The chosen people

Jonathan Ofir, an Israeli musician, conductor and blogger a writer based in Denmark. -is getting us ready for the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Dclaration


Ofir below uses a fairly arcane word “volkisch”—tribal and ethnonationalist., Arab marginalization, racist. Meron Benvenisti the former Deputy-Mayor of Jerusalem uses a similar word to describe Israeli democracy “herrenvolk’ —a democracy where the majority disenfranchises the minority; it smacks as the German suggests, a ‘master folk, exceptional people, innately superior, as in 19th cntury colonialism, those who would bring superior gifts to the locals.

In much of Gideon Levy’s writings he harps on the idea seemingly very much alive in israel, that many regard themselves and Jews in general as “chosen” and “eceptional” and ‘we can do anything we want and international law does not apply to us.”

Here is Ofir
The Zionist venture was from the outset meant as a völkisch nation-state colonialist project. Whilst the Balfour letter regards a ‘national home’, one should not be too naïve about what this would eventually mean. In fact, Herzl’s diary entry from 1895, saying that “We shall have to spirit the penniless population (the Arabs) across the border … while denying it any employment in our own country”, could have already betrayed the real goals of Zionism from the outset. The reason why such designs were generally obscured from the public as far as possible (and still are), is already outlined in the continuation of Herzl’s mentioned diary entry, which states that “expropriation and the removal of the poor [indigenous population] must be carried out discretely and circumspectly”. These notions of ‘discretion’ and ‘circumspection’ lie at the heart of the reason of how Zionism managed to get so far in its diplomatic efforts to secure international and imperial powers to aid its cause.

Nor should one be in doubt as to the designs of Balfour himself. In 1919 he responded to Lord Curzon, that “in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country …. The Four Great Powers are committed to Zionism. And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land”. (In Geoffrey Lewis, Balfour and Weizmann, 2009). –


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