The partition of Palestine

Image: Fatih Guney


Long before the Holocaust became a Jewish fixation, the UN was already using this tragedy to justify the immoral partition of Palestine.

Most Jews live outside of Israel. At the beginning of 2019, the world's Jewish population, those who identify as Jews most of all, was estimated at 14,7 million (or 0,2% of 7,89 billion humans). When you consider those who say they are part-Jewish or who have Jewish ancestry from at least a single Jewish parent, that figure rises to about 17,9 million. Of this total, 51% live in the United States, compared to 30% who live in Israel. Together, these two countries account for 81% of the world's Jewish population.[I]

Based on this demographic composition, is it, at the very least, unreasonable to create a State to house only 30% of those who confess to being Jews? This question can be put in other, much more disturbing terms. Founded in May 1948, Israel was born as a state located in the heart of Palestine, to house only a population that, at that time, corresponded to only 30% of the people who lived in that country, compared to almost 70% of Palestinians who had lived there for a long time. millennia, in the “land of Canaan”.

And what is most intriguing: “almost all cultivated land was owned by the [Palestinian] natives – only 5,8% was owned by Jews in 1947…”.[ii] The hypocrisy of UN Resolution 181, established in November 1947, which established the partition of Palestine, dividing it between Jews and Arabs, is thus revealed. The former got 55% of the territory and the Palestinians got only 45%.

It is therefore clear that the Partition Resolution completely ignored the ethnic composition of the region. “Had it wanted to match the territory in which the Jews would settle in Palestine”, protests Ilan Pappé, rightly so, the UN would have reserved “no more than 10%” for them. “But the UN,” he continues, “accepted the nationalist demands of the Zionist movement over Palestine and, even more, sought to compensate the Jews for the Nazi Holocaust in Europe.”[iii]

Now, such compassionate reparation was very far from corresponding to the true feeling of the largest Jewish community in the world, the North American one. At the time the State of Israel was created, it did not have any emotional experience due to the extermination suffered by the Jews in the Nazi concentration camps. Until the end of the sixties of the last century, “No monument or tribute marked the Nazi Holocaust in the United States. On the contrary, most Jewish organizations opposed such celebrations.”[iv]

How can this absence of memory of the Holocaust be explained? “The common explanation,” argues Norman Finkelstein, is that Jews were traumatized by the Nazi Holocaust and therefore repressed its memory.” The author of The Holocaust Industry goes further to clarify that “the real reason for public silence about Nazi extermination was the conformist politics of the American Jewish leadership and the postwar political climate.” Jewish organizations embraced American politics, “forgetting the Nazi Holocaust because Germany – West Germany in 1949 – became a crucial post-war American ally in the US confrontation with the Soviet Union.

Digging into the past would not be helpful; In fact, it was a complication”[v]. (…). It was not until the Arab-Israeli war of June 1967 that “the Holocaust became a fixation in the lives of American Jews.” From then on, the dogma about the “eternal hatred of non-Jews served both to justify the need for a Jewish state and to benefit from the hostility directed towards Israel.”[vi].

Given this scenario, there is no denying it: long before the Holocaust became a fixation for Jews, notably North Americans, the UN was already using this tragedy to justify the immoral partition of Palestine. But that's not the only reason behind that sharing. More important than any sentimental appeal underlies a geopolitical issue, which, at the time, was not yet clear, but would, over time, become central: Israel's strategic position as a springboard for United States policy in that region.

40 years ago, the Secretary of State of Ronald Reagan's government, Alexander M. Haig, would put everything “on a clean slate”, pronouncing the sentence that “Israel is the largest American aircraft carrier, it is unsinkable, it does not carry any soldiers American and is located in a region critical to US national security.”

Ah, poor nation! Located in an area vital to Western domination of the East, Palestine had to be a prey to North American imperialism.

*Francisco Teixeira and pprofessor at the Regional University of Cariri (URCA) and retired professor at the State University of Ceará (UECE). Author, among other books, of Thinking with Marx: A critical-commented reading of Capital (Rehearsal).


[I] This data was extracted from Wikipedia, which, in turn, takes as a reference the statistics collected by the Jewish Agency.

[ii] Pappe, Ilan. Palestine's ethnic cleansing. São Paulo: Sunderman. 2016, p.50.

[iii] Idem, Ibidem, p. 51.

[iv] Finkelstein, Norman G. The Holocaust Industry: reflections on the exploitation of Jewish suffering. Rio de Janeiro: 2001, p.25.

[v] Idem. Ibidem, p. 25/26.

[vi] Idem. Ibidem, p. 61/62.

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