In a game of tit for tat, battling Israeli Jewish and Palestinian groups have called for forced expulsion of their opposite number from their native lands. Aryeh Eldad, a radical settler leader and Israeli MK has published an ad in Haaretz which calls for Jordan’s King Abdullah to accept the millions of Palestinians living within Israel and the Occupied Territories to be expelled to Jordan, their “rightful home” (according to Eldad). Though according to whose ‘right’ it’s not clear.
Likewise, a radical Palestinian group has called for the forced expulsion of all Israeli Jews from their own native land, Israel, to the lands of their forefathers in Europe and the far-flung Jewish Diaspora. This seems only fitting if one side is going to advocate forcibly expelling the other that the opposing side do the same. That way, no one would remain in the land and it could then be settled by a yet a third people (perhaps the Jebusites, Moabites, Emorites or another tribe exterminated by the ancient Israelites during their habitation of the land) looking for a land without a people for a people without a land.
In all seriousness and with sadness, I report that the first paragraph is truthful, while the second is fiction. It is true that some pro-Palestinian activists advocate Jews leaving Israel, but they’re hard to take seriously. However, the settler advocacy for Palestinian expulsion has been seriously advocated by prominent figures in the Israeli political right and center (Benny Morris among them) for decades. As recently as 1989, Bibi Netanyahu himself publicly advocated this view, though he’s much too slick these days to ‘fess up to his original sin. Polls have found that 40% of more of Israelis view transfer as an attractive solution to the “Palestinian problem.” In short, racism is alive and well on the Israeli far-right, which has basically become the Israeli center as the former center has disintegrated.
An interesting sidebar: the Roman destruction of the Second Temple is called the Hurban (a Hebrew term for “destruction” on a cataclysmic scale) because it led to the end of Jewish sovereignty in Israel and the scattering of Jews to the winds in the Diaspora. Similarly, the 1948 Palestinian expulsion from the land is called the Nakba (or “catastrophe”). One of the themes of this blog is to show each people that the other has mirrored their experience, history, and suffering, in an attempt to compel mutual recognition and empathy. Perhaps neither will be able to acknowledge these parallels for some time, but eventually they will. That is why I like Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish’s characterization of the Israeli Jewish and Palestinian peoples as “conjoined twins who will live together or die together.” We may not be ‘One’ as the old UJA slogan used to hold, but “we are all together” as the Beatles once sang.
This article first appeared at Tikun Olum.