...In Israel, too, there are a number of people like Yossi Beilin who cut their ancient roots and justify the existence of the State by much more recent circumstantial reasons. From there, for these people, everything is negotiable and no matter if one gives up places in this country that have made large impacts on our history. The key is to just keep a little corner where we will - perhaps - be safe. Therefore, it is no coincidence that Dr. Beilin was one of the architects of the Oslo Accords. Everything is connected.
23 April '15..
The proximity of Holocaust Remembrance Day and the Day of Remembrance for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terror attacks is a source of a major misunderstandings.
Dr. Beilin was right to point out that the State of Israel is not a result of the Holocaust, but he is wrong when he says that "the state would not have been created without it." In terms of international law, and only mentioning this, the State of Israel was in the making for several decades, and might have emerged even earlier had the international community not been occupied for more than six years by the 2nd World War.
This connection between the Holocaust and the State of Israel serves the interests of certain specific group, first of all the Palestinian Arabs, who complain of “paying the bill” for the drama that happened in Europe with which they played no role in, or worse, who say that today they are the "victims of the victims" and nazify the State of Israel.
Beilin then falls into the trap of a number of Israelis who have short memories and attribute the creation of the State of Israel to the historical circumstances of the 19th century. Or that the State of Israel would not exist without the will of the United Nations.
To believe and to let others believe that the political renaissance of the Jewish people in this region is due only to anti-Semitism or the failed integration of European Jews is an insult to history and intelligence. If the State of Israel was a response to anti-Semitism, it could have been created anywhere. Beilin himself once wrote that his grandfather, a Russian Zionist delegate to the 6th Zionist Congress in Basel in 1903, had made a mistake by not voting in favor of the creation of the Jewish National Home in Uganda.
Curiously, during this particularly heated Congress, it was the Russian delegates who were the most concerned with the urgency of a solution to anti-Semitism and sat on the ground in a sign of mourning after Herzl's proposal to create a Jewish home, even temporarily, in the middle of Africa.
It is apparent that there was a more important aspect among the delegates than just physical survival: a distant voice telling them that the only place to which the Jews had to return ... was where they came from.
Beilin confuses law and historical circumstances, the former being the foundation, and the latter being only the dangers that allowed the realization at an opportune time. Beilin also demonstrated a singular historical amnesia when he wrote that "the Zionist aspiration to establish a Jewish state in Israel predated the Holocaust by a generation."
"The Zionist aspiration" did not begin with the Balfour Declaration nor with Herzl. Paradoxically, the British lord was based more on the ancient history of the Jewish people than Yossi Beilin. Other great men, rabbis and philosophers had already thought of Zionism in the mid-19th century. And even before. But the most important thing, is that all these forerunners not only responded to the circumstances of their times, but based their aspirations on a 2000-year-old dream and promise that marked them, sometimes unconsciously: "Next year in Jerusalem!" Not to mention the ancient texts of the Jewish prophets.
The State of Israel today was not a creation from absolutely nothing, nor a state of refuge or compensation for the Holocaust. It draws its legitimacy from a divine promise of an ancient and glorious history that took place in the Middle East along with an aspiration to return that has been living with the Jewish people since its dispersion in the 2nd century.
Cutting the historical and spiritual roots of today's Israel with ancient Israel opens the door to all sort of challenges to its legitimacy. That is why it is to the City of David in Jerusalem, or even Hebron that foreign leaders should be brought to as soon as they got off the plane, even before Yad Vashem. This is where our history begins!
Our life in Jerusalem gives us our legitimacy here, not our death in Auschwitz.
It must not be thought that this is a usual and harmless aspect. The prevailing opinion and the positions taken by the international community regarding Israel are trapped in this design: Israel is only a response to anti-Semitism, it is therefore necessary to "ensure the security of Israel." This is the mantra of international declarations and resolutions. But Israel does not need only safety. Israel needs that we recognize its historical rights.
This is not exclusive to the international community. In Israel, too, there are a number of people like Yossi Beilin who cut their ancient roots and justify the existence of the State by much more recent circumstantial reasons.
From there, for these people, everything is negotiable and no matter if one gives up places in this country that have made large impacts on our history. The key is to just keep a little corner where we will - perhaps - be safe. Therefore, it is no coincidence that Dr. Beilin was one of the architects of the Oslo Accords.
Everything is connected.
Shraga Blum is an independent journalist. He publishes a weekly press review in the "P'tit Hebdo" and political analysis on Israeli-French language sites.