I read and thought at length about Hank Meyer’s recent letter, a response to an earlier letter regarding the State of Israel, etc. I do not at all desire to get into any back-and-forth on this or any other topic. However, two things struck me as somewhat difficult to digest in 2014.
One is the reference to the San Remo Declaration, which apparently “codified” the Balfour Declaration into law. The Balfour Declaration was set forth by international sources in 1917. At that time in history, women mainly could not vote, Black or “coloured” persons had virtually no status in the “white” world, the rights of Oriental persons were severely curtailed, and our First Nations were less than second-class as persons. Also, the First World War was still in progress, if that is the correct description. Are we then still to be directed by such outdated and biased ‘agreements?’ Surely the world has learned some things in the decades since!
Apparently, it was stated that settlement of the area known as Palestine was to be opened to the Jewish peoples, “while ensuring that the rights and positions of other sections of the population are not prejudiced,” as Meyer quotes. He then goes on to state that “no national or political rights” were granted by the San Remo Resolution, to “local Arabs or the Arabs of Palestine” and all such rights were for “the Jewish people exclusively.”
These two quotes appear to be totally at odds with each other. Obviously there were (and are) non-Jewish people already there, however “there” is defined. What makes them lose their rights instantly?
All my life I have been uncomfortable with the colonial frame of mind that arises when one society dominates large parts of our world. The entitlement, the arrogance, the eventual dehumanization of “other” peoples seems all too easy to slide into and accept as a natural right. The current situation in our own society regarding our First Nations citizens is still a case in point, I believe.
Who really has the right to proclaim that this society has full rights and that society has none? I do not accept that this is what God intended (if your position arises from such belief) and it is absolutely against any of the teachings of Jesus as I understand them.
A civilization based on dominance and lack of tolerance for different points of view is surely going to unravel over time. We can and must behave better, if the world is to progress at all.