Exactly 70 years ago, Arab states started a war with Israel, which in fact continues to this day, although it took a completely different form. These events invariably cause fierce controversy and are called one of the main political problems of the second half of the 20th century. Perhaps it would have been different if the myths about this conflict had not been so tenacious.
29 November 1947, the UN adopted a plan for the partition of Palestine, and already 4 December 1947, the Arabs attacked the kibbutz Efal, which can be considered the beginning of the first full-scale war. As a result of this confrontation, the Arab side was defeated, and the Jews found their state. Since then, the events of 1947-1949 years in the Israeli discourse are called the War of Independence, and the Palestinians are designated as Nakba ("Holocaust"). The newspaper VZGLYAD analyzes the popular myths that exist in Russia and in the West, following the footsteps of this story.
Myth 1. Profit in the Holocaust
One of the most stable mythologies is that Israel was allegedly granted to Jews as a "compensation" for mass destruction in Europe. This point of view exists both in Russia and in the West. And, what is most interesting, is widespread not only among the opponents of Zionism, but also among people sympathizing with the Jewish state. Meanwhile, this idea is absurd in terms of logic, and in terms of facts. To suspect the world community of those years in irrational humanism would be reckless.
The decision to partition Palestine, in fact, was taken by two key players - the USSR and the United States. You can treat Comrade Stalin differently, consider him a genius leader or the devil in the flesh, but who he really was not, is a kind uncle-benefactor.
The position of the Soviet Union in those months was indeed surprisingly pro-Jewish (not to say frankly Zionist), but it was explained by the desire to "cuss an Englishwoman" and create a stronghold in the Middle East for the further expansion of communism. The calculation was not bad. First, Israeli society at that time was saturated with red ideas up to the portraits of the same Stalin in many kibbutzim, so the base was definitely there. Secondly, the "leader of the peoples" in this case really proved to be a visionary strategist, foreseeing the key importance that this small patch of land will receive in the second half of the 20th century. True, Soviet-Israeli friendship never took place, but that's another story.
As for America, President Harry Truman is indeed considered a sincere and almost ideological supporter of Zionism, in which, as a convinced Christian, he allegedly saw a biblical promise. Nevertheless, the king is playing a retinue: the entourage of the American leader was much more interested in Arab oil than in Jewish sentiments. And only the powerful Jewish lobby, which by that time was formed in the US on the basis of immigrants from the Russian Empire of the beginning of the century, managed to persuade public opinion to its side. Plus - all the same desire to "insert the hairpin" to the British, who by that time were deprived of their mandate in Palestine.
Thus, the favor of the world community towards the idea of a Jewish state was due primarily to the interests of superpowers, and not to humanism. The Holocaust as a trauma of the Western consciousness is a later phenomenon, formed only by the 1960-m years. At the same time, the concept of "feelings of guilt", and a special attitude to the "Jewish issue" began to be developed. It would be wrong to project all this into the post-war years, when political psychology was completely different.
Myth 2. The state as a gift
Logically follows from the previous myth. In the mind of the average man in the street, Israeli history begins in 1948, when the independence of the State of Israel was proclaimed. And if we believe in the concept of "the state in exchange for the Holocaust," it would be logical to assume that the country arose on an equal footing by the decision of the United Nations, the will and the forces of the world community.
However, the establishment of the Jewish state is a much longer historical process that began long before the events described.
Jewish youth from Russia founded a "new yishuv" in Palestine as early as the 1880-ies. The kibbutz movement developed from the beginning of the 20th century. Modern Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 year. The prototype of the IDF, the military organization of self-defense "Haganah" operated since 1920 year. All this happened in parallel with the construction of new towns and villages, the development of infrastructure, cultural expansion through a network of Hebrew schools, etc.
Simply put, by 1948, the Jewish state already existed de facto, so it was more about recognizing its independence. And it is certainly impossible to assert that somebody "gave" this state to the Jews.
Myth 3. "They fell on their heads"
Opponents of Israel love this concept, as it, like the previous paragraphs, delegitimizes the Jewish presence in the region. In a simplified, philistine way, the situation is as follows: yes, under Tsar Gorokh Jews had ancient Israel, then they 2000 years somewhere somewhere, and then they showed up and began to swing. Not very clever opponents actually start the "rights to swing", resting on the Bible and the ancient promise, than they only support this myth.
In reality, Jewish settlements in Palestine existed alongside the diaspora. Actually, the very concept of "new yishuv" for the immigration of 1880-ies is exactly the "old yishuvu", that is, the classical Jewish population that was in place long before the new fashion for Zionism. Undoubtedly, all these years the Jews were a minority, but to declare "you were not here", having eliminated the Jewish presence from the history of Palestine, it will not work.
