In his recent column in The Jewish Week, Gary Rosenblatt wrote about how the Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen (not to be confused with the New York Times columnist Roger Cohen) evolved from viewing that six decades of conflict showed that the creation was a mistake to pinning the blame for the conflict on Arab Jew-hatred. His journey began as a result of the responses he got to a column he wrote in 2006 which started:
Israel was “an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable, but the idea of creating a nation of Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now.”While Cohen's discovery of the pervasiveness of anti-semitism in the mid-20th century and change in views is of interest, I would like to suggest a counterfactual history to compare to Cohen's observation that Arab terrorism arose in the wake of the creation of Israel. What would have happened in this country if, instead of abandoning Reconstruction after little more than a decade, we had seen it through to completion never allowing Jim Crow to see the light of day? From the history of Reconstruction, we know that the Klan and other other white supremacist groups relied on terrorism as extensively as the Arabs do today in order to prevent the n!*@#rs from rising above the station that they considered appropriate for them. Indeed, Jesse James was considered a hero in Missouri while Reconstruction was ongoing (as an aside, that changed after Reconstruction ended) because he put the n!*@#rs in their place, much like Palestinian society and their western supporters lionize those whose only accomplishment is killing Jews who were doing nothing more than enjoying time on a beach. It is safe to say that if Reconstruction had continued, the Klan and the bushwhackers would have continued their campaign of terror as long as Reconstruction would have been extended.
Now, suppose that Reconstruction to have continued for several decades and the terror in response were to have continued for decades with it. Would the decades of white supremacist terror constitute proof that emancipating the negros (the polite term in the mid-19th century for those of African descent) was a mistake? The reaction of the followers in the bushwhackers modern-day footsteps shows nothing that the bushwhackers' determination did not.