Hungary, Mexico, and Israel

Istvan Simon writes: I would like to add to the wonderfully lucid overview of Cameron Sawyer about Chechnya, historical wrongs, and so on, and it's implications about the creation of Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict. I am no Zionist. I, in fact, believe that the creation of the State of Israel was a mistake. Not that the Jews have no right to that land. They do, and in my opinion have as much  right to it as any Palestinian Arab. A historical right and claim to it going back to 2000 years. But the conflict with the Palestinians was predictable and therefore the original creation of the State of Israel could be thought of as a mistake.

Whatever that mistake was, it is a fact that Israel now exists, and it has as much right to its existence as any State on Earth. Mr. Sharon was born in Israel. He has as much right to live there as anybody. 5 generations of Jews that were born in Israel similarly have a right to live there peacefully, and without fear of annihilation, or being blown  to pieces  in buses and pizzerias. They have the right to live there without fear of being thrown into the Sea, and other hateful garbage talk coming out of the  mouths of organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah. I am tired of the sanctimonious double talk coming from France, and also from much of the rest of Europe regarding Israel.

Regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict, first and foremost, it must be said that the primary responsibility for it  has to be put squarely where it belongs: on the Arab Nations surrounding tiny Israel. Here we have 100 million plus Arabs awash in riches and oil, that were unwilling and  unable to  accommodate a few tens of thousands refugees from Palestine, after their disastrous 1948 war with a tiny atate created with the blessing of the United Nations, a war that they lost. Let's compare that to the tens of thousands of Hungarian refugees that were dispersed all over the world after the Hungarian revolution in 1956. They, the Hungarians, went into these new lands and built lives for themselves and their families.  Many fled Hungary with nothing more than the shirt on their backs. One of them was Andrew Grove, who later was one of the founders of Intel. Another, George Soros. My own family is a less famous example.

They were not herded into filthy refugee camps and kept there for decades. Whose responsibility is it that the Arab countries, with huge lands and resources at their disposal were unwilling to take these few tens of thousand Palestinian refugees and absorb them in their rich societies? Whose responsibility is that they instead chose to spend their money fomenting unrest and hatred keeping the Palestinians in filthy conditions? What is exactly the difference between a Jordanian and a Palestinian?

Now let's go back to Hungary,.I invite Mr. Jones to look at a map of Europe pre World Wars I and II, and look at the size of Hungary. He will discover that Hungary lost enormous parts of it' territory to other countries, because it unwisely was on the losing side of two world wars. The lands that it lost are inhabited by huge majorities of  Hungarian speaking ethnic Hungarians. They now carry Czeck or Slovak passports, or Romanian, or from the States created from the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. To my knowledge not a single one of them became a suicide bomber. What makes the Palestinians so special and better than the Hungarians, so that they have  permanent right to lands of Israel in spite of losing three wars that they instigated?  Why is Israel less entitled to gain lands than other countries when it wins wars? Why does not the United States give Texas  or California back to Mexico? I answer my own question. They are no better than the Hungarians or Mexicans, and they had better get accustomed to the idea that when you lose wars you lose land. Suicide bombers are not going to get it back.

RH: There are not "huge majorities of Hungarians" in the lands Hungary lost.  They are minorities. Istvan does not mention the many Palestinians whose houses and properties were seized by Israelis, forcing them to flee. The Palestinians are acutely aware that it was Zionist terrorists who forced the creation of the state of Israel and  seized their property. Now they are denied the tight of return.  Terra irredenta is a Pandora's box. Suppose the descendants of the peoples displaced by Joshua and co demanded their land back?  But, as Istvan says, Israel exists and we must find a just solution.  Are the Jewish settlements in the West Bank evidence that the Jewish dream of a state from the Nile to the Euphrates has not entirely disappeared? That may be Jehovah's idea, but it is not Allah's.  I see no end in sight.  I hope I am wrong.

Your comments are invited. Read te home page of the World Association of International Studies (WAIS) by simply double-clicking on: E-mail to Mail to Ronald Hilton, Hoover Institution, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Please inform us of any change of e-mail address.

Ronald Hilton 2004


last updated: October 8, 2004