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Rightists and Leftists, Then and Now

In 1917, the British government promulgated the Balfour Declaration, which recognized that “Palestine,” on both sides of the Jordan River, belongs exclusively to the Jewish people. The members of that government must have been far out “rightists.” Indeed, they make today’s Israeli rightists appear as “leftists,” if only because these Israelis would be satisfied if Jews controlled only the territory west of the River Jordan.

The Balfour Declaration was approved by America’s religious President Woodrow Wilson, another rightist. And if this were not enough to sanctify Jewish possession of the Land of Israel, the 52 nations comprising the League of Nations unanimously acknowledged the rightness of the Balfour Declaration. Right was right; left was wrong.

Incidentally, the Balfour Declaration makes no explicit reference to Arabs. It does affirm, however, “that nothing shall be done to prejudice the civil and religious rights existing in the non-Jewish communities in Palestine,” and therefore denies, by implication, that those non-Jewish communities have any political let alone national rights (my emphasis). The reason is simple enough. It was universally acknowledged that only the Jews had a just and legitimate claim to this land. This was the position of right honorable men.

Times have changed. Today, if a Jew affirms that only the Jews have a just claim to the land called Palestine, he is a right-winger. If another Jew denies that only Jews have a just claim to this land, he is a left-winger. In this age of moral relativism, the words “left” and “right” have taken the place of the traditional distinction between “good” and “bad.” But given leftist dominance of the media and academia, the “right” is more commonly associated with the “bad.”

Notice how pundits would have us believe that the Nazi Party consisted of rightists. In truth, however, the Nazis called themselves the Nationalsozialistische Deutche Arbeiterpartei, the National Socialist German Worker’s Party. They were leftists.

The candid observer will admit that the Germany’s National Socialist Party has certain things in common with Israel’s socialist Labor Party, that is, with Israeli leftists, and nothing at all in common with Israeli rightists. Let me offer a few examples, but with two cautionary remarks.

First, I do not regard members of the Labor Party as Nazis. Unlike the Nazis, who were territorial expansionists, Israel’s Labor Party is committed to territorial contraction. Also, Labor is not about to put Jews into crematoria.

Consider, however, the following similarities:

  • Germany’s National Socialist Party practiced the policy of Judenrein. Israel’s Labor socialist party has adopted that policy with respect to Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.
  • Germany’s National Socialist Party called Jews “degenerates.” Labor Party leader Yitzhak Rabin called religious Jews in Judea and Samaria “degenerates.”
  • Germany’s National Socialist Party was led by atheists. Much the same may be said of the leaders of Israel’s Labor socialist party.
  • National Socialism involves state control of all the means of production including the production of ideas. Israel’s Labor socialist party has ever dominated Israel’s economy as well as the country’s electronic and educational media.

Lest the above similarities be deemed improper, consider certain statements of the late Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz, whose mentality is widespread among Labor socialists. I mention Leibowitz because he called the Jews residing in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza “Judeo-Nazis.”

What underlies this vicious slur? The answer will be found in a September 11, 1981 interview published in The Jerusalem Post, where Leibowitz said: “The people [of Israel] have been corrupted by 14 years of patriotism, nationalism, chauvinism and expansion.” Those 14 years go back to June 1967, when Israel, in a war of self-defense, regained control of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. Leibowitz advocated “immediate, unilateral, unconditional withdrawal from the[se] territories.” “Withdrawal from the territories,” he claimed, “will have a tremendous psychological impact on Israel’s Arabs. They won’t, overnight, become loyal citizens. But it will help reconcile them to the state, I believe.” Leibowitz, a scientist, presented no empirical evidence for this assertion.

Indeed, considering only the constant bombing of Sderot following Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, there is an abundance of evidence that Leibowitz was a fool.

As for his calling Jewish soldiers “Judeo-Nazis,” there is a Talmudic maxim that people frequently attribute to others their own vices. Was Leibowitz a Judeo-Nazi? Of course not! He was merely a shallow moral relativist, as indicated by his fatuous admission that his remaining a Jew was a matter of “personal preference.” However, given his relativism, and aside from questions of personal convenience, he might just as well have become a Muslim or a Nazi!

Likewise Shimon Peres. Peres would give Syria the Golan Heights without necessarily expelling its Jewish residents. He has said he sees “nothing wrong with Jews living under Arab rule, just as Arabs live under Jewish rule”—as if the two modes of ruling were morally equivalent, as they may appear to a moral obscurantist or relativist.

Returning, however, to the British Government, President Woodrow Wilson, and the League of Nations, it seems they harbored a “Judeo-Nazi” attitude toward “Palestine,” to use Leibowitz’s mindless criterion. How else are we to explain their acknowledging that the Land of Israel, on both sides of the Jordan River, belongs exclusively to the Jewish people?

Of course, these were Gentiles; they belonged to the “far right.” Would that we had such “rightists” in the government of Israel!

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