The same Bible (Old Testament) we read with a vowel, not a set of consonants, thanks to the works of Ben Asher and other "Masoretes" - Jewish grammars who worked in Tiberias and Jerusalem in the VII-XI centuries. The Moscow academy, which is notorious in our time, where riots took place with the participation of Caucasian students, is named after the Jewish catechist Maimonides, who lived alternately in Egypt and then in Palestine in the 12th century. Finally, the work Shulchan Arukh, known to every network anti-Semite, was written by Joseph Karo in Safed, the cradle of Kabbalistic thought, and it was back in the 16th century.
Myth 4. I was kicked out of the hut
The problem of "Palestinian refugees" is ideologically extremist, so it's impossible to give an unambiguous assessment to these events. But you can identify the facts.
Indeed, as a result of the 1947-1949 war, hundreds of thousands of Arabs left their homes. According to the Israeli side, this is a consequence of Muslim propaganda, which intimidated the local population with horrors about the fact that the Jews are going to arrange a genocide. According to the Arabs themselves, they were driven out by the enemy army. For the sake of the purity of research, I would like to say that "the truth is somewhere in the middle," but, as is often the case with the good Mohammedans, the truth is visibly distorted between the finger and the elbow, and strongly toward the elbow.
An undeniable fact is that the "Jewish genocide" did not happen. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs continued to live under the Jewish government both then and subsequently after the Six Day War. You can, of course, nod at the individual excesses of the type of events in Deir Yassin, but the excess is something and the kurtosis that gets famous because of the exception to the rules.
At the same time, a significant number of "Palestinian refugees" migrated no further than the West Bank. Of course, leaving your home is very unpleasant, but is it worth moving to 50-100 kilometers as an exile, the question is open. The issue of the displacement of civilians during hostilities is still surprisingly one-sided: the same Arab relocation at 50 kilometers is a "Catastrophe", and a similar escape of Jews from Arab lands under the protection of the IDF has no name at all and it does not seem to be a problem.
Meanwhile, all "Palestinian refugees" (including those who moved to the neighboring village) - 300 thousand people, according to the most courageous estimates. At the same time, from Arab countries, where there was no war at all, following the events of 1948 year, up to 800 thousand Jews were expelled.
Now in Israel live more than 1,5 million Arab-citizens, several million more Arabs are in the controlled territories. At the same time, "Judenfrai" was declared in the Gaza Strip, and it can be said with a high degree of certainty that not a single Jew has remained there. The Arab can walk the streets of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv and even carry an Israeli passport in his pocket, while a Jew, even though he does not do Gaza with three passages, will be killed. Who is a refugee here, and who is an occupier and an expropriator, judge for yourself.
Myth 5. "Freedom for Palestine!"
All of the above arguments against biased mythology could easily be broken by one single objection: "Freedom to Palestine!" One misfortune is that there is no Palestine. And there was never.
This in itself is an exclusively geographical name. Until 1970-ies of the Arab connotation, the word "Palestine" did not exist, the people "Palestinians" have simply not been invented yet. The confrontation itself was called the "Arab-Israeli conflict", which is logical: it was precisely the conflict between Israel and neighboring Arab states, and the local Arab population did not represent any independent force acting as a bargaining chip for the leaders of the Islamic world.
Suffice it to say that Egypt and Jordan left behind half of the territory of the alleged Arab state after the war, but nobody bothered to create it. It was much more profitable to swing the concept of oppressed "Palestinians" and use them as an argument in bargaining with the West.
This concept is in its own way brilliant: the substitution is so obvious that any logical objections overwhelm its arrogance. By the way, in the case of Ukraine, the focus is on the same pattern: the geographic area is declared by the state, the local population is a special people.
So there were Ukrainians, just like the Palestinians. With the same success tomorrow may appear Sibirs, Alpine or Gibraltar.
It is another matter that at the moment the formation of a new nation of "Palestinians" can be considered accomplished, albeit unpleasant for Jews, a fact. But if it is a question of civilized discussion, noblesse oblige to remember the circumstances of the formation of this concept and less to rest on the idea that "the Jews drove us from the ancestral lands of our people."
Choosing the most distant position, far from personal sympathy for Israelis or Palestinians, it should probably be admitted that this is a conflict between two young nations formed already in the post-colonial world. And their mutual claims should be considered from the rational point of view of the day - without appeal to mythology. Then, perhaps, could have a reasonable conversation, but the chronicle of the seventy-year-old confrontation leaves little hope for it.