Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Will the real David Ben Gurion please stand up???

Today, the State of Israel commemorated the Memorial Day for Israel's 1st Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion.

Current Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, who spoke at the ceremony, used the occasion to try and show that Ben Gurion was in favor of ceding (retreating?) parts of the Land of Israel to the enemies of the Jewish People. He quoted Ben Gurion as saying the following words (courtesy of Ha'aretz):
"We never forgot that this is our country and we will never relinquish it. Nevertheless, for peace we are willing to give up some of what we are entitled to. In choosing between having all of the land without a Jewish state or a Jewish state without all of the land, we chose the latter."

Yet, the very same David Ben Gurion also said the following words (which Prime Minister Sharon neglected to mention):
"No Jew is at liberty to surrender the right of the Jewish Nation and the Land of Israel to exist. No Jewish body is sanctioned to do so. No Jew alive today has the authority to yield any piece of land whatsoever. This right is preserved by the Jewish People throughout the generations and cannot be forfeited under any circumstance. Even if at some given time there will be those who declare that they are relinquishing this right, they have neither the power nor the jurisdiction to negate it for future generations to come. The Jewish Nation is neither obligated by nor responsible for any waiver such as this. Our right to this land, in its entirety, is steadfast, inalienable and eternal. And until the coming of the Great Redemption, we shall never yield this historic right.

What is clear to me, aside from Ben Gurion's ability to speak from both sides of his mouth (perhaps this is who Ariel Sharon learned it from?), is that I do not believe that anyone can unequivocally say what David Ben Gurion might have done were he alive today, regardless of the efforts of Ariel Sharon and the Israeli media to prove otherwise.



10 Comments:

Let's hope that Sharon's political career closes down the same way Ben-Gurion's did when he broke off and formed his own party.

By Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata, at Wed Dec 07, 10:28:00 PM GMT+2  

It seems that dead prime ministers leave a political that depends on who is stating it e.g. Ben Gourian, Rabin. The politicians who do so have no respect for the life-long contributions and the lives of the former leaders who can no longer speak for themselves.

By Anonymous Hillel, at Wed Dec 07, 11:35:00 PM GMT+2  

beautiful post, ze'ev. i love seeing old quotes like that, makes me think about the good 'ole days of Jewish strength and courage.

By Blogger Tovya @ Zion Report, at Thu Dec 08, 03:15:00 AM GMT+2  

Great post and quote reference, but as long as we're on the subject.

"Let me first tell you one thing: It doesn't matter what the world says about Israel; it doesn't matter what they say about us anywhere else. The only thing that matters is that we can exist here on the land of our forefathers. And unless we show the Arabs that there is a high price to pay for murdering Jews, we won't survive." David Ben-Gurion's advice to Officer Ariel Sharon following the controversial and much-condemned raid on Qibya, as relayed by Ariel Sharon during an interview for the documentary "Israel and the Arabs: 50 Year War".
[Hat-Tip Wikiquote]

By Anonymous Strong Bad, at Thu Dec 08, 08:18:00 AM GMT+2  

Hey Strong Bad - that was an awesome find....

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Thu Dec 08, 09:40:00 AM GMT+2  

One of your best posts...

And best lines: What is clear to me, aside from Ben Gurion's ability to speak from both sides of his mouth

I was rolling on that one.

By Blogger Ezzie, at Thu Dec 08, 09:41:00 AM GMT+2  

Ezzie, as the 2005 Ezzie Award winner for best Israel Blog, I am obligated to go the extra mile to keep all my fans happy...

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Thu Dec 08, 11:21:00 AM GMT+2  

LOL

By Blogger Ezzie, at Thu Dec 08, 11:47:00 AM GMT+2  

Ze'ev,

You are also the 5765 (belatedly awarded) winner of the Life - Peace best fascist blog Award.

But I would counter your claim that Ben-Gurion's quotes hugely contradict. You highlighted sections which you think prove a contradiction to the piece Sharon quoted.

You start with:

"No Jew alive today has the authority to yield any piece of land whatsoever."

Obviously, out of context, this means nothing - does it mean I can't sell you my back yard? Or I can't sell it to a non-Jew. No - it must be understood by the context of the next line:

"This right is preserved (sic) by the Jewish People" - meaning no individual has the right to speak on behalf of the Jewish People - but the JEwish People does have the right to cede land. That is what this thing called Zionism is all about - the will of the Jewish people being made manifest through the State of Israel!

The next quote is also meaningless without context:

"Even if at some given time there will be those who declare that they are relinquishing this right, they have neither the power nor the jurisdiction to negate it for future generations to come."

WHat does this mean - that Ben Gurion believed that the RIGHT to the land was eternal. For Ben Gurion, to be a Jew meant to live in a reality which was temporary - to know that at one point there would be a messianic kingdom. (Pretty standard Jewish belief throughout history). That in no way contradicts the fact that temporal and temporary sovereignty over parts of the land of Israel can be ceded. In fact, it completely goes hand in hand with the first quote - we would love to have a Jewish State in All of the land of Israel, but faced with the choice of waiting for the Messiah and having a state in part of the land of Israel - you choose the latter. The RIGHT to all the land is an article of faith. It is not a practical consideration in statesmanship - that is the difference between Galut Orthodoxy and Zionism.
All the above, and its correct interpretation is proved by the last highlighted section:

"Our right to this land, in its entirety, is steadfast, inalienable and eternal. And until the coming of the Great Redemption, we shall never yield this historic right.”

The RIGHT is eternal - but it is also linked to the Messianic Age. Unless you are a Catholic, Protestant or Chabadnik Christian, the Messiah has not come, nor is she looking likely to turn up any time soon.

Ben Gurion had a clear message - Historically this land is ours. We have a right that we stand by - it can be framed in religious terms and it can be understood as part of a desire to bring the messianic kingdom. But the right exists. This right however is not what determines our policy with regard to territorial minimalism or maximalism - as proved by our decision to accept the partition plan.

Equally we can say that we are willing to cede Yehuda and Shomron to the Palestinian authority, without ceding the right to the Land of ISrael in its entirety. Who knows, when the messianic age comes, it may be that we were wrong and the land promised to Abraham was actually just a few fields in Hevron and around Be'er Sheva and the ressurected Phoenicians, Jebusites, Cana'anites, etc get most of the land which you think is the land of Israel.

H

By Anonymous H, at Thu Dec 08, 01:17:00 PM GMT+2  

Haim, how is it that I am taking things out of context by merely highlighting parts of a complete paragraph?

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Thu Dec 08, 04:50:00 PM GMT+2  

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