Opinion

Zionism Never Intended on Establishing a State

After 120 years it can be said that the movement succeeded in not establishing a Jewish state, because it wanted to achieve more than that.

David Ben-Gurion declaring the establishment of the State of Israel, in Independence Hall in Tel Aviv, May 14, 1948.
Frank Scherschel/GPO

I am not talking about the Zionism of Meretz’s Zehava Galon, but dominant Zionism never intended on establishing a state. It intended to build something different – even bigger.

After 120 years of Zionism it is possible to sum up and say that it succeeded in fulfilling its vision. Indeed it can be said, paradoxically, that the movement succeeded in not establishing a Jewish state, because it wanted to achieve more than just a state. It’s like someone who tells his beloved that he loves all women, in response to the question of whether he loves her. After all, anyone who loves them all cannot love any one of them.

So, the dominant currents in Zionism, both Likud and Labor, have no concrete proposals regarding the borders of the State of Israel. That is now how you build a nation.

In 1948, the world enlisted on behalf of the establishment of a Jewish state alongside an Arab state. Along the way, most of the Palestinian people were expelled, and the boundaries of the territory of the long-awaited country were stretched by about 50 percent. And the world, in the absence of any official decision, recognized the enlarged territory.

In 2002, the Arab world offered Israel recognition and normalization if only it would be so kind as to allow the creation of a Palestinian state. But the Israeli telephone was suddenly disconnected. Instead, the Arabs were flooded with more and more conditions – both security-related, which is occupation in a different form, and also with all sorts of demands for recognition. All that was missing was the demand that the Arabs put on phylacteries every morning. Maybe that will come someday, too.

In the meantime, the world is beginning to discover that something is wrong with Israel’s conduct. After all, every average businessman knows who wants to close a deal and who is looking for an alibi, and for 700 years the Zionists have been looking for an alibi in order to not establish a state that would be appropriate for a few million Jews. They want to build an empire that will be fit for a superpower. But the Jews, with all due respect, are not the size of a superpower.

We must say honestly to our good friends among the Jewish people, of which there are many, that they must act to change the direction the ship is sailing because it is approaching an iceberg at record speed. After all, history is not too generous and its window of opportunity only opens infrequently.

They tell the story of the believer who fell into a rushing river. A ship passed by him but he refused to climb aboard. God will take care to save me, he explained. Another boat passed alongside him, and he rejected that one, too – after all God would not abandon him. He even turned down the lifebuoy they threw down to him. While plunging down into the depths, he turned to the One who sits upon high and asked: Why did you abandon me? And the One who sits in the heavens said: I sent you three life savers, and you refused them all.

By the way, until the establishment of Israel there was talk that dividing the land constituted a sort of apostasy. What, carve up the homeland? In the early 1940s the communists – the first to accept the United Nations Partition Plan – also thought about a single state. When Jewish communists met with the members of the UN committee on the eve of the establishment of the state, the committee members were amazed: If you, the communists, split over reasons of nationality, how can there be a single state for your two conflicted peoples?

Like groundwater, which always finds a way out, even if you suppress it under the boulders – there will be a single state here. I and many others like me, for whom a single state is their deep desire, felt that first we must prepare the proper channels for the eruption of the groundwater so that it will not drown all of us. We thought in our innocence that because of the tensions, two states will be established first and later they will unite. But what can you do, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in a hurry.

It is a good thing that we have Donald Trump around today. It’s good there is someone who allows the Israeli government a free hand to act in any way it so desires. It’s a good thing there is no one to hold us back.

If it does not hold on to itself, the one state will open its jaws and swallow the two peoples into a new era of declared apartheid.