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Mon Oct 14, 2019, 01:25 PM

Distorting Ben-Gurion

It is only recently that David Ben-Gurion ceased to be, for the sake of the official record books, Israel's longest-serving prime minister. That honor now belongs to Benjamin Netanyahu, even as his political future becomes ever more uncertain. Ben-Gurion's stature as Israel's founding father, however, would seem to be eminently secure, given his crucial, perhaps indispensable, role in salvaging the Jewish people from political oblivion and reinstating it in its ancestral homeland.

A host of biographies over the years—largely complimentary though by no means uncritical—have recorded the details of Ben-Gurion's busy life without diminishing his almost ­mythological status. Still, a group of "revisionist" Israeli academics and journalists seem determined to tarnish his reputation as part of their ­decades-long project to reinterpret Israel's founding period. Tom Segev's A State at Any Cost is the latest such effort.

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The truth is that, far from seeking to dispossess the Palestinian Arabs as claimed by Segev, the Zionist movement had always been amenable to the existence of a substantial Arab minority in the prospective Jewish state. No less than Ze'ev Jabotinsky, founder of the faction that was the forebear of today's Likud Party, voiced his readiness (in a famous 1923 essay) "to take an oath binding ourselves and our descendants that we shall never do anything contrary to the principle of equal rights, and that we shall never try to eject anyone." And if this was the position of the more "militant" faction of the Jewish national movement, small wonder that mainstream Zionism took for granted the full equality of the Arab minority in the prospective Jewish state.

Ben-Gurion himself argued as early as 1918 that "had Zionism desired to evict the inhabitants of Palestine it would have been a dangerous utopia and a harmful, reactionary mirage." And as late as December 1947, shortly after Palestinian Arabs had unleashed wholesale violence to subvert the newly passed United Nations partition resolution, he told his Labor Party that "in our state there will be non-Jews as well—and all of them will be equal citizens; equal in everything without any exception; that is: the state will be their state as well." In line with this conception, committees laying the groundwork for the nascent Jewish state discussed the establishment of an Arabic-language press, the incorporation of Arab officials in the administration, and Arab-Jewish cultural interaction.

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https://www.meforum.org/59561/distorting-ben-gurion?



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Reply Distorting Ben-Gurion (Original post)
Mosby Oct 14 OP
abqtommy Oct 14 #1

Response to Mosby (Original post)

Mon Oct 14, 2019, 03:33 PM

1. Thanks for reminding us of the forgotten lessons of history.

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