Jewish National Rights Were Internationally Recognized Long Before the Holocaust

(Spectator-UK) Alex Ryvchin - For the Jewish people the tiny sliver of land between the Jordan River and the eastern Mediterranean coast has always been their nation's birthplace and homeland, the fountainhead of the Hebrew language and Jewish civilization, thought and culture. Despite the weight of their history, the Jews have never allowed their tragic past to impede the development of their future. Nowhere is this more evident than in the crystallization of the Jewish yearning to return and self-govern, into a coherent national liberation movement rooted in decolonization and indigenous rights, which restored the Jews to their ancestral lands and saw the rebirth of a Jewish homeland. But rather than being a source of strength and purpose from which to build something hopeful and constructive, the Palestinian conception of history has overwhelmingly been a source of bitterness, its manifestations have been frequently destructive, invariably tragic. The resulting wars, terror campaigns, and petulant storm-outs from peace summits have preserved the Palestinian view of history, and sustained the people in a perfect belief in their own victimhood at the cost of achieving a Palestinian state and finally ending the conflict. Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki announced that the Palestinians intend to commence legal action against Britain for proclaiming the Balfour Declaration in November 1917. In fact, the Balfour Declaration gave nothing to anyone. It simply expressed British support for the idea that the Jews, a people indigenous to the land, should be able to return there to reconstitute their national home if they so desired following the collapse of Ottoman colonial rule. It was the League of Nations, the predecessor of the United Nations, and not a solitary British minister, that recognized the "historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine" and the "grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country." It further encouraged "close settlement by Jews on the land." These binding international pronouncements, published decades before the Nazi period, demonstrate that Jewish national rights were recognized long before the Holocaust made the justice of a Jewish homeland not only self-evident but urgent. The writer is public affairs director for the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

2016-08-15 00:00:00

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