Conflict over Palestine has taken, and continues to take, several forms. First and foremost, it is a conflict over land (geography) and identity of the population (demography). In addition, it is a conflict over narrative and history. A review of the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel demonstrates how intensive and concise this narrative is, unveiling the intellectual foundations of Zionism. This narrative has the advantage of being able to select, and skip, parts of the Jewish history as it wishes. The narrative begins with the Old Testament, but soon eschews from two thousand years of the Jewish history in the Diaspora and turns back to the twentieth century,
This is the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel and the Nakba of Palestine. Both are two ends of the same continuum. This issue attempts to highlight these events and show how they are assimilated within Israeli society. To this avail, publications authored by Ben-Gurion himself are reviewed and translated. The translated text does not reflect diaries written in 1948 about that time, but was produced at a later stage by Ben-Gurion. A book on the logic of partitions is about to be published by Stanford University. Edited by historians Arie M. Dubnov and Laura Robson, the book seeks to understand the “solution” of partition as part of a colonial intellectual
As part of a settlement enterprise, Zionism decided to establish a national home for the Jews in an already populated country. From the outset, this meant that this enterprise sought to transform the Jews into a majority and the Arab Palestinians into a minority. Without a transformation of this kind, it was impossible for Zionism to fulfil the promise it had made to its people, namely, self-determination in a state of their own. At first, the idea of a majority and statehood was esoteric. In the 1920s, a debate took place between political and cultural Zionism about whether the Jews should be the majority or be too many without constituting a majority. In the 1903s and 1940s, this debate was resolved in favour of Ben-Gurion. The statehood project was transformed into a declared programme, which was embraced by Zionism.
The theme of this issue has its focus on the relations between Israel and Germany. Beyond doubt, the entry point to understand these relations lies in the Holocaust, which befell European Jews under the Nazi regime.
Initially, there was no consensus in Israel on how to deal with the German state following the integration of Nazism. As it did not wish to engage in direct negotiations with the Germans, Israel addressed the Allied Powers to claim compensations from Germany. However, having felt the wind of the Cold War, the USA and the West were eager to include West Germany in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). The payment of compensations would pave the way to West Germany’s membership of the NATO.
The theme of this issue has its focus on the intellectual roots of the Zionist right wing. In a settler community, the idea of separation between the right and left wing parties was, and is still, grounded in the acquisition of the homeland of another people. This idea is not impliedly perceived, however. A logically tempting argument views the enterprise settler Zionist enterprise as a right wing one in its entirety, from the very beginning to the very end. This is an enterprise that culminates in control, expulsion, occupation, and racial supremacy.