Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Did the U.N. Create the State of Israel?

Jeremy Hammond, founder of the Foreign Policy Journal, wrote an article in his journal titled, "The Myth of the U.N. Creation of Israel." In the article he tries to show that the U.N. decision to partition Palestine into two countries--one Jewish and one Arab--was an illegal decision that deprived the Arab majority of Palestine their right to self-determination. Thus, he argues, Israel cannot claim legal standing as a nation based on the U.N. vote to establish a Jewish state.

I have several problems with the article, including his misleading use of statistical data. For example, he sees huge inequity in the fact that "Jews owned less than 7 percent" of the land prior to partition but were "awarded 55.5 percent of the total area for their state." He fails to note, however, that an extremely large percentage of the land partitioned to Israel was in the modern Negev. This land was desert, almost completely devoid of any inhabitants.

But before I could write a response I came across another article that provides a strong rebuttal to Hammond. It was written by Dr. Mordechai Nisan, a lecturer in Middle East Studies at Hebrew University, and is titled "Is UN Creation of Israel a Myth? Ask Foreign Policy Journal." Dr. Nisan does a masterful job answering the arguments of Jeremy Hammond. One key point in the article is the truth that, ultimately, the U.N. didn't create Israel. The state was created because the Jewish population fought for their right of self-determination against an Arab population unwilling to accept a Jewish state in their midst.

I strongly encourage you to read both articles. Anyone interested in the Middle East needs to understand the historical issues surrounding the establishment of Israel. I believe Hammond's article illustrates a growing attempt on the part of some to delegitimize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. Those who believe God's land promises to Israel are still valid also need to know other ways to answer critics who won't accept the message of the Bible. And Dr. Nisan helps provide those answers!


  1. Dear Charlie,

    In your reply here, you mischaracterize my article. You state I tried "to show that the U.N. decision to partition Palestine ... was an illegal decision". This is false. I never argued this, and it's a false premise. The U.N. did not make a "decision" to partition Palestine. As I discuss in my article, U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181 adopted UNSCOP's recommendation that Palestine be partitioned. It was just that -- a recommendation. I never argued this resolution was "illegal". I merely pointed out that, absent mutual consent from both parties to accept that proposal, neither the General Assembly nor the Security Council had any authority to implement it by force, and doing so would be a violation of the U.N. Charter.

    You suggest that noting Jews owned less than 7 percent of the land and yet the partition plan, had it been implemented, would have awarded them 55.5 percent of the total area for their state is "misleading" because much of that land was in the Negev. Nevertheless, Arabs owned 85% of the land, which means that even if we accept your argument, the fact remains that the plan, had it been implemented, would have meant taking enormous swaths of land from its rightful Arab owners to give to the Jews. So citing these facts is in no way "misleading".

    You state that Dr. Nisan made "a strong rebuttal" to my article. In fact, Dr. Nisan acknowledges that my thesis is correct -- the U.N. did not create Israel. You yourself also admit this truth. However, the claim that Israel came into existence because the Jews "fought for their right of self-determination against an Arab population unwilling to accept a Jewish state in their midst" is a gross mischaracterization of the situation. The Arab majority wished to exercise their own, equal right to self-determination, and they were willing to recognize and respect that equal right of the Jewish minority by proposing a single, democratic state with constitutional guarantees protecting the rights of the minority and guaranteeing Jewish representation. It was not the Arabs who rejected Jewish self-determination, but the Zionists who rejected Arab self-determination. Israel was founded upon that rejection, manifested in the racist act of ethnic cleansing that was necessary to demographically create the "Jewish state".

    As for your assertion that God gave the land to Israel, and those who deny this "won't accept the message of the Bible", I suggest you read the Bible more carefully, because it doesn't support that argument, even if we were to accept the assumption that a state's legitimacy could possibly derive from a religious text (see my article "Woe to you, Christain Zionist, Hypocrites!" for more).

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