Helen High WaterJune 7th, 2010

Helen Thomas is neck-deep in Judaic fury, but she’s right. The transplantation of European refugees to Palestine was a bad idea. It displaced millions of non-Europeans to make room for the transplants, and it eventually produced a racist government with a state religion that claims exalted status in the eyes of its god and a license to kill.

I suppose Helen Thomas gets as angry as I do when she runs across an “Israeli” from Brooklyn or London. What entitles these people to live on lands that were seized from folks who were born there? Don’t say it’s because they’re God’s chosen people, because anybody can say that. I’ve never known a thief who didn’t claim other peoiple’s property was put in his possession by providence.

Israel should have been created in Texas or rhe Rheinland or Ukraine, on lands seized from the chauvinistic peoples that spawned world war, and not in Palestine, among peoples that had come to spurn warfare and nationalism. It was morally wrong for the war’s winners to destroy a peaceful nation with an indigenous culture–Palestine, where religious tolerance had reigned for generations–to create a warlike nation with an alien, hostile culture in its place.

Time hasn’t healed any of the wounds inflicted by the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. That’s because the Jewish state recognizes the full citizenship of Jews only. Jews, whether from Russia, North America, Africa or elsewhere, enjoy privileges in Israel that indigenous non-Jews don’t. Arabs who can’t produce the requisite ownership documents may be evicted from their homes, even today, to be replaced by Jews from the farthest corners of the earth.

Eventually, Israel will destroy the Jewish religion. It’s hard to maintain a moral code alongside a military code that encourages the slaughter of civilians and a civil code that dispossesses innocents. It’s a religion that seems to mistake retribution for self-defense. “Do unto others,” Israeli Jews seem to be saying, “but do it first. ”

Of course, no American, not Helen Thomas and not Steve Fournier, is in a position to lecture Israel. Americans kill children by remote control in Pakistan so we can assassinate their parents, and we don’t apologize for it. Americans displaced huge segments of the population of Iraq and erected barriers–physical and political–to keep them from ever returning. As bad as Israel is, we’re worse.

But when you’re right, you’re right, and Helen Thomas is right about Palestine.