Thursday, July 24, 2014

Chomsky on BDS and right of return,0

Among other things, he dismisses the Right of Return:

"The opening call of the BDS movement…demanded that Israel fully comply with international law by ""…(3) Respecting, protecting, and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194."" "


"While there is universal support for for (1), there is virtually no meaningful support for (3) beyond the the BDS movement itself.  Nor is (3) dictated by international law.  The text of UN General Assembly Resolution 194 is conditional, and in any event it is a recommendation, without the legal force of the Security Council resolutions that Israel regularly violates.  Insistence on (3) is a virtual guarantee of failure."

I suspect Chomsky's assessment of the international support, law, possibility of success and optimal strategy (see first paragraph of my congressional letter in later post following Chomsky's advice) here for the liberation of the State of Palestine may be accurate (though misleading on the "only support coming from BDS movement"…the causality is rather that supporters of Right of Return support BDS also…and Right of Return has had huge popular support in the world).  On the law, I think it depends on the judge.  Wikipedia makes interesting reading on the Right of Return, there does appear to be a lot of support for it, but then also, just as Chomsky says, the support is advisory.

However the Right of Return is an obvious ethical standard for illegal dispossession, and if not a non-negotiable demand, it should not be excluded from negotiation--since it most clearly is the obvious ethical standard, it should be the starting point.  True, given that starting point, it's not easy to negotiate something else acceptable.  But that is and should be the way it is…national dispossession is a huge loss to the dispossessed!  A loss comparable to the output of many generations!  How much would your
people sacrifice to hold on to their lovely homeland between the Sea and the River!  That is the loss that has been imposed, and likely the only remotely just outcome would in fact be right of return.  And that wouldn't even be counting the generations of suffering that has been caused by the Zionist project.

[Which was also not done as Herzl said.  If only the Zionists of the 1940's had created a state with mutual respect, occupancy and fair deals at the time rather than terrorist operations and imperialist manipulation and collaboration, decades of suffering and perhaps ultimate failure could have been avoided.  Modern Zionism betrayed its founders.  It also betrayed and corrupted its alleged religion, Judaism.  In Judaism, respect for the other is mandatory.  Failure to respect others was the crime of Sodom.  I don't know if the modern Zionist project will fail.  Many terrible things have succeeded to the present.  Sometimes things get better.]

I find that many people unfamiliar with how Israel was created--by non-regional dictates (such a UN vote, but no Arab states voting yes or self determination of the locals), violent Zionist ethnic cleansing*, and war--when the first hear about the ethnic cleansing--neighborhoods being driven out--they find the Right of Return is intuitively the right and moral thing to require in a just peace settlement.  And I think intuition would be shared with many people already fully familiar with how Israel was created as well.

{Zionists point out that Jews had been ethnically cleansed from arabic countries.  True, but the crimes of other states should not be used to justify ethnic cleansing done on Palestinians.  I would favor civil settlement--even right of return--for involuntary Jewish resettlement from arabic countries.)

Furthermore, the pre-recognition that the Right of Return be ruled out gives Israel another opportunity to forestall negotiation indefinitely and continue the annexation of Greater Israel with ethnic cleansing and war.  Just as Zionists in the 1970's created the trumped up claim that Palestinians wouldn't pre-recognize a "Right of Israel to Exist" (a right no state has, as I quoted Chomsky as aptly arguing in an earlier post) and therefore they just couldn't even talk to them because of that, now they might (? perhaps they explicitly insist on this already ?) a pre-recognition that there can be no Right of Return as well?

Even if you accept, as I do, that a universal right of return would be practically impossible, it hardly seems to be the thing that must be pre-disavowed prior to negotiation would be the very thing that would be most ethical to do under the circumstances.  It would seem rather that should be The starting point of negotiation, and if the Israelis can't make a compensation offer high enough to satisfy each displaced Palestinian family, they should give up possession of such properties which were "ethnically cleansed."  That was in fact prescribed by UN Resolution 194, which said displaced persons get their property back, unless they chose compensation instead.

Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.

Now about here any Zionist and perhaps many others as well would say that Israel cannot accept self-destruction, and that would mean a state such as Israel could not exist, as the land would become majority Arab and they would not accept a "Jewish State" as Jews need and Israel is intended to be.

So here it becomes clear that "The Right of Israel to Exist" as Zionists and many others insist is in direct contradiction of the "Right of Return," which seems the obviously ethical thing to require.

Since no state should have a "right to exist" but rather exist to serve it's population, region, and world, and since people should have a right to reclaim property which was taken by force, it's pretty clear to me which right should prevail ethically.

Now lets consider the question of what kind of compensation for losing one's fine life, work, possessions, village, community, and society.  Only 66 years or so later being able to restart somewhere else with compensation for the loss (if not the time lost suffering, and deaths).

We're certainly talking about generations of income, at least seven.  That's not even considering the suffering, but the key property, society, etc., which might take generations to rebuild somewhere else, if it wouldn't be fundamentally inferior somehow even after many generations.

So anyone thinking about this problem would realize, widespread "compensation" to a standard of justice is just unthinkable.  I wouldn't propose people being made slaves for seven generations.

So return is and can be the only answer, unless the individual chooses otherwise, just as Res 194 says.

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