Talking about the Law of Return, Betsey Aronson (May 24 letter ) said, "This statute favors the entrance of Jews to what is, after all, a Jewish homeland." To discriminate in favor of the Jews would be a more accurate way of putting it. Also, if history can be of any guidance, the Jews controlled most of Palestine and had an independent kingdom from 1011-931 BC; they had two separate kingdoms from 931-721 BC; that is a total of 290 years. If we add, as a bonus, the period of the small Kingdom of Judah from 721-587 BC, the total will be 424 years. Compare that with 1,300 years of Arab control of Palestine from the 7th century to the 20th. Why then should Palestine be a Jewish homeland? (Using the same defective logic, the Arabs who controlled Spain from the 8th century to the 15th can also be entitled to claim it back.) If the reason is religion not history, Christianity is certainly a strong candidate, too. After all, Palestine is the Holy Land, not just a Jewish homeland.
For Edward Gewirtz (May 24 letter ), "The Jewish people are returning to the Jewish people's homeland after almost 2,000 years in exile." Do we have to assume that this "homeland" was put on hold and left barren waiting for the "returnees"? Do we also have to assume that Americans of the Jewish faith live here in "exile"? If so, why are they not "returning"? If we take this absurdity to its logical conclusion, then Ben-Gurion was right when he said, referring to American Jews, that "so long as there is not a movement of personal immigration ... the Zionist movement has no right to call itself a Zionist movement." This is the kind of nonsense we get when religion is mixed with politics. And this is what Zionist Israel has been doing since its inception using Judaism to achieve its political aims. For American Jews to support such a state is hypocritical, since they are the main proponents of separation of church and state in this country.
June 12, 1991
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