a Jewish American, I feel it is finally my responsibility to opine on
behalf of my Palestinian sisters and brothers:
Imagine if a group of strangers marched into your home and told you that
you couldn't live there anymore. This is the home that your parents
inhabited; your grandparents bequeathed to them. These strangers told
you that thousands of years ago, their ancestors had populated this
area, albeit for a short while. Now they have come to take what's
rightfully yours and call it their own. When you don't voluntarily
leave, they threaten you with violence. Fearing imminent danger, you
take your children and flee. These people pay you a pittance of the
value of your land without your consent and label you an 'absentee
landlord'. When you return to reclaim your home, your land, the
strangers argue that because you separated yourself from your
belongings, they are no longer yours. Be! cause they have attained the
title to your home and land, you no longer have the right of possession.
This is the story of
- a stolen land taken from the Palestinians.
The Zionist movement was founded on the principle that the Jews deserved
a land; a land that they could call their State; their home but they
would only be able to identify themselves as a wholly Jewish state at
the expense of uprooting an existent civilization, the indigenous Arab
The Jewish claim to
is based! on the existence of a kingdom that
reigned for only 414 years (Beatty, I: Arab and Jew in the
.) The Jewish kingdoms were only one of many
periods of ancient
. There exists the dangerous misconception
that opposition to Jewish occupation stems from anti-Semitism. Tensions
between Arabs and Jews began after Zionist settlers arrived in the 1880s
and had bought land from absentee Arab owners. This led to the d!
ispossession of land that had been cultivated by peasants. In effect,
the Zionists were colonizing Arab land.
The Zionists probably could not have been so successful in their
acquisitions if it weren't for strong support from the British and later
the Americans. The Balfour Declaration was instituted in November 1917
by the British Government to secure a Jewish Homeland in
. It is easy to be skeptical of such a
declaration as it was fashioned by a European power; about a
non-European territory; and completely discounted the presence and
desires of the indigenous majority residents of the territory.
was declared a state in 1948, it owned a bit
more than six percent of the
. The UN charter envisages a peoples' right
to self-determination based upon the democratic requirement of consent
for the majority of the people - the Palestine Arabs had composed a 2/3
majority at that point it time. Thus, the UN Partition of
in 1947 violated its own law.
Since the incept! ion of a codependency between
media has done everything in its power to
taint the struggle of the Palestinians. President Truman stated in 1947
"I am sorry gentlemen, but I have to answer to hundreds of
thousands who are anxious for the success of Zionism. I do not have
hundreds of thousands of Arabs among my constituents" (Pres. Harry
Tru! man, quoted in Anti Zionism, ed. By Teikener, Abed-Rabbo &
Arabs have only responded to an unlawful, undeserved expropriation of
their land. They became refugees in their own villages. Over 750,000
Palestinians became refugees on their own land during the winter of
was not satisfied with its allocation. In
violation of international law,
seized over 52 percent of the land in the
and 30 percent of the Gaza Strip for military use or for settlement by
has an historical record of invading
surrounding countries, and currently occupies Lebanese, Syrian, and
Palestinian territory against international law. It has been Zionist
policy to kill anywhere from 50 to 100 Arabs for every Jewish fatality.
media have never criticized
of inciting the ensuing Islamic
terror. Instead, Israeli soldiers who participate in cruel acts of
torture are labeled "security forces" whereas Palestinians are
all perceived as terrorists.
Currently, violence in the
is as high as it has ever been. Israeli
deaths are reported to us whereas Palestinian losses are dehumanized and
go faceless in our news.
Our unconditional support of
and its practices portray us as
unsympathetic to a robbed people.
Fundamentalist Halacha, or Jewish law, is what is propagating violence -
it condones murd! er in the pursuit of Zionist expansion. Much like
other sects of religious fundamentalism, it is dangerous and should be
feared and mistrusted.
We can no longer sit idly and watch an indigenous population become
dispossessed. It has taken a couple hundred years for Americans to look
at our ancestors with disdain - those who decimated the original
inhabitants of our land - the once thriving American Indians. We still
feel guilt for what our forefathers stole. Will disclosure of facts and
revision of our textbooks in the secular classroom and in the synagogue
someday reveal the truth about
? And will it be too late then?
Jennifer Balkan lives in
and can be found via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer grew up in Short Hills,
and worked her way around the
until finding a permanent home in
where she lives with her husband Jeff and
cat Lotus. She received her B.A. in neuroscience from Lehigh University
in 1992 and later went on to finish a Ph.D. in 2001 in sociology with a
focus in demography. Jennifer completed her dissertation fieldwork in
where she undertook a research project on
rural human migration. Currently she works in
as a demographer during the day and paints
"There's a magnet in your heart that attracts true friends."