Regular readers will know of my abiding admiration for the Jewish race. Of course, like all of us, they have their faults and weaknesses but, dammit, it is impossible not to admire their intelligence which has been honed, I guess, by the desire to exist despite several thousand years of persecution and a world-wide enforced diaspora. It is entirely understandable, with that history, that the Jews yearned for a return to what they consider to be their homeland in Palestine. It is also understandable that a considerable number of non-Jews, many of them in high positions of political power, and all troubled by their consciences given the never-ending, historical cruelty meted out to Jews, threw their weight behind the idea of a Jewish homeland.
It was worthy but was it wise?
This irritating question has niggled away at the back of what passes for my mind for several years because whilst it may have brought joy to Jews, equally it brought extreme distress to Palestinians. This morning, Melanie McDonagh at The Coffee House, sums up the moral and political dilemma:
[W]hen it comes to the founding of the state of Israel 70 years ago, the inescapable fact is that it was founded on the expulsion or displacement of over 700,000 people, Palestinians who had next to no involvement with the persecution of the Jews in the Holocaust which gave urgency to the question of a Jewish state. They did not intend to vacate their homes for the founders of the new state; they left terrified, but, by and large, fully intending to return. Three, four, generations on, they are still refugees, and the consequences for neighbouring states like Lebanon has been nothing short of catastrophic.
Needless to say, the world has spun on its axis a zillion times since the Balfour Declaration in 1917 and the situation we, and the Jews and the Palestinians face is now unrecognisable to how it looked in 1948 when the state of Israel was founded.
(I am under orders from 'you know who' so I will return to this complex subject on my return later this afternoon.)