I REFER to the piece by Carolyn Leckie (Criticism of Israeli state should not be outlawed, July 30). While William Steele (Website Comments, July 31) appreciated the article as a “balanced” one, I found it tendentious in parts.

The article referred to the “forced expulsion” of Arabs, and to how Israel’s formation “was nothing short of an outrageous historical injustice”, while William Steele commented that Israel should never have been founded.

Carolyn Leckie expresses intentional bias of course, nodding to the revisionist histories of Ilan Ilan Pappé and Benny Morris. She will be aware, though, that one of these historians considers the work of the other to be dishonest and sloppy, while Benny Morris has retracted and disavowed a great deal of his earlier writing on events of 1948-1949, the period of Israel’s consolidation.

I too can present intentional bias by suggesting that hundreds of thousands of Arabs from Palestine either left voluntarily with a little time to gather a few possessions, fled with nothing, were ordered to leave by local tribal and village leaders, or were expelled by Jewish militia.

As for the contention that Israel should never have been founded, its establishment was grounded on the resolutions of two separate international bodies during the course of two different international systems.

Firstly, it was affirmed in the mandate of the League of Nations in the post-1918 system. This emphasised the connection between Jews and lands within the British Mandate of Palestine, and to their right to rebuild a national home. While the League is now seen as a discredited body, the Brits did go on to establish an Arab Emirate on Mandate Territory east of the Jordan River (Transjordan, now called Jordan). So, not all bad.

Secondly, in November 1947, in the post-1945 system, the UN General Assembly also passed a resolution (Resolution 181) calling for the establishment of an Arab state and a Jewish state in lands in the remaining territory of the British Mandate of Palestine, west of the Jordan River. The resolution required inhabitants of the prospective Arab and Jewish states (based on UN partition) to take such steps as were necessary on their part for the implementation of that resolution, ie the rapid selection and the establishment in each of a provisional council of government.

This is exactly what Israel did in May 1948, and led to an assault on the nascent Jewish state by combined Arab armies. The rest is history.

Both Carolyn Leckie and William Steele refer to recent “racist” and “apartheid” laws, and random utterances of Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim on the matter were put forward as a sort of crowning argument on the matter. However, isn’t the outrage over the Israeli Basic Law on the Nation State (2018) a rather faux outrage?

The new law – part of a raft of Basic Laws making up Israel’s unwritten constitution – simply reaffirms the content of the Declaration of Independence 70 years ago, and removes neither Israeli nationality nor the right to vote from anyone.

On the matter of the right to exercise national self-determination (along with national government institutions which are the logical outcome), is national self-determination on offer to Hispanic & Latino, North African, or Russian minorities in the USA, France and Latvia? What sort of states would these then become? Like the cities of Beszel and Ul Qoma of recent television science fiction perhaps? Certainly not nations with organised political community under one government … the very definition of a state.

Graeme D Eddie
East Lothian

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