February 5, 2005 -- I have read with considerable interest the item from Electronic Intifada of 4th February 2005 by Professor Avi Shlaim of Saint Antony's College, Oxford. His analysis is to my mind a sadly clear example of a serious misconception common among many excellent persons, as I am sure he is, who are unwilling to look at reality. He has failed to realise the fact that for many of us, who have no fear of (or any resultant hatred for) Jews, the mere idea of a state based on religious affiliation, however important or unimportant it may be in the lives of the individuals concerned, as the criterion for being a full citizen.
On the other hand, I agree with him that Zionism is indeed the real enemy of the Jews, but he has avoided the basic issue of the invasion of the lands and homes of the people of Palestine, mainly Muslim or Christian, by the waves of Zionist immigrants (mainly in the beginning from Europe) whose self-appointed "leaders" managed to trick the world into believing that one ghastly and horrific wrong justified another.
We must never forget the horrors of the Tsarist and Nazi persecutions of those whom they defined as Jews, and nobody could condemn them more strongly than I do, but this cannot justify, as it never has, the invasion of the Holy Land. Professor Shlaim's comments on the behaviour of the most extreme Zionists do not excuse those who gave or give their support to the seizure (before, during and after the British Mandate) of lands occupied by indigenous Palestinians whose families had lived there for centuries.
The history of the organisation set up to acquire as much Palestinian land as possible, the KKL (Keren Kayemet l'Israel - Jewish National Fund, thus also known as JNF), is a lesson of how good intentions can pave the way to hell. This body started its life by buying up lands (held by absentee landlords) in Palestine, and then evicting the tenants whose families had lived there for centuries. The KKL seems to have benefitted from the support of the Ottoman, and then the British, authorities and was able in this manner to achieve ethnic cleansing from a time dating back to before the First World War. This tendency accelerated shortly before, during and after, the Second World War when Zionist criminal armed gangs did what they could first, during the War, to attack the British troops in the country when they were taking an active part in the fight against the Nazis and their allies. This became worse, from 1945 onwards, when these same criminal gangs were anxious to drive the indigenous people out of the country.
We have to recognise that this dates from well before the time when the late unlamented Adolf Hitler decided that those whom he defined as Jews were the enemy of the aryan "race" (of whom, incidentally, the most obvious examples are the rather dark-skinned people of southern India whose Hindu swastika sign he adopted). I, personally, have never understood this love by the said Adolf Hitler of such a sign of belonging to a much darker-skinned people.
This strange link between Naziism and dark-skinned people brings me back to Professor Shlaim's attempts to separate "good" and "bad" Zionists. The whole concept of Zionism can only be described as being evil, namely the killing or expropriation of all the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine, and the establishment on their ancestral lands of an alien people brought in from other continents.
I acccordingly call upon Professor Shlaim to look again at the whole question and to recognise that the Palestinians are entitled to expect the restitution of their homes and lands or full compensation for their losses and an absolute right to return to their land of origin.
*Robert Thompson is a columnist on Axis of Logic. His writings can be found in "Letters from France". He is a French citizen, is a retired Avocat (Trial Lawyer) at the Boulogne-sur-Mer Bar, living with his wife in a small village in Northern France. He was born at Leek (North Staffordshire, England) in 1931, and, after reading Jurisprudence at Oxford University, he became an English Solicitor. He later went to work at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris. There he was Director in charge of the Legal Department and also Secretary General of the Court of Arbitration, the most important international commercial arbitration centre on the world. While there, he became the I.C.C. Director in charge of relations with the Arab states, where he travelled for professional reasons, and he worked towards legal cooperation with the countries then within the Comecon.
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