Friday, August 9, 2013

Zionism Happened

Drop everything and read this fascinating account of the Galilee village of Buqei'a in the 1920s:

"Turning aside, the cavalcade rode into the village [of Bukeia], one of the oldest in Palestine, and extremely interesting as it holds the most ancient community of Jews in the Holy Land. They have been there for many centuries; according to their own story they are the descendants of the Jews who lived there before the Dispersion, it is quite probable they are, and that they escaped both Roman and Arab exterminators. It is in a most inaccessible spot in the mountains, and may well have been overlooked, even by those professed and bitter anti-Semites, the Crusaders. In this village, small as it is there are 3 distinct communities, Christian, Jew and Moslem, they live, and always have done, in the most perfect amity and accord. The Jewish community claims that both the Christians and Moslems living amongst them are of Hebrew blood, that they represent the people who apostatized many centuries ago. It is certain that the good offices of both these communities have time and again, according to the local tradition, saved the Jews of the village from persecution and even martyrdom, under the many conquerors these villages have known since Flavius Josephus surrendered in the well of Jotapata, and the last trace of independent Israelitish rule disappeared. A small Druze community, also, inhabits the outskirts of the place and lives on the most cordial relationship with the other peoples." (Galilee Galloper, Douglas V. Duff, 1935, pp 92-93)

The "cavalcade" referred to by Duff was a contingent of Palestine police led by a Briton known to the Palestinians of western Galilee as 'Abu George'. They had ridden into Buqei'a to investigate the murder of a Christian woman.

Writes Duff tellingly:

"Riding into the village at the head of his men, Abu George had expected to find the place seething with excitement, and to find the Christians demanding vengeance at his hands from one of the other sects, a situation which would have arisen in any other part of Palestine. Here the elders of the four communities had met together and were solemnly discussing the affair."

(The murderer, as it happens, turned out to be the woman's husband.)

Known also as Peki'in (or Peqi'in) in Hebrew, Buqei'a is now an almost exclusively Druze town.

Almost: "The only Jewish resident to remain in the village is Margalit Zinati, whose family has lived in Peki'in for centuries." (Last Jewish family leaves Peki'in, Goel Beno,, 3/12/07)

In Buqei'a we have the intriguing case of a Palestinian Arab village, in which Arab Muslims, Arab Christians, Arab Jews and Arab Druze had lived harmoniously together for centuries, but which is now almost exclusively Druze.

So what happened to destroy this tiny model of sectarian co-existence? 

In a word, Zionism.

In the 1920s and 30s, the British flooded Palestine with European Zionist colons, the latter hell-bent on transforming a multi-sectarian land into a Jewish majority state. The native Arabs, as natives have done throughout the history of European colonialism, resisted this foreign invasion, a resistance that today's Zionists and their dupes still seem to find utterly surprising and totally unreasonable for reasons that escape me.

Unfortunately for Palestine's Arab Jews, however, the Zionist colons' fraudulent conflation of Zionism with Judaism led to them being tarred with the Zionist brush. And so, when indigenous Arab resistance to the Zionists and their British backers peaked, in 1929, and again from 1936-1939, Arab Jews also felt the heat. The result in Buqei'a? In 1936, at the start of the first great Palestinian uprising, most of its Arab Jews left, never to return.

Those in search of an indigenous Palestinian model of ethno-religious harmony, as inspiration for a future non-sectarian, non-Zionist state between 'the river and the sea', need look no further than the little Palestinian village of Buqei'a as it was in the 1920s.

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