Settler colonialism — and liberal Zionist denial

Geronimo, right, and other Apache warriors in 1886

Geronimo, right, and other Apache warriors in 1886

With apologies to Emerson, appealing for “balance” in apportioning blame to “both sides” in Israel-Palestine is the hobgoblin of little minds. Yet this is the constant calling card of mainstream commentary on the conflict and its mode is, likewise, often evoked through another constituent of the pundit’s lexicon: “context.”

In recent days, this has manifested itself quite annoyingly in criticism surrounding Max Blumenthal’s excellent book, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel. The most prominent critics to date, Eric Alterman of The Nation and JJ Goldberg of the Jewish Daily Forward, express exasperation with the book’s supposed lack of “context.” Alterman complains:

Blumenthal evinces no interest in the larger context of Israel’s actions. Potential threats that emanate from Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Syria, Iran, etc., receive virtually no mention in these pages.

Goldberg mirrors this sentiment:

Blumenthal doesn’t know the history and ignores the inconvenient bits of the present, which is one reason his book has flopped. Worse, he thinks he knows all he needs to know, and just what readers need to know. He describes Israel’s assault on Gaza without telling of the thousands of rockets bombarding Negev towns for years beforehand. He touchingly recounts the 2004 assassination of Hamas founder Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi but doesn’t mention the hundreds of Israelis killed by Rantissi’s suicide bombers. The Palestinians are guilty of nothing. Israel’s actions are entirely unprovoked, motivated by pure racism.

So, where is the context? What is the context? It is astonishing that the answer, so readily apparent, has yet to be given explicitly to Alterman and Goldberg’s charge: colonialism is the context.

Settler-colonialism–the immigration of people seeking to erect a system of privilege on new shores, requiring, variously, the dispossession of the extant indigenous people, usurpation of their land and natural resources, and imposition of political authority against their will–is the ultimate progenitor of the cycle of violence that will inevitably come to fruition wherever settler-colonists land, from the Americas to Africa to Palestine.

Blumenthal deftly weaves this contextual thread throughout the tapestry he presents to readers. One example, funny enough, is found in the very passage alluded to by Goldberg about Hamas co-founder Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi. Describing “screening operations” in Gaza ordered by Moshe Dayan in the wake of the tripartite Israeli-British-French invasion of Egypt in 1956, Blumenthal writes:

In the refugee camps of Khan Younis and Rafah, Israeli soldiers rounded up all men aged fifteen to fifty-five, herded them into open lots, beating many along the way with wooden clubs, then lined them up against concrete walls and executed them by the dozens. Israeli forces killed as many as 275 unarmed civilians in Khan Younis…

The streets of the refugee camps were left lined with long rows of dead bodies bearing bullet wounds in the back of their heads. During the massacre, a Khan Younis resident named Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi witnessed the execution of his uncle. Rantissi was just nine years old at the time. “It left a wound in my heart that can never heal,” he said. “I’m telling you a story, and I am almost crying… They planted hatred in our hearts.” When Rantissi came of age, he helped found Hamas, the Islamist military and political faction that currently rules the Gaza Strip.

On April 17, 2004, Rantissi was blown to pieces by an Israeli missile strike during a punishing campaign of demolitions, raids and assassinations Israel waged to suppress the Second Intifada in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The life and death of Al-Rantissi illustrate the wages of colonialism in microcosm: a boy, born in a village a year before he was expelled along with its other inhabitants by Zionist colonial forces in 1948 and traumatized at the age of nine when he witnesses Zionist forces executing his uncle in their refugee camp, became a man who helped form an organization that would target colonists through means fair and foul. The most salient factor shaping the contours of Al-Rantissi’s life was the aggression of colonists: from being expelled from his birthplace as a baby to the punitive expeditions witnessed in his childhood.

Over and over throughout the book, Blumenthal conjures the ghosts of Zionist colonization’s seminal event, the Nakba of 1948, implicating it in subtle and not-so-subtle terms as the wellspring from which all conflict in Israel-Palestine flows; yet the likes of Alterman and Goldberg clamor for “context.”

