A Palestinian man salvages gas canisters from the ruins of buildings destroyed by what police said were Israeli air strikes and shelling in Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip August 3, 2014.
Israel did not arise from the struggle of a settled indigenous people fighting for territorial independence from Western colonial powers as was the case in dozens of nations throughout the Americas, Africa, Levant and Asia over the past two centuries.
Israel is no ordinary state. It's in a class by itself. Israel was born of the iron will of a small, very close-knit and highly organized ethnic group bent on occupying a specific territory in obedience to ancient religious tradition and highly doubtful historical continuity.
Cosmopolitan Ashkenazim and Sephardic Jews combined their leaders' immense political, financial, media and diplomatic clout to ensure European Jews would, against all odds, get their homeland in Palestine. This entailed ignoring the interests and lives of millions of Palestinians living there for many generations, which for the past eighty years has meant untold suffering and millions of dead, maimed and injured throughout the Middle East; today, it even means risking a new global war.
The fight for a Jewish homeland is rooted in 19th Century movements promoting "
: the forced emigration of Central European Jews - notably from Russia, Poland, Ukraine and Germany - into Palestine, as well as North and South America.
The undisputed founding father of International Zionism was Viennese lawyer Theodor Herzl who convened the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland in 1898. His seminal book, Ein Judenstaat
("A Jewish State"
) published in 1896 sets out the rationale, method and plan for founding a sovereign Jewish State, discretely leaving the door open for founding not just one but two Jewish states.