Justice for Jews and Israel
Handbook of Israel Advocacy
Know the fundamentals of the "Zionist Narrative," that is, the actual empirical facts about the history of Zionism, of the land, and of the conflict with the Arabs of Palestine, and know the evidence that proves it is so. This little summary is not intended to make you an expert, but only to highlight salient points. Consult and compare multiple sources in books and journal articles and on the Web. ALWAYS check information you find in pro-Zionist or anti-Zionist sources against neutral accounts. You will, inevitably, use Wikipedia, but be aware that it is biased against Israel and Zionism owing to tendentious editing. Be aware that some tempting pro-Zionist sources like Joan Peters are very unreliable and should not be used to back your claims without corroboration.
You can find a carefully balanced introductory account of the Israeli Palestinian conflict here- History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Here is a reasonably complete history of Zionism., and a Zionism and Israel FAQ about different issues such as "Zionism is Racism," "Apartheid Israel" accusations and "Right of Return" of Palestinian Arab refugees. Read Benny Morris, "Righous Victims," and "1948" to get a fairly reasonable detailed account of the history of the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Our 'Narrative' - the truth as we know it
Basic Statistics - The anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic narratives of the Jewish threat and Zionist expansionism are believable only by those who think that Jews constitute a substantial minority and that Israel is a largish country. Remember to tell your audiences that Jews in the United States constitute less than 2% of the population. Jews don't control the United States or the world. Around the world, there are about 15 million Jews, 1.5 billion Muslims and a total of 6 billion people. A map of Israel in the Middle East is illuminating.
The map shows Israel in the Middle East and North Africa. The Arab and Muslim states that have formally peaceful relations with Israel are shown in a darker green color. Israel is that little blue smudge that you can just make out. It has an arrow pointing to it.
That's the "Zionist threat" in maps and figures. Pretty scary, those Zionists.
Antiquity of Jewish connection with the land - Jewish tradition and culture have always emphasized the centrality of the land in our communal life. Archeological evidence leaves little doubt about the antiquity of Jewish sovereignty in Palestine. While the record is very far from complete, the inscription of Hezekiah's tunnel is fairly strong proof of Jewish sovereignty in Jerusalem as early as 700 B.C.E and evidence of the historical basis of old testament accounts of the Jewish kingdom in this period. Seals from the first temple period and mentions of "Ben David" in other archeological finds also tend to support Jewish traditions. The Menorah and other spoils depicted on the arch of Titus in Rome, as well as the inscription, "Judea Capta," on the arch and on Roman coins have provided proof and sad reminders of the usurpation of Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem and the land.
Continuous connection with the land - Following the fall of Jerusalem and during the subsequent exile, Jewish national feeling was packaged into the Jewish religion, which became the means of sustaining a dormant Jewish national life and culture in the Diaspora, including transmission of language and customs, and constant evocation of Jerusalem and the land of Zion. Jews remained in the land until they were forced out by the Crusaders, and began returning to the land of Israel in small numbers when it was possible to do so. Poets and popular leaders throughout the 2,000 years of Jewish exile continued to express the Jewish connection with Jerusalem and the land of Israel.
With the creation of modern European states in the 18th and 19th century, the Jews were "emancipated." However, in most cases, the emancipation was conditional on giving up Jewish national aspirations. At this time some groups of Jews evolved the strange doctrine that the Jews were not a nation but simply a religion. They thought that would allow them to participate as equals in modern European society. This idea was to become the foundation of Jewish anti-Zionism.
The political Zionist movement that sprang up at the end of the 19th century evolved naturally from the long Jewish traditional connection with the land of Israel and against the background of rising Jewish nationalism. It was equally an Ashkenazi (Northern European Jewish) and Sephardi (Spanish Jewish) doctrine and was accepted as a matter of course by most Jews of Arab countries as well.
Universal Recognition of Jewish connection to the land - Until Palestinian propaganda began a campaign to confuse the issue, both the Muslim and Christian world accepted the connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel in antiquity as a fact, and most people, including Muslims, took it for granted that the land belonged by right to the Jewish people.
The mayor of Jerusalem, Zia al Khalidi, wrote to Tsadok Khan, chief rabbi of France:
Who can contest the rights of the Jews to Palestine? God knows, historically it is indeed your country.
Khalidi nonetheless wanted the Jews to "leave Palestine in peace," but the Emir Feisal recognized the Jewish right to a national home in Palestine. Feisal wrote to Chief Justice Frankfurter :
We are working together for a reformed and revived Near East, and our two movements complete one another. The Jewish movement is national and not imperialist. Our movement is national and not imperialist, and there is room in Syria for us both. Indeed I think that neither can be a real success without the other.
The Arab-Jewish conflict
The Zionist movement was aware of Arab nationalism, but given the attitude of Feisal and some others, it was hoped that the antagonism of the Arabs could be assuaged. The Zionists planned to buy the land of Palestine, not to expel the Arab inhabitants by force. In the 1920s-1940s virulent strains of Arab and Muslim nationalism arose and were financed and encouraged by the Nazis and Italian Fascists. The Muslim Brotherhood of Hasan el Banna was openly allied with the Nazis, as was the Grand Mufti, Hajj Amin al Hussayni of Palestine.
The land that later came to be known as Palestine under the British mandate had been a vast wasteland. Travelers' accounts all tell the same stories of desolation, ruin, disease and poverty. Zionist investment was to turn the land into a habitable and desirable place once again, for the first time since the fall of Jerusalem.
