“I will concede your point,” say some of the more moderate pro-“Palestinian” debaters (invariably two-staters, and regarding themselves “both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine”), “that the Palestinians as a nation are no older than 60 years; however, after 60 years, don’t you think they now are a real nation, if only because of the circumstances, and deserve to be treated as one, if only because they self-identify as such?” This position is slightly charitable, though naïve (it glosses over the totality of the “Palestinian” demand, viz., their unwillingness to settle for the 1967 territories) as well as parochial (viewing the Israel/“Palestine” conflict for itself, instead of the particular part of the global Islamic jihad that it is). To its holders’ credit, they are merely wrong, and not malicious as are the advocates of the Binational Solution.
There are two arguments here as to what makes nationhood:
- Circumstance: that has made the “Palestinians” a nation just as the aftermath of the Korean War has given rise to two new nations, the South Korean nation and the North Korean nation, from a single Korean one.
- Self-identification: if a group of people call themselves a nation, then they are one.
The first argument is a pragmatic argument. Because it is such, it has a pragmatic counter-argument: circumstances can be changed, reversed, undone and otherwise rendered irrelevant. More than 40 years of a Germany divided into West and East, similar to the situation of Korea, may well have created two new German nations, but no one ever argued that that state was to be continued after the unification. After such a long time, it is inevitable that there should be difficulties in healing the rifts, yet no one has said, “Because of the great difficulties in turning the West Germans and East Germans back into a unified German nation, the two will have to be considered two separate nations, permanently”.
One of the hallmarks of the crisis of our age is the allowance for pragmatic concerns to enshrine such an explosive issue as nationality. In countries ruled by the regime of Multiculturalism, the effect of this is the most sharp: the pragmatic argument (bolstered by the ideological one, see later) holds such sway that all attempts at assimilating immigrants are forestalled. For Mexicans crossing the US border as well as for Muslims in Britain, the pragmatic argument is a shield against the common-sense but maligned demand that they adopt the culture of their host country: “It would be so difficult, and they are in such great numbers, that they had better be recognized as separate”. Even if that means being a nation within a nation, with all the strife that that entails. Once again, we see how the Left perpetuates the very hatreds it claims to be the solution to.
In short: if the circumstances are what made the “Palestinians” into a real nation, then new circumstances can unmake them. It’s “Might Makes Right” either way you look at it, though the anti-Israel Leftists call only the other way (away from “Palestinian” nationhood) that name, for some odd reason. The pragmatic argument is like a chain—as strong as its weakest link.
Now to the ideological argument, that of self-identification. I wish to bring a frequently quoted anti-Zionist quote by the leftist Jew Erich Fromm, one of so many estranged Jews who, because of that, wished to express his Jewishness by joining the bad causes of his day (think of Noam Chomsky). The quote is this:
If all nations would suddenly claim territory in which their forefathers had lived 2,000 years ago, this world would be a madhouse.
That quote is beloved of all those who dispute the legitimacy of the Zionist project—of the idea that the Jewish nation can be sovereigns of their land, the Land of Israel. I have brought it before, and also refuted. I said, that this argument is a purely hypothetical one, there being almost no nation today that is both 2,000 years old and outside its original homeland. The Iranians and the Chinese are ancient nations, more than 2,000 years old, but they have never been exiled en masse from Persia and China, and therefore never posed that scenario. The Welsh may be descendants of refugees from the Anglo-Saxon invasion, but neither they nor their Irish and Scots brothers have called for ridding the OCTs (Occupied Celtic Territories) of the Sassenach colonials, for they have and are interesting in keeping their self-determination, unlike the “Palestinians”, who are interested in taking away the self-determination of another nation.
Indeed, today such revanchism, invariably for the sake of furthering an imperialistic goal, a greedy end, is the monopoly of obscure, recently-formed “nations”, all propped up by the Marxists as part of their anti-Western agenda. We have the “Gagauzian nation”, of which my dad claimed, when he first heard of it, that it was as if a city in Israel were to be declared a nation-state all its own. We have the multitude of new “nations” in Africa, all the artifacts of lines arbitrarily drawn on the map by European colonials in the 19th century, supported by the Left, with no regard to the question whether the individuals in them have the minimal cohesion required of a nation. It is time for me to revise Fromm’s quote, turning it into something more truthful:
If all groups would suddenly claim to be nations and be granted that status on the basis of their mere claim, this world would be a madhouse.