When Europeans came to this continent, they tore asunder the indigenous societies that existed here. In response to the onslaught they faced, some natives engaged in resistance–sometimes in the form of attacks against the colonists’ regular armed forces, sometimes in the form of terrorizing unarmed colonist women and children, ostensibly innocent people. But who among us today would say that “both sides” were at fault for the complete destruction of indigenous American society at the hands of colonists, or for the wars of ethnic cleansing (a.k.a. “the Indian Wars”) and untold human suffering that followed? Simply put, there would have been no violence, no 200 years worth of Indian Wars had colonial-settlers not attempted to impose their presence and authority in the Americas through violence and ethnic cleansing in the first place. It is an eminently one-sided problem when you get to the root of it–to act as though there is some moral parity between the colonists who arrived employing systematic, terrorist violence on a civilization-shattering scale in order to forge their own sovereign entity against the desire of (and eventually upon the ruins of) indigenous communities, and the natives who fought back and may have employed terrorism themselves is absurd and curiously vulgar.

While condemning attacks on unarmed non-combatants is an easy moral call to make, who among us would mention Native American raids on European settlements without acknowledging the genocidal violence leveled against them? Who would speak of Nat Turner’s orgy of violence against white Virginians without mentioning the dehumanizing and obscene institution of slavery?

Something tells me that “contextualizing” Hamas’s rockets as falling in the vicinity of the ethnically cleansed and colonist-occupied birthplace of the group’s refugee co-founder would not find favor with Alterman or Goldberg. Same for contextualizing the threat that Hezbollah poses to the colonial-settler state, a state whose rapacious military adventurism in Lebanon–which, lest we forget, was originally prosecuted to quash the resistance of Palestine’s natives-cum-refugees–precipitated the group’s formation in the first place. And yet, without endorsing the methods or platforms of the aforementioned groups, this is the context that matters most.

 

About Austin Branion

Austin Branion is an activist and perennial student of Arabic living in the DC area. Follow him on Twitter at @austiniyaat.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 34 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Ramzi Jaber says:

    From where I sit, zionist settlers = zionist colonialists = extreme zionists = liberal zionists. They are all the same.

    • German Lefty says:

      Zionists are all the same.
      I agree!

      • You know they are not exactly the same. I think you are saying that the differences don’t matter. But to whom? The basic difference is that the liberal Zionists are willing to call it quits and end colonization at the stage it has already reached, perhaps even reversing a little, while the illiberal Zionists are unwilling to leave the job half done and determined to keep going, at least until the whole of “Eretz Israel” (Palestine) is firmly in their hands. This difference may not matter to Palestinians expelled in 1948, but to those who have been able to hold on so far it surely does matter whether they will face future “transfers.”

        Another difference is that the illiberal Zionists are much more inclined to beat up and kill those who disagree with them (including even the liberal Zionists). This might conceivably matter to some of us.

        • ritzl says:

          @SS The “matters to whom” question is THE question. I don’t know if you are posing it in the sense of the spectrum of Zionism. If so, it seems to me that it may matter to whom, but only as a distanced, future/someday-relevant abstract, “we’ll act upon it when we all agree inside the ‘community’ ” discussion topic.

          If you are including Palestinians (i.e. everyone involved), then it doesn’t matter at all. The result is the same. As the intra-Jewish “angels on the head of a pin” discussion “rages” on, real oppression and violence continue. In real time.

          Maybe I misunderstood you. If so, apologies…

        • MHughes976 says:

          I keep on about definitions, don’t I? ‘Zionists’ to me are those who believe that Jewish people and they only have an inherent right to a share of sovereignty over the Holy Land, others only by grace and generosity of the true heirs’. It seems that a version of this view that was ‘liberal’ – ie involved a rejection of any idea of significantly different rights on the basis of race or religion – would be a contradiction in terms, like the proverbial square circle. Liberal Zionists are people trying to draw a square circle, which means that they cannot really get anywhere intellectually, let alone practically. That is one reason why the famous negotiations never even lead to a concrete proposal.

        • German Lefty says:

          @ Stephen
          They have the same ideology. They are ethnic nationalists, colonialists, racists. All of them are evil. Of course, there’s a difference in terms of degree. The liberal Zionists “only” support the theft of 78% of Palestinian land, whereas the illiberal Zionists pursue the theft of 100% of Palestinian land. From my anti-Zionist perspective, however, this difference seems rather tiny. The liberal Zionist mindset is much, much closer to the illiberal Zionist mindset than to the anti-Zionist mindset. The liberal Zionists are NOT our friends. That’s what I wanted to express.
          Imagine people would make a distinction between liberal Nazis, who “only” want to kill 78% of the Jews, and illiberal Nazis, who want to kill 100% of the Jews. Sounds ridiculous, right?

        • RoHa says:

          “I keep on about definitions, don’t I?”

