” from Israelis, Palestinians and other Arabs without offering any themselves. A multinational initiative to atone for Europe’s past sins against Jews by welcoming Israeli Jews to resettle in European states would constitute a hugely constructive confidence-building measure which should, logically, be opposed only by people who are either anti-Semites or Zionists – or both.

In the land which, until 1948, was called Palestine, democracy and equal rights in a unitary state, coupled with freedom of choice and attractive options for resettlement elsewhere for those who would prefer not to live in such a state, should offer more realistic hope for peace with some measure of justice than continued recycling of a partition-based “peace process” which is widely recognized to have been a cynical exercise in killing time and which, even if “successful”, would simply legitimize, reward and perpetuate ethnic cleansing, racism and apartheid – scarcely a recipe for lasting peace, let alone for any measure of justice.

Old assumptions, including the irreversible “success” of the Zionist experiment, should now be questioned. Even once heretical ideas, including the peaceful rollback of the Zionist experiment – at least in its current, aggressively exclusivist, “nation-state of the Jewish people” form – and its replacement by democracy through voluntary personal choice rather than through violence, should now be considered.

If Western politicians cared more about the welfare and happiness of individual Jewish human beings than they do about the money and ability to hurt them of a few wealthy and powerful Zionists, most of whom live comfortably and safely far from the Middle East, democracy, equal rights and freedom of choice, all principles to which Western states profess devotion, might actually come to the “Holy Land”.

To encourage European states to act, the governments of Muslim states from which Jewish citizens emigrated to Israel could and should issue a new, post-Balfour declaration that their own former Jewish citizens, as well as their descendants, are welcome to return to their countries of origin and publicly call upon European states to follow their example.

John V. Whitbeck is an international lawyer who has advised the Palestinian negotiating team in negotiations with Israel.

 

John V. Whitbeck is an international lawyer who as advised the Palestinian negotiating team in negotiations with Israel.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 28, 2017
Abel Cohen
The Trojan President: America Never Saw It Coming
February 27, 2017
Anthony DiMaggio
Media Ban! Making Sense of the War Between Trump and the Press
Dave Lindorff
Resume Inflation at the NSC: Lt. General McMaster’s Silver Star Was Essentially Earned for Target Practice
Conn Hallinan
Is Trump Moderating US Foreign Policy? Hardly
Norman Pollack
Political Castration of State: Militarization of Government
Kenneth Surin
Inside Dharavi, a Mumbai Slum
Lawrence Davidson
Truth vs. Trump
Binoy Kampmark
The Extradition Saga of Kim Dotcom
Robert Fisk
Why a Victory Over ISIS in Mosul Might Spell Defeat in Deir Ezzor
David Swanson
Open Guantanamo!
Ted Rall
The Republicans May Impeach Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Why Should Trump―or Anyone―Be Able to Launch a Nuclear War?
Andrew Stewart
Down with Obamacare, Up with Single Payer!
Colin Todhunter
Message to John Beddington and the Oxford Martin Commission
David Macaray
UFOs: The Myth That Won’t Die?
Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail