We mustn’t be so hard on the anti-Zionists; a lot of them don’t really think the Jews deserve to be stateless forever, in fact they’re generous souls who think there’s no problem with the Jews having a state of their own, just not in Palestine. From the soft-spoken ones who argue the point in academic treatises to the trolls who dump on pro-Israel forums with stuff like “Next Year in Brooklyn!” (because everybody knows Solomon’s Temple was built in Brooklyn /sarc; but just make the slightest suggestion that the non-Jewish “Palestinian nation” is a recent invention and those same people flare in righteous anger), the anti-Zionists say the only problem with the Jewish state is the chosen location.
This brings me to a series of little thought-experiments, but before I begin, I wish to clear the difference between the anti-Zionist stance and the different “Bad Neighborhood” position voiced by various people such as the late Yoram Kaniuk and isolationists. As one American paleoconservative and a true isolationist (a lot of them only pretend to be isolationists, right before spewing the same anti-American and anti-Zionist points you’d get from the Far Left) put it to me on some forum, “I don’t care about the Middle East conflict either way, but you’ve got to realize you’ve built your state in a bad neighborhood.” That’s a position I can respect. My only disagreement, as with the quote on the back cover of Kaniuk’s book, is that it’s out of date: True, Israel is in a bad neighborhood, but our neighbors are no longer confined to the Middle East, as the recent news about Boston, London and Stockholm make clear.
But let me get back to the anti-Zionists, the ones who do care about the Middle East conflict of all the many conflicts in the world for some reason, the ones who say the Jews had the right to set up a state of their own (how kind of them) but they should have set it in a place not already inhabited by “a people who had been on the place for generations.” That’s already one big assumption—to name just a few examples going against that narrative, the family of Arab Knesset member Azmi Bisharah settled in Palestine in the 19th century, and Arafat and Edward Said both came from Egypt—but you know what, I’ll go with it now. Let us embark on a counterfactual journey where we survey the relations of a Jewish state set up elsewhere in the world.
Where do we begin? The most famous proposal for a Jewish national polity outside of Palestine was, of course, Uganda. Actually, Herzl did not suggest setting up the permanent Jewish state there; he suggested it only as a temporary place of shelter while his quest for a charter from the Ottoman Sultan for Jewish inhabitation of Palestine was in the process, not knowing that the Ottoman Empire was not long for the world. But what if, by unforeseen circumstances, Uganda had become the Jewish state?
The answer is so easy: Consider that the present conflict over Palestine is between Jews in Israel who come in all colors (black Ethiopians, brown Sephardim, white Ashkenazim) and Arabs who come in all colors (black Bedouin descendants of slaves from Zanzibar, brown Arabs in many parts and white Arabs in the Galilee), yet the Far Left anti-Zionists have managed to shoehorn this conflict into their race-based view of “white European colonists” versus “brown indigenous Palestinians,” together with a spurious comparison to South Africa to boot. Can you imagine what they’d make of a conflict between the Jews and the black Ugandans? They’d absolutely have a field day with their racial theories then.
The runner-up after Uganda, though much less known, is Argentina, where Baron Hirsch made serious efforts to build self-sufficient Jewish communities in the late 19th century to prepare for statehood. Argentina’s not a bad place, but I mustn’t let my love for Argentine cuisine blind me to the fact that a Jewish state set up there would be confronted with the “Jewish colonists vs. indigenous peoples” once again, the indigenous peoples this time being the local Indians, descendants of the pre-Columbian inhabitants. The Far Left still castigates the United States of America for having been founded on American Indian land, holding back on the vitriol somewhat only because the U.S. is too big a foe to be overcome in the ways they seek to do for Israel; with a Jewish state in Argentina, they would not hold back any more than with the Jewish state on the Land of Israel.
Since I’m touching on American territory, it would be appropriate to refer to the suggestions often made by anti-Zionists that the Jewish state should have been set up in a piece of the vast expanses of North America. Again, a “Jewish reservation” on North American soil would be charged with some made-up pretext of “oppressing the indigenous,” and the charges would be made by the same type of people who would not apply the standard of “evacuating stolen lands” to themselves, because that would entail leaving the comfort of their armchairs.
Now let’s go to a different proposal, the one attributed to an Arabian king, the founder of the House of Saud. As the anti-Zionists will tell you, he suggested the Jewish state be carved out of Germany after its defeat in WWII, as an act of compensation for the Holocaust. It sounds like a most pragmatic suggestion at first: If the Germans ever raise objections to it later, remind them that it is because of the Holocaust. (Amazingly, the same people who favor this proposal are the loudest voices accusing Israel of using the Holocaust for political gain.)
Putting aside my wonder at the optimism of some people—then again, those are the same ones who think a binational state in Palestine could work—I have to point out the flaw in this plan even if the Germans acquiesced to it. Look at Western Europe today, the target of mass colonization by Muslims from the Third World. Do you think they would let a Jewish state in Germany continue to exist? The depredations suffered by Jews under their hands, as in Toulouse for example, say otherwise. They would not be moved by the memory of the Holocaust, either. For one thing, those of them who don’t deny the Holocaust think it’s a totally European affair (it isn’t; beside the Mufti of Jerusalem joining the Nazi cause, it was the Arab pressure on Britain that made the latter close the doors to Jewish refugees of the one land that actually belonged to them). For another, the Islamic world has yet to apologize for its genocides of the Hindus and the Armenians, so don’t expect any remorse even if they were to acknowledge their part in the Holocaust (the aforementioned pressuring of Britain that doomed millions of Jews).
There is no escaping it: Other places for a Jewish state would run into the same problems as today, the problem of charges of oppressing the indigenous peoples of the area, or the problem of Islamic imperialists wishing to bring the Jews under dhimmitude, or both. The only remaining places that might be exempt would be desolate ones like Birobidzhan, which, at his convenience, Stalin dissolved as quickly as he made it a Jewish autonomous region, or Antarctica, as suggested to me by one neo-Nazi troll posting on Frontpage Mag. However, as in Jurassic Park, so with Jew-hatred, nature always finds a way; a Jewish state in Antarctica would probably be targeted for environmentalist reasons, such as liberating the Penguistinian population from oppression by its Ziontarctic masters. I wish I could be only joking about this, but in our insane world it would be perfectly possible.
In summary, despite the contention of the anti-Zionists that a different location would have prevented all conflict, it takes only a little common-sense reasoning to realize that things would be much the same. Whether it is the indigenous peoples of another place or the fact that our “bad neighborhood” has come to settle and colonize most of the First World, the Jews would not know peace and safety in a state outside the Land of Israel any more than on it. And worse, those would really be places that a Jew could never consider home, just as a Greek in the 1820s could not seriously accept building a new Parthenon outside Hellas.
The best outcome, then, is the very outcome that has actually ensued: That the Jews have set up their state in their ancestral homeland of the Land of Israel a.k.a. Palestine, the only place in the world they can fight for with self-confidence, for they are its one and only indigenous people. Thus the Zionist is in the best position to turn the tables on the anti-Zionists, by making it clear to them that his is a movement for the self-determination of an indigenous people while theirs is about supporting imperialist aggression and colonialist theft of land perpetrated at the indigenous Palestinian nation—the Jewish nation.