compulsory reading

Political Correctness, ad 1920.

In light of the spiral of violence that has once again engulfed the peoples living in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, Spiegel Online has published a feature containing articles covering the main stages of the conflict in the course of the last fifty-five years.

Of course, for well known reasons, they could not go further back to cover the – non religious – roots of the conflict. So I checked the online archives of “The Atlantic” and found some interesting articles dating from a time when the Osman rule of the area ended, and Britain and France divided the area among themselves (with a league of nations cover…), a few years after the famous “Balfour declaration” calling for a Jewish homeland in the British mandate area, when there was no Palestinian nationalism to speak of and when the clans previously ruling the area were only too happy to sell largely uninhabitable land to Jewish settlers with the dream of living in Zion.

The dynamics of the eternal conflict to be were quite different at the time. So was political correctness – I suppose – as the following quote from a 1920 article from “The Atlantic” demonstrates –

“Any practical experiment toward the attainment of a contented Jewish people would be welcome. At present, large communities of Jews never live in perfect amity with Gentile neighbors; and it would be instructive to see whether, in a self-contained Jewish state, they could live in amity with one another. It would also give them a chance to show whether they possess the attributes of a ruling people — a question to which the answer is, at present, largely uncertain.”