          Good thing, too.

          We do not have to adopt the tedious American habit of starting every discussion with a quotation from an inferior dictionary, but we need to have definitions.

          Suppose we did not have definitions for “penguin” or “nation”. A simple, fairly innocuous, statement like “Penguins have a right to live on the coast of Australia” would be seized upon by a particular ethnic group of humans. They would self-determine themselves to be “The Penguin Nation”, and demand the right to live (and, of course, set up a state) along the Australian coast. They would also claim that, while “Penguish nationality” was an essential concept to discriminate between themselves and such native penguins as had not been displaced, it was not “nationality” in the sense that applies to Australian electoral law, and so claim the right to stand for election in the Federal Parliament.

          Without definitions, we are plunged into chaos and absurdity.

        • Ecru says:

          @ Stephen Shenfield

          I would say that a “Liberal” Zionist is rather one who SAYS they are willing to call it quits and end colonisation whilst doing everything in their power to quietly support the “Illiberal” Zionists in their continuing land grabs. In other words they’re both the same and if anything the “Liberal” Zionists with their crocodile tears are actually worse.

        • Sibiriak says:

          Stephen Shenfield:

          You know [Zionists] are not exactly the same. I think you are saying that the differences don’t matter. But to whom? The basic difference is that the liberal Zionists are willing to call it quits and end colonization at the stage it has already reached, perhaps even reversing a little, while the illiberal Zionists are unwilling to leave the job half done and determined to keep going, at least until the whole of “Eretz Israel” (Palestine) is firmly in their hands. This difference may not matter to Palestinians expelled in 1948, but to those who have been able to hold on so far it surely does matter whether they will face future “transfers.”

          Excellent, lucid analysis.

        • Sibiriak says:

          Ecru:

          I would say that a “Liberal” Zionist is rather one who SAYS they are willing to call it quits and end colonisation whilst doing everything in their power to quietly support the “Illiberal” Zionist.

          So then, what for you is the right label for a Zionist who says he/she is willing to call it quits and really means it?

        • Ecru says:

          @ Sibiriak

          So then, what for you is the right label for a Zionist who says he/she is willing to call it quits and really means it?

          A fantasy?

        • ziusudra says:

          Greetings Stephen Shenfeld,
          Judaism is a religion.
          Zionism is an ideology.
          An ideology is an ideology is an ideology.
          No degree of an ideology makes it more or
          less of an ideology.
          Liberalism is an ideology starting in the 18th C.
          in Europe from bankrupted Aristocracy to allow
          the puny mid. class with wealth to mingle with them.
          ziusudra

  2. amigo says:

    Oh , if only Golda Meir had been right and there were no Palestinians to force us to kill them and steal their land.

    They made our lives miserable instead of allowing us to get on with God,s work.

    Dear God, forgive them , they know not what they do.

  3. dbroncos says:

    Well said, Austin.

    To the extent that colonialism, white supremacy have been discredited in the last half century it’s surprising/not to see how fungible our ideals about equity become when we separate a contemporary injustice, like I/P, from a bigger historical context. Ahistorical justifications are as old as the hills and as American as apple pie.

  4. seafoid says:

    “In the refugee camps of Khan Younis and Rafah, Israeli soldiers rounded up all men aged fifteen to fifty-five, herded them into open lots, beating many along the way with wooden clubs, then lined them up against concrete walls and executed them by the dozens.”

    link to media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com

    Israel has invaded Lebanon 7 times. War is the oxygen of Zionism. It is as if somehow enough blood will wipe away the original sin- the theft of Palestine.

  5. Thanks, Austin.

    Israel is rightly compared to the genocidal maniacs who committed genocides on the Native Americans. Israel is rightly compared to every violent racist thug: the Klan, Apartheid South Africa, Hitler, King Leopold of Belgium as he plundered and massacred the Congo. All these comparisons are useful and right.

    So I looked all over Twitter and Google for campus movements to boycott or (at least) divest from Israel. I see none. Even after last week’s Stanford Palestine conference: none, on any campus on Earth.

    Why is that? It’s now November 2013, 11.5 years after the first national divestment conference. Where are the campus divestment movements?

  6. Great post and perspective, Austin. The context is colonialism, a rich historical narrative with recent scars in the Middle East.

