Saturday, January 17, 2009

One thing that infuriates my wife is that whenever she gives an opinion about something, I almost always start to disagree. Not so much because I disagree, but because seeing three sides of an argument is *interesting* to me. And hearing one side immediately triggers my attempt to find counters.

After reading another gruelling account of the current Israeli attack on Gaza and discussing the current situation I found myself saying that "but of course it wasn't as simple as the Jews stealing the land from the Palestinians. This area already had a large Jewish population under the Ottoman empire." which was a "factoid" that I'd picked up somewhere.

Today someone sent me an invite to one of those "lets get millions of people together on Facebook to condemn Israel" kind of things, which I felt reluctant to join. Was it "nuanced" enough? (I never like condemning anything - my preferred mode is understanding.) Might it not really be a front for perennial Arab nationalist? Etc. But I started to realize that this was mere prevarication ... excuse not to get involved. So I may end up joining and forwarding to all my Facebook friends (you've been warned).

Anyway, following a link from a discussion there I found Palestine Remembered and a debunking of the "already a large Jewish population" argument. Can't be sure how reliable it is, but I find this pretty compelling; and this linked story giving further support.

So I guess I was wrong. It seems that the Jewish population was a minority, and the theory that most Palestinians are just children of "gastarbeiters" is misleading propaganda. More fool me for immersing myself in too many warblogs and neocon apologists in recent years.

And when one thinks about that starkly, the whole edifice of Israel does start to look pretty dodgy. Was the whole thing really built by mass ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Arab population?

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