Zionism started before the First Zionist Congress in 1897 and before Theodore Herzl wrote “The Jewish State” in 1896. However, the core elements of Zionism that people recognize came from the 1917 Balfour Declaration. Those key elements found their way into the 1920 San Remo Conference and ultimately, the 1922 League of Nation’s Palestine Mandate. Those key points are:
- Jewish History in the Holy Land: “recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine”
- Reestablishing the Jewish homeland: “recognition… to the grounds for reconstituting their [Jewish] national home in that country [Palestine]”
- Immigration: “shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions”
- Owning land: “shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes”
- Citizenship: “facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who take up their permanent residence in Palestine”
- Freedom of worship and religion: “securing free access to the Holy Places, religious buildings and sites and the free exercise of worship…. complete freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals, are ensured to all. No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants of Palestine on the ground of race, religion or language. No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief.“
Each of these principles is under attack.
Palestinian Arabs did not always doubt the history of Jews in the Holy Land. In the 1920s, the official guidebook of “Al Haram al Sharif” published by the Supreme Moslem Council, stated that the Temple Mount’s “identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute” (page 4). Yet today, the entire history of Jews in the Holy Land is challenged by Palestinian Arab extremists (and “moderates”).
- Acting President of Palestinian Authority (PA) Mahmoud Abbas addressed the United Nations General Assembly several times. In those speeches he spoke of the history of Jesus and Mohammed in the Holy Land, but ignored the history of the Jews in the land including: Jacob; Joseph; Joshua; David; and Solomon.
- Various leaders of the PA have declared that: there was never a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem; if there was a Temple it wasn’t on the Temple Mount; and Israel is manufacturing ancient artifacts to fabricate a Jewish connection to Jerusalem.
- Abbas claimed that Israel has attempted to “Judaize” Jerusalem, including claiming that the Western Wall is actually Islamic and known as the al-Buraq wall.
- Abbas claimed that Jesus was a Palestinian, rather than a Jew. His comments have continued to be repeated by PA officials and television.
- Arab states are so upset about the history of Jews in the Holy Land, that 22 Arab states pressured UNESCO to cancel an exhibit called “People, Book, Land — The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People to the Holy Land”
Inscription dating to 840 BCE in Tel Dan, northern Israel
referring to the “House of David”
Recently, some politicians outside of Israel have finally begun to push back on the Arab narrative that denies Jewish history. US Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), remarked in December 2015 that “denying the historic connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem is false. Amazing archeological discoveries are frequently made that prove the roots of the Jewish people are in Israel.”
Seal of King Hezekiah found in Jerusalem, around 700 BCE
Arabs came to the Holy Land during the Islamic invasion of the 7th centuries. An Arab claim to being indigenous to Israel is like the Portuguese claiming to be indigenous to Brazil because they have been there for hundreds of years. There were people who lived there for thousands of years before the new people invaded, and continue to live there and claim the place as their home.
RECONSTITUTING The Jewish Homeland
The Arabs hope that by denying the history of Jews in the Holy Land, they can claim that they are the indigenous people of the land, and Jews are simply European colonialists. The claim that Israel is a new colonial force is repeated often by Palestinians and plays well to Europeans that have rethought their own colonial past.
However, Israel is not, nor has it ever been, a European colony.
Jews have lived in the Holy Land for over 3,700 years and were the only people to have independent political governments in the land. They are also the only people to have their religious holiest sites in the land.
It is not a coincidence that Arabs shout to “Free Palestine” as opposed to “Create Palestine” as a new independent country. The Arabs claim that the land was never home to Jewish Kingdoms and has always been Arab land.
The Prism of Sennacherib, from roughly 689 BCE describing his attack on
the Jewish King Hezekiah in Jerusalem, as mentioned in 2 Kings: 18:13
Arabs sought to deny Jewish immigration to Palestine immediately after the San Remo Conference. Several Arab riots broke out in the 1920s, and in the 1930s the Arabs were able to convince the British to curtail Jewish immigration. In 1939, on the eve of the Holocaust in Europe, the British issued the White Paper which capped Jewish immigration at 75,000 people for five years. The goal was to keep Jews as a permanent minority in Palestine.
Arabs and left-wing Israeli radicals continue to call on limiting Jewish immigration to Israel. In December 2015, Haaretz columnist Amira Hess said at a conference run with the New Israel Fund that Jewish “immigration to Israel under today’s circumstances — especially on the part of citizens of free Western countries — constitutes complicity in the crime.”
The British and Arabs reduced the amount of land available for Jews to settle since the time that the Mandate took effect in 1922.
- By 1928, the area now known as Jordan, was split from Palestine.
- In 1929, after Arabs massacred Jews in Hebron, the British evacuated all of the remaining Jews from the city
- In 1937, the Peel Commission suggested partitioning the land into two
- In 1940, British drafted the Land Transfer Regulations which limited where Jews could purchase land to only one-third of the remaining part of Palestine
- In 1947, the United Nations voted to partition the land into Arab and Jewish States
- In 1949, after five Arab armies attacked Israel at its founding, Jordan illegally annexed Judea and Samaria and evicted all Jews from the territory, including the eastern part of Jerusalem, counter to the Fourth Geneva Convention
- In 1967, after Jordan (and Palestinians who were then Jordanian citizens) attacked Israel and lost the area that they had termed the “West Bank,” they still fought to keep Jews from living in the land
The Jordanians had a Land Law in effect in the West Bank that prohibited the sale of any land to Jews from 1949 to 1967, punishable by death. In 1997 – AFTER the Oslo Accords between the Palestinian Authority and Israel – the Palestinians confirmed that such land sales to Jews would be considered treason and a capital offense.
