Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Defending Israel against the distortion of history and morality

In 1967, in response to the outbreak of the Six Day War, Murray Rothbard published an article entitled “War Guilt in the Middle East“. In the article, Rothbard denies Israel’s right to exist and accuses it of starting an unjust war.
Now, 50 years later, three of his students, Walter Block, Alan Futerman and Rafi Faber have written a rebuttal, just published in The Indonesian Journal of International & Comparative Law.
This rebuttal is long overdue. Rothbard's article is so horribly flawed and inconsistent with his general framework of libertarian principles as to raise questions about the character of the author. This rebuttal is, unfortunately, very long - but much of this is explained by extensive citations and footnote excursions. Despite the length, it is well worth reading in full for anyone who wants to say anything at all about Israel and the Palestinians in today's world. Click on the link below. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Israel at the beginning.

Those of us who know something of the history of Israel, know that the 1948 war was a close call, and that, in the early phases, the state of Israel stood on a knife's edge and the Jewish population faced a mass slaughter. This documentary reveals just how close it was. But for the efforts of a handful of, mainly American, volunteer-pilots the outcome would probably have been very different.
It is a story of these pilots, but incidentally also a chronicle of the war and the context in which it occurred. Contrary to the conventional wisdom in some quarters, the Jewish population at the time was composed of immigrants mainly from eastern Europe who, over many decades, had bought land to settle, and was augmented since 1945 by the remnants of the holocaust. Many settled in the cities, had jobs, and worked to build a better future for their families than they left behind in the ghettos or death-camps. The Jews *had no state apparatus by which to appropriate land* and would have been happy to coexist peacefully with the local Arab population - which, in many cases, they did.
The Arabs, or more accurately those Arab leaders who had gained power by the mid-1930's (the precursors of the Muslim Brotherhood), saw it as a tribal matter. The presence of autonomous Jews (infidels) on "Arab" land was intolerable. The partition was necessary simply because the Arabs refused to live in the same state as the Jewish settlers. Certainly, the success of the Jewish immigrants might have bred resentment, which helped fuel xenophobic support for the Arab cause. The Arabs (by which I mean those who followed these leaders) accepted the partition simply as a prelude to the destruction of the Jews - they would be killed or expelled at the first opportunity. The rest is history.
If you are a libertarian and you believe in the freedom of people to immigrate peacefully into an area to work in a job your were voluntarily hired to do or on land you acquired through voluntary exchange, you cannot see the causes of this war in terms of the expulsion of one people by another. The Palestinian crisis was created by the decision of the Palestinian Arab leaders to destroy the Jews and the decision of the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq to help them do it. And they nearly succeeded.
Watch this video.