    One can also make the case more fundamentally that the “context” Alterman and Goldberg grasp for is tribalism vs universalism. From one tribe’s perspective, territorial war with neighboring tribes is almost always heroic and existential (the colonials vs the natives being only one example of this). Only from universal values do standards emerge to regulate territorial conflict. Clearly, expressly, Israel’s perspective is tribal, and “the war of ideas in the Middle East” in America is between that tribal viewpoint and a more universal one. Israel’s hasbarists attempt to dress their viewpoint up in various universal values, while at the same time celebrating tribalism, depending on the audience, its prejudices, its interests, and its capacity to sort through it all.

  7. Shmuel says:

    Excellent post, Austin.

    • bintbiba says:

      And to Mondoweiss also goes the gratefulness and thanks for having the courage and fortitude to be host to an opening up of truth-telling and heartfelt responses.
      Bit by bit, the people of good will are manifesting themselves and ” The genie cannot be put back in the bottle ” !
      If it takes time, and I don’t live to see the Truth and Reconciliation take place, at least I am certain that it will come one day.

    • Dutch says:

      I agree. Important subject, very well written. Thanks, Austin.

  8. German Lefty says:

    Goldberg: “The Palestinians are guilty of nothing. Israel’s actions are entirely unprovoked, motivated by pure racism.”

    At least these two sentences are true.

  9. ritzl says:

    Great article. We have collectively learned and, perhaps most importantly embraced, right and wrong in similar areas. We will in this one as well.

    Thanks.

  10. seafoid says:

    link to haaretz.com

    “Israel’s defense establishment fears increased Jewish activism on Temple Mount may spark widespread conflict
    Formerly out of bounds to Jewish activists, the volatile Temple Mount is now the focal point of increased public activity on the part of a wide swath of the religious-Zionist camp.
    Though few Israelis are aware of it, tensions around the Temple Mount are surging. Since the January general election, right-wing and religious groups have stepped up their efforts to change the status quo between Jews and Muslims at this ultra-sensitive site − a development due in no small measure to the growing clout of Habayit Hayehudi in the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A variety of initiatives, some of which might be considered bizarre and dangerous, is getting next to no coverage in the mainstream Israeli media. However, the other side − the Palestinians, the Islamic Movement in Israel, even the neighboring Arab states − is watching the events on the mount with increasing concern. “

  11. brwencino says:

    Oxymorons: liberal Zionists; jumbo shrimp.

  12. German Lefty says:

    I just looked up the Partition Plan on Wikipedia.
    link to en.wikipedia.org
    Some idiot inserted this at the beginning of the article:
    “WHY DOES THERE HAVE TO BE WAR WHY CANT Palestine LOVE Israel I MEAN LETS HAVE A 2 STATE SOLUTION THIS WILL CREATE PEACE IN THE WORLD BOTH SIDES ARE JUST FIGHTING AND FIGHTING WHATS THE POINT OF ENDLESS NUMBERS OF CASUALTIES AND VICTIMS OF GUN SHOT AND ROCKET ATTACKS BOTH SIDES SHOULD SEIZE FIRE AND MAKE PEACE IN AT THE END OF THE DAY INNOCENTS ARE GETTING HURT CHILDREN PARENTS GRANDPARENTS
    REGARDS SOMEONE LOOKING FOR A END TO THE MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT”
    When you look at the history, you can see that the changes were made yesterday.

  13. W.Jones says:

    What do you think about Gershom Gorenberg’s writings about the Nakba?
    link to southjerusalem.com

    link to slate.com

    link to thedailybeast.com

    A Christian friend who feels very bad for what people are going through in the Holy Land liked Gorenberg’s book and bought me a copy as a present. I thought he is a good writer and has major criticisms about the state’s actions.

    In these articles his main point seems to be that the state did not intentionally draw up an overall plan to transfer the population out of it. Offhand, I do not remember reading about such an overarching official document to that extent either. Also, he points to the flight of the refugees from nearby countries today like Syria, and concludes that since the Syrian government did not have a plan to expel its refugees, there need not have been a plan to expel the refugees from the Holy land either. Finally, he points to the fact that the State did have documents addressing what to do with the existence of a Palestinian population, suggesting that the State expected to continue to have a Palestinian population.

    Arguments that run in a contrary direction on the Nakba appear to be that the founders themselves described a state dedicated to one culture, and as individuals occasionally wrote about “transfer” of the population. Then there was an official document called Plan D, which instructed putting an end to individual villages that resisted. Another counter-claim is that the Founders did not want to impugn themselves by drawing up official documents to that effect. Didn’t Blumenthal write that an officer in Haifa resisted Ben Gurion’s desire for the population there to be arranged to leave? Finally, we have many real, on the ground, instances of soldiers coming to villages and making the population leave. Those cases are confirmed by memories of both soldiers and refugees. Certainly in those cases the detachments intended the “transfer”, even if the state officially did not.

