If I knew it was possible to save all [Jewish] children of Germany by their transfer to England and only half of them by transferring them to Eretz-Yisrael, I would choose the latter—because we are faced not only with the accounting of these [Jewish] children but also with the historical accounting of the Jewish People.” – Ben-Gurion (1938).
(As quoted in Benny Morris’ Righteous Victims, p. 162)
Considering the German Jewish population was something like 240,000 people, Ben-Gurion was casually suggesting a trade of (very roughly) 50,000 children’s lives (an estimated 100,000, half of which would be “saved” and go to Israel) in order to realize his and his friends’ nationalist fantasies. Or, if one considers more than the Jews of Germany alone, and looks instead at the total number of Jewish children killed by the Nazis, then he is talking about more than a million murdered children (again, half of which would be “saved”).
How can we so easily overlook such sadistic zealotry, which is willing to bargain over tens of thousands of innocent lives in order to realize the Jewish state? At the absolute minimum, we must recognize the argument for Israel as a safe haven for the Jews was (at crucial moments) rejected by the early Zionist leadership.
Of course, even if it was this purportedly safe place (I have yet to see evidence of Jews in Israel being safer than any other Jews on earth today, even Persian Jews in Iran), then this haven would still not justify the expulsion of the Palestinians from their ancestral homes in order to protect a foreign ethnic group from the small possibility of future catastrophe. It’s not right to beat children in anticipation of what they might one day do (or ever, but stick with the metaphor). It’s not right for the US to destroy Mexico just in case the country might one day be used as a launching pad for some third-party army’s attacks on the US population. And it’s not right to take over someone’s country, install a segregation-based ethnic state on the ruins thereof, and try to justify all this by citing the abstract possibility of future violence.