Radical left-wing activist Ezra Nawi blew whistle on Arabs selling land to Jews
was arrested by Israel in January 2016
When the British left Palestine in 1948, Israel gave citizenship to everyone in Israel – Jews and non-Jews alike. However, after the Arabs attacked Israel and Jordan assumed control of the West Bank, Jordan only granted citizenship only to Arabs. The 1954 Jordanian law extending citizenship to Palestinian Arabs spelled out that Jews were excluded: “Any person who, not being Jewish, possessed Palestinian nationality before 15 May 1948 and was a regular resident in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan between 20 December 1949 and 16 February 1954.”
Arab groups like Adalah and left-wing groups like the New Israel Fund (NIF) complain today about Israel’s Law of Return that allows Jews to become citizens of Israel on an expedited manner, a Law that non-Jews cannot use, claiming that such law is discriminatory. The groups fail to note that Israel institutes a Law of Return in the same manner that dozens of other countries use such a law to enable people with a lineage to the country to become citizens quickly. The Jewish people have ties to the prior Jewish kingdoms in the Holy Land, while the Arabs, many of whom arrived over the past century, but certainly not before the 7th century, have no such ties.
When you see an advertisement about “social justice” and “equality” from groups like the NIF, they are attacking these fundamental principles of Zionism and common international laws.
Freedom of Worship
When the League of Nations endorsed the principles of Zionism, they also sought to ensure equality and fairness for the Jewish and non-Jewish inhabitants throughout the region. One of the areas that they highlighted was the access to each religion’s holy places. In theory.
Jews were banned from visiting or worshipping on the Temple Mount back in the 1550s under Suleiman I. The Ottoman Muslim leader enabled Jews to pray at the Western Wall, or the Kotel, but denied them their historical access to their holiest place. Moslems similarly forbade Jews from visiting their second holiest place, the Cave of the Jewish Patriarchs in Hebron.
When Israel took control of the post-1929 Palestine Mandate land in 1967, they sought to reestablish Jewish rights at the holiest Jewish places – just as called for in international law endorsing Zionism.
As detailed in “The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land,” Israel attempted to assert Jewish rights at their holiest places including: The Temple Mount; the Cave of the Jewish Patriarchs; Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem; and Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem/Nablus. It has been a struggle.
To this day, Jews are still banned from worshipping on the Temple Mount. This is just fine with the United Nations as highlighted in “The UN’s Disinterest in Jewish Rights at Jewish Holy Places.”
The United Nations Complicity in
It is understood that the Arabs would argue strongly for their own cause. They have pursued an Arab and Muslim maximalist approach to the Holy Land for centuries.
However, the United Nations has backtracked significantly from its early endorsement of Zionism. Under British administration, immigration was cut and the ability to own land was diminished. When it came to vote at the United Nations to admit Israel as a new country, to “reconstitute the Jewish homeland,” Britain abstained.
The United Nations learned from Britain, and has continued to squeeze Zionism, such as recanting on the principle that Jews should have the freedom to worship at their holiest places, as discussed above.
While the UN constricted Zionism, it expanded the cause of Palestinian Arabs:
- it created a new definition of “refugee” which included someone that left a house and town, rather than a country
- It uniquely extended the definition of “refugees” to descendants, where the UN now considers there to be over 11 million Palestinians
- The UN created a stand-alone refugee agency for Palestinian Arab “refugees” (UNRWA) that live in the surrounding area to the Holy Land, giving services to over 5 million people. Every other refugee in the world gets a single under-funded agency
- UNRWA has promoted a narrative that all 5 million “refugees” will get to move to Israel, even though they are neither refugees nor have any right to move to Israel under the country’s Law of return
- The UN altered its mission for refugees to one of protection and settlement (as it does throughout the world), to one that seeks to undermine Zionism
In 1975, the UN General Assembly endorsed Resolution 3379 stating that “Zionism is Racism,” essentially nullifying on the basic arguments and rights of Jews to their homeland. The effort to limit Zionism had become an effort to terminate it.
The “Zionism is racism” declaration was ultimately overturned in 1991, in part, because of the efforts of the United States. As US President George Bush argued before the UN: “Zionism is not a policy, it is the idea that led to the creation of a home for the Jewish people, to the State of Israel. And to equate Zionism with the intolerable sin of racism is to twist history and forget the terrible plight of the Jews in World War II, and indeed throughout history. To equate Zionism with racism, is to reject Israel itself, a member of good standing of the United Nations. This body cannot claim to seek peace and at the same time challenge Israel’s right to exist.”
Zionism has been getting squeezed since 1917, in rights, size and scope. As Zionism has been squeezed, so has the State of Israel itself.
The “Freedom CHOIR (Freedom of worship and religion; Citizenship; History; Owning land; Immigration; and Reconstituting the Jewish State)” which are fundamental building blocks of Zionism, are under attack. The Arabs have intensified their assault to include basic facts of Jewish history. The British and United Nations have constricted Zionism in size and scope. Left-wing radical groups have now joined the chorus using “progressive” language of “justice” and “equality,” while using the identical arguments of racists that seek to reject Israel.
Review the points of the Freedom CHOIR. Do you believe in Zionism? Will you join the CHOIR or seek to silence it?
Related First.One.Through articles:
The United Nations’ Remorse for “Creating” Israel
The United Nations Applauds Abbas’ Narrative
Liberals’ Biggest Enemies of 2015
Real and Imagined Laws of Living in Silwan
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