    Of course, the facts themselves in both “arguments” need not contradict eachother. For example, Gorenberg could be right that there may be no official plan, yet there could be enough off-the-record encouragement for it to occur in many cases. What do you think?

    • Sibiriak says:

      Gorenberg:

      What emerges from careful study of 1948 is a picture that is more complex than either national narrative.

      The details of how everything unfolded are undoubtedly “complex”–but underlying the complexity is the simple, iron-logic of Zionism: the non-Jews HAD to be gotten rid of if a Jewish state were to be created. This had been recognized, discussed and planned for decades. When the opportunity arose, the deed was done, and those non-Jews were not allowed to return.

      Gorenberg titles his piece “The Mystery of 1948″. “Mystification” would be more accurate.

    • talknic says:

      @ W.Jones “Then there was an official document called Plan D, which instructed putting an end to individual villages that resisted.” … both in and outside of the territory slated for the Jewish state in the weeks leading up to declaration and thereafter

    • Sibiriak says:

      Gorenberg:

      The pre-independence musings among Zionist leaders about population transfer represented one political inclination.

      link to slate.com

      Mere “musings”? Gorenberg loses all credibility with that blatant falsification.

  14. Sibiriak says:

    W. Jones:

    … he points to the flight of the refugees from nearby countries today like Syria, and concludes that since the Syrian government did not have a plan to expel its refugees, there need not have been a plan to expel the refugees from the Holy land either.

    One fundamental point to consider: The new state of Israel, before the Nakba, had a population that was almost 50% non-Jewish (perhaps more than 50%), with large amounts of land owned by non-Jews.

    For Israel NOT to expel hundreds of thousands of non-Jews would have meant the abandonment of the Zionist dream. A state barely half-Jewish would not be the long sought for “Jewish State”.

    Transfer/expulsion was an existential necessity for Zionist Israel. The situation in Syria is not at all comparable in that regard.

    the founders themselves described a state dedicated to one culture, and as individuals occasionally wrote about “transfer” of the population

    I don’t think “occasionally wrote about transfer” is an accurate description of Zionist thought/action on that point.

    See Nur Masalha, “Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of “Transfer” in Zionist Political Thought, 1882-1948 “:

    It should not be imagined that the concept of transfer was held only by maximalists or extremists within the Zionist movement. On the contrary, it was embraced by almost all shades of opinion, from the Revisionist right to the Labor left.

    Virtually every member of the Zionist pantheon of founding fathers and important leaders supported it and advocated it in one form or another, from Chaim Weizmann and Vladimir Jabotinsky to David Ben-Gurion and Menahem Ussishkin. Supporters of transfer included such moderates as the “Arab appeaser” Moshe Shertok and the socialist Arthur Ruppin, founder of Brit Shalom, a movement advocating equal rights for Arabs and Jews.

    More importantly, transfer proposals were put forward by the Jewish Agency itself, in effect the government of the Yishuv. In light of the massive exodus of Arabs from Palestine in 1948, the issue of transfer assumes crucial importance.

    This study sets out to explore the historical links between Zionist adherence to the strategic goal of establishing a Jewish homeland (state) in Palestine and the advocacy of the politico-strategic concept of transfer. It will analyze the notion against the background of Zionist ideological principles and doctrines such as ‘Avodah ‘Ivrit (Hebrew Labor), Adamah ‘Ivrit (Hebrew Land), and Kibbush Ha’adamah (Land Conquest). It would appear that the intensification of efforts to implement those doctrines in the 1930s contributed to a consolidation of the transfer proposals into official Yishuv positions.

    The study will trace the evolution of the concept of transfer and describe a number of unpublished plans put forward in the thirties and the forties within the context of unfolding events. Finally, the book will discuss the realization of Zionist goals during the 1948 war, with special reference to the leadership’s discussions of transfer rather than to the military dimension per se.

    A deterministic research approach to the subject of transfer is bound to be misleading. The Yishuv leadership’s role in the 1948 Arab exodus was influenced by the war circumstances and the local balance of forces.

    Nonetheless, the conduct during that war of the Haganah, the Yishuv’s military forces, can not adequately be comprehended within the narrow confines of military circumstances. It can only be explained against the above-mentioned historical background, particularly the transfer plans of the 1930s and 1940s.