Only this time the sentence is not a hypothetical: because of the credence given to every small group that claims to be a nation (or an ethnicity, or a minority, or a religion, or what have you), and the automatic ear given to their “legitimate grievances” by virtue of that, the world is a madhouse: a madhouse of grievance-mongering, of gratuitous hatred, of aggressive litigation and of intrusive “hate-speech” laws. And all that is aided and abetted by the ostensibly internationalist (“Nations must be done away with in favor of the Brotherhood of Man”) Left!
In the past, nationhood was a given, flowing from a common heritage, but those standards are too stringent, too discriminating for modern tastes; now nationalism requires the satisfaction of only two conditions: 1) Self-identification; 2) External acknowledgment given by those who have an ax to grind. The “Palestinian nation” is an excellent case in point, for it is not only in the past, before 60 years ago, but even now as well, that they have never been a real nation; they self-identify, and since they serve as handy platform for denying the Jews their nation-state and (for the Leftists) an altar to sacrifice the Zionist scapegoat on in order to appease the wrath of the Muslims, they are given credence. But the facts on the ground are not changed by that: they do not have the minimal requirements of a nation. They do not cohere in either religion (Muslims, Christians, Druzes), language (the “Palestinian” of the Galilee and the “Palestinian” of the Negev scarcely understand each other), race (white-skinned, blue-eyed “Palestinians” in the Galilee, dark brown-skinned, black-eyed “Palestinians” of the Negev) or values (“Palestinians” of the cities, the villages and the desert are three different value systems). Contrast the ability of a European (Ashkenazi) Jew and a Yemenite Jew to sit together before a Daf G’marah (page of the Talmud) and debate it as if the Jewish nation had never left the Land of Israel! (Thanks be to God. Thanks always be to Him Who created this nation to be His forever.)
The “Palestinian nation” is as authentic as the invented African-American festival of Kwanzaa. This, the brain-child of black Marxist Ron Karenga in 1966 (Marxism? Check. Sixties? Check. All you need to know is there), is there for “serving as heritage for Americans of African descent”. To be fair, unlike the “Palestinians”, Kwanzaa is admitted to be an invention by its own practitioners; and also, it is not necessarily celebrated instead of Hanukkah or Christmas. But over 40 years have not made this festival anything beyond its original purpose, the purpose of furthering identity politics. It remains a Marxist tool for needlessly separating between fellow Americans according to their race, and for inflaming gratuitous hatred between them. That has always been the modus operandi of the Left, with the sowing of cultural strife being the method advocated by Antonio Gramsci (one of the major influences on, among other, the late and unlamented intellectual terrorist Edward Said).
Here is the answer to those who argue, “If self-determination for the Jews, then self-determination for the Palestinians also”: self-determination is for real nations—for those that have stood the tests of cohesion and heritage. To support self-determination for nations that are no real nations at all, for front-groups for an ulterior agenda that are dressed up as nations, is to support hatred, unending hostilities, total war, unremitting bloodshed and incessant strife. If one is aware of the true nature of such “nations”, including the “Palestinian” nation, but still chooses to support them, then he has chosen to support evil. Nationalism in its proper and good sense is the desire of a nation for self-determination in well-defined borders, as indeed Jewish nationalism is, following from the Torah itself, which gives the Jewish nation a specific land, not promising it the whole world. That latter is imperialism, and it can be found that most fictive nations of today are really wrappers for an imperialistic agenda, whether it be Islamic imperialism or the Marxist vision for the world.
The “Palestinians” are not even now a real nation, but are, as they were in the days of Hitler’s Mufti, the front-end for the Islamic jihad in the Land of Israel. That they have not expended any serious efforts in building their nationality is because that has never been their purpose—the same reason that, after the expulsion of all the Jews from the Gaza Strip, they chose to destroy the greenhouses rather than make good use of them. The purpose of the fictive “Palestinian nation” has always been to usurp the real and authentic claim of the real and authentic Jewish nation to the Land of Israel. They are not for their own self-determination, but against the Jews’; conversely, to fight them is not to “crush the spirit of a nation under the colonial jackboot”, but to preserve the life of a nation from the encroachment of an imperialist onslaught.
They are part of the worldwide Islamic jihad. Expel them all.