In 1922, the League of Nations British mandate for Palestine appeared to have fulfilled the Zionist quest for a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine, secured according to the law of nations. League of Nations decisions were international law. Notwithstanding the fact that Britain tore away about78% of the land of the mandate to create an Arab state in Transjordan, the Zionist movement was happy to develop the remainder of the land as a Jewish national home, or so it was thought. Based on this mandate, the Zionist movement poured millions of dollars into development of Palestine each year, transforming it from the most backward corner of the former Ottoman Empire to the country with the highest standard of living in the Levant.
In mandatory Palestine, Zionist investment developed the land, making possible unprecedented prosperity for both Jews and Arabs. Rather than "expelling" or "dispossessing" Arabs, Zionist labor and Zionist money made it possible to support more Arabs in the land than had ever lived there before. The British mandate, except for defense expenditures, had to be economically self -sufficient. Owing to Arab pressure, the British reneged on their mandate and closed Palestine to Jewish immigration. The League of Nations protested in vain against the illegal British decision.
Though the UN Partition decision of 1947 tore away half of the remaining area of Palestine and awarded it to an Arab state, the Zionist movement greeted the partition plan with jubilation. The Arab states and the Palestinian Arabs, led by the escaped Nazi war criminal, the Grand Mufti Hajj Amin El Husayni, launched a war of extermination against Israel. Wherever the Arab armies triumphed, Jews were massacred or expelled. Not one Jew remained in any territory conquered by the Arabs: in Jerusalem, in Kfar Etzion, in Hebron, in the Gaza Strip. However, the Arabs lost the war.
The refugee issue - Palestinian Arabs fled in large numbers and became refugees. Many were indeed expelled by the Israeli forces, for they were willing participants in blockading the roads that connected remote Jewish towns to the center and attacks on Jewish villages. At the same time, Arab states such as Iraq forced all their Jews to leave. The Jews were all absorbed in Israel and elsewhere. The Arab Palestinian refugees were isolated in camps, and a special UN agency, the UNRWA, was created in order to perpetuate the misery of the refugees as a tool to be used against Israel.
For 19 years, Transjordan illegally occupied the West Bank and the city of Jerusalem. It transferred some of its own citizens there and it refused admission to Jews wishing to visit holy places, in violation of the armistice agreements of 1949. No Arab state recognized Israel and all Arab states declared their intention to destroy the "Zionist entity" repeatedly. If the Arab states or the Palestinians had wanted to set up a Palestinian state in the West Bank, the way was open, but they did not do so.
The history of the period prior to 1967 should be studied carefully by those who insist that the Israeli "occupation" that began in 1967 is the core of the conflict.
In the spring of 1967, Gamal Abdel Nasser, dictator of Egypt, closed the straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and thereby deliberately created a casus belli for Israel. He was apparently confident that Israel would respond to the threat, and planned on defeating the Jewish state. He said so. According to a different version, he hoped to avert a war but gain humiliating concessions from Israel. However, in the Six Day War, which was joined by Jordan and Syria, the Arab allies were defeated. Israel conquered the West Bank of the Jordan, Gaza, Sinai and the Golan. The Sinai peninsula was returned to Egypt when Israel and Egypt made peace in 1981.
A diplomatic process was initiated with the Palestine Liberation Organization in the 1990s. That organization had been recognized by Arab countries and the UN as the "only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people." It had been sworn to eliminate Israel. However, large numbers of Palestinians and anti-Israel advocates began insisting that the PLO does not represent the Palestinian people when it seemed that the PLO would make a deal with Israel and settle for less than destruction of the Jewish state.
The Oslo process was sabotaged by several campaigns of terror attacks and suicide bombings, that erupted whenever it seemed the Palestinians might be close to an agreement with Israel. The so-called "Second Intifadah" began in September of 2000 and continued despite, or because of an offer of a Palestinian state which was described as fair by United States President Clinton. Saudi Prince Bandar ibn Sultan stated that rejection of the offer would be criminal, but then Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat rejected it.
Palestinian leadership continues to make impossible conditions for Israeli-Palestinian peace, including Israeli acceptance of millions of Palestinian refugees, and denial of any Jewish national rights in Jerusalem. After Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza strip, Palestinians held elections and the genocidal maximalist Hamas group won a majority of seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council. A coup in Gaza ousted the Fatah from power sharing and left Gaza in the control of a bandit regime that rained down rockets on Israeli kibbutzim and towns within the green line. This has made many Israelis reluctant to support further withdrawals in the West Bank.
This material is copyright © 2009 by Ami Isseroff and members of the Zio-Web group. No part may be reproduced without permission in any form.
More Commentary about Zionism
External Zionism Links
This site provides resources about Zionism and Israeli history, including links to source documents. We are not responsible for the information content of these sites. These links are NOT intended to be an exhaustive reference about Zionism, but the list will keep growing...
Please tell us about your favorite links and we will review them for inclusion.
Please do copy and use materials from this Web site, but please be careful to credit the Zionism pages and link to us. Please do copy materials from this site, especially these links to your Web site, giving credit to http://www.zionism-israel.com Zionism and Israel Information Center
Sister sites http://zionism.netfirms.comZionism Pages and Zionism On the Web
Zionism - Definition and Brief History - A balanced article that covers the definitions and history of Zionism as well as opposition to Zionism and criticisms by Arabs, Jewish anti-Zionists.
Labor Zionism - Early History and Critique - Contribution of Labor Zionism to the creation of the Jewish state, and problems of Labor Zionism in a changing reality.
The US Library of congress has a comprehensive and balanced set of articles about Zionism:
ZioNation - Zionism-Israel Web Log Israel News Israel: like this, as if Christian Zionism Albert Einstein Bible Palestine Nakba 1948 Israel Independence - Birth of a Nation Six Day War War of Independence History of Zionism Zionism FAQ Zionism Israel Center Maps of Israel Jew Zionism and its Impact Israel Christian Zionism Site Map
Presenting Zionism - Zionist advocacy