    These plans, although they do not all carry the same weight and must be situated in their various contexts, show clearly the transfer intent and mind-set informing the entire Zionist Yishuv.

    • W.Jones says:

      For Israel NOT to expel hundreds of thousands of non-Jews would have meant the abandonment of the Zionist dream.

      I guess they could have followed the partition plan and then hoped for increased aliyah?

      Sibiriak, you quoted:

      It should not be imagined that the concept of transfer was held only by maximalists or extremists within the Zionist movement. On the contrary, it was embraced by almost all shades of opinion, from the Revisionist right to the Labor left.

      Actually Slater is liberal, yet he proposes that it was necessary, albeit with financial compensation. It is troubling that in his interview with the JTA, Trotsky proposed transfer of the “Arabs” within a socialist system there, and he called it “planned” migration. However I think elsewhere in the interview he said:

      “It may very well be that within two or three generations the boundaries of an independent Jewish republic, as of many other national regions, will be erased… I have in mind a transitional historical period when the Jewish “question” as such, is still acute and demands adequate measures from a world federation of workers’ states.”

      The interview is here:
      link to marxists.org

  15. Sibiriak says:

    W. Jones:

    [Sibiriak: For Israel NOT to expel hundreds of thousands of non-Jews would have meant the abandonment of the Zionist dream.]

    I guess they could have followed the partition plan and then hoped for increased aliyah?

    1) And what would happen while they waited for the hoped-for increased Jewish immigration? Would Ben-Gurion et al. and the Jewish population have shared decision-making power with the 50% non-Jewish population in a democratic government representing everyone equally? Would that 50% non-Jewish population have been able to weigh in on immigration policy? Land policy? Labor policy? Foreign policy? A constitution? The flag? The national anthem? It’s obvious, I think, that a large non-Jewish population in Israel was completely incompatible with Zionism and the notion of a (democratic) Jewish state for global Jewry.

    2.) Historian Ilan Pappe in “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” describes how the Zionist leadership viewed this existential threat:

    The question of what to do with the Palestinian population in the future Jewish state was being discussed intensively in the months leading up to the end of the Mandate, and a new notion kept popping up in the Zionist corridors of power: ‘the Balance’. This term refers to the ‘demographic balance’ between Arabs and Jews in Palestine: when it tilts against Jewish majority or exclusivity in the land, the situation is described as disastrous.

    And the demographic balance, both within the borders the UN offered the Jews and within those as defined by the Zionist leadership itself, was exactly that in the eyes of the Jewish leadership: a looming disaster.

    The Zionist leadership came up with two kinds of response to this predicament: one for public consumption, the other for the limited corps of intimates Ben-Gurion had collected around himself.

    The overt policy he and his colleagues started voicing publicly in forums such as the local People’s Assembly (the Jewish ‘parliament’ in Palestine) was the need to encourage massive Jewish immigration into the country.

    In smaller venues the leaders admitted that increased immigration would never be enough to counterbalance the Palestinian majority: immigration needed to be combined with other means.

    Ben-Gurion had described these means already in 1937 when discussing with friends the absence of a solid Jewish majority in a future state. He told them that such a ‘reality’ – the Palestinian majority in the land – would COMPEL THE JEWISH SETTLERS TO USE FORCE to bring about the ‘dream’ – a purely Jewish Palestine.18

    Ten years later, on 3 December 1947 in a speech in front of senior members of his Mapai party (the Eretz Israel Workers Party), he outlined more explicitly how to deal with unacceptable realities such as the one envisaged by the UN partition resolution:
    —————
    [Ben Gurion] “There are 40% non-Jews in the areas allocated to the Jewish state. This composition is not a solid basis for a Jewish state. And we have to face this new reality with all its severity and distinctness. Such a demographic balance questions our ability to maintain Jewish sovereignty … ONLY A STATE WITH AT LEAST 80% JEWS is a viable and stable state. 19
    —————-

    On 2 November, i.e., almost a month before the UN General Assembly Resolution was adopted, and in a different venue, the Executive of the Jewish Agency, Ben-Gurion spelled out for the first time in the clearest possible terms that ethnic cleansing formed the alternative, or complementary, means of ensuring that the new state would be an exclusively Jewish one.

    The Palestinians inside the Jewish state, he told his audience, could become a fifth column, and if so ‘they can either be mass arrested or expelled; it is better to expel them.’20

    (emphasis added)