Today is the 60th birthday of modern Israel. Though legally speaking the new state was declared on 14 May 1948: the day on which the British mandate over Palestine officially expired. The rest is history, and this started 11 minutes following David Ben-Gurion’s proclamation with the United State’s recognition of an independent and sovereign Israel.
Even for a someone like me with anarchist tendencies, there is reason to celebrate with the people of Israel. Let’s just hope George W Bush gets his end-of-presidency wish that we will soon see an independent State of Palestine, and an end to the decades-long conflict in the Levant.
I am no fan of nation-states, but I have to say that if we are to rid ourselves of such degenerate political entities, the State of Israel should be the last to go.
While all but fanatical Islamists and the Israeli far-right want to see a Palestinian state alongside Israel, there is also the question of Israel’s own ethnic minority. Yesterday I heard an articulate Israeli Arab from near Nazareth interviewed by BBC radio. This gentleman said that he would not be celebrating Independence Day with his fellow Israeli citizens as he did not regard the national flag as an inclusive symbol. He also made the point that there exists racist discrimination against Israeli-Arabs from jews who see them as a “stategic threat”.
A degree of moral relativism crept into his discourse when he referred to the hypocrisy of those jewish Israelis who decry antisemitic violence elsewhere in the world, yet treat their Arab neighbours badly. But that is what righteous anger does to people.