Monday, April 7, 2008

To boldly go ...

Yes, I am late with this as well, but if you haven't yet read Diana Muir's superb article ("A Land without a People for a People without a Land") in the Spring edition of the Middle East Quarterly, go read it now. It's long overdue and extremely important reading for anyone who's involved at any level in Israel advocacy or who even just wants to better understand the issues surrounding Israel's ongoing battle for acceptance of its existence. Huge kudos to Diana for putting this together.

"A land without a people for a people without a land" is one of the most oft-cited phrases in the literature of Zionism—and perhaps also the most problematic. Anti-Zionists cite the phrase as a perfect encapsulation of the fundamental injustice of Zionism: that early Zionists believed Palestine was uninhabited,[1] that they denied—and continue to reject—the existence of a distinct Palestinian culture,[2] and even as evidence that Zionists always planned on an ethnic cleansing of the Arab population.[3] Such assertions are without basis in fact: They both deny awareness on the part of early Zionists of the presence of Arabs in Palestine and exaggerate the coalescence of a Palestinian national identity, which in reality only developed in reaction to Zionist immigration.[4] Nor is it true, as many anti-Zionists still assert, that early Zionists widely employed the phrase.

Please do click through. And while you're at it, think about going for a subscription to the MEQ. (You've heard this before here, right?) You won't regret it.