January 28, 2006

Herzl and "transfer"

No special reason for posting this now. I just remember a zionist commenting here once that the founder of "modern political" zionism, Theodor Herzl never intended the removal of the Palestinians from what would become the Jews' state. Here's the quote that most people are aware of to prove that Herzl intended that the natives would be removed from Palestine.
We must expropriate gently the private property on the state assigned to us. We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it employment in our country. The property owners will come over to our side. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discretely and circumspectly. Let the owners of the immoveable property believe that they are cheating us, selling us things for more than they are worth. But we are not going to sell them anything back.
Now that looks pretty clear to me and to most people but one detractor did come here (again and again) to complain that what Herzl went on to say in this passage meant that he actually wanted coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Palestine. This of course begs the question of what would be so Jewish about the Jews' state if Jews had no special status there. But anyway, here's how the passage unfolds as related by the zionist rabbi, Dr Chaim Simons:
Herzl realised that secrecy and discretion were necessary to put these ideas into practice. His diary entry thus continues, “The property-owners will come over to our side. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly. Let the owners of immovable property believe that they are cheating us, selling us things for more than they are worth. But we are not going to sell them anything back.”

Herzl described his methods of expropriation. “The voluntary expropriation will be accomplished through our secret agents. The Company would pay excessive prices.” Herzl was determined that once property had been acquired it would be retained in the hands of the Jews. “We shall then sell only to Jews, and all real estate will be traded only among Jews,” he said. As a qualified lawyer, Herzl realised that he would not be able to declare sales to non-Jews invalid. He therefore took precautions to avoid resale to non-Jews, as he wrote, “If the owner wants to sell the property, we shall have the right to buy it back at our original sale price.”

Herzl realised that some property owners would, for sentimental reasons, be reluctant to part with their properties and in such cases these people “will be offered a complete transportation to any place they wish, like our own people. This offer will be made only when all others have been rejected.”
This guy Chaim Simons has a whole site devoted to pressing the case for the expulsion of the native population from Palestine. It makes for interesting reading because of his calm casual style. Incidentally this guy who thinks it only right and proper that he has more right to live in Palestine than the Arabs who come from there do, and even more right than those who live there now, is a Londoner. I found the link to his writingson the very useful resource site: Palestine Remembered.

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