THEY MUST GO Page 176
Chapter 8: Our Fathers’ Children
 
 
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176 THEY MUST GO

bmandment”) of dwelling in the Land of Israel and subsisting for bthe most part on charity. Alongside them dwelt some 80,000 bArabs.

bThese latter may have been poor, ignorant, backward, lack- bing in political awareness, unconscious of a “Palestinian” na- btionhood, but they were there. And no one seemed to notice.

bLeo Pinsker, the most significant of the pre-Herzl political bZionists, made no mention of the Arabs as a significant element bto be dealt with by the Zionist believers in his book Auto-Eman- bcipation (1882). The classic Herzlian work, Der Judenstaat (The bJewish state), is also empty of any reference to the problem of bArabs, and as late as June 4, 1921, the official Zionist magazine bin Britain, Palestine, called the country “a deserted, derelict bland.”

bOn the one hand, it was as if Arabs did not exist, or if they bdid, they really did not matter. On the other hand, there was a bnaive belief that this backward and primitive people would sure- bly be delighted at the benefits and progress that would be their blot, thanks to the advent of the progressive and talented Jews. As bfar as an Arab national movement was concerned, there was near bunanimity that such a creature simply did not exist. Professor A. bYahuda, a delegate to the First Zionist Congress (1897), at- btempted to persuade Herzl that an Arab question did exist, but bHerzl was unconvinced. Indeed, the records of the early Zionist bCongresses are blissfully empty of any mention of the Arab bproblem.

bIn the words of the radical socialist Ber Borochov, “if we bplant our culture in the Land of Israel, the fellahin [“Arab bpeasants”] will fully integrate with us. . . . the inhabitants of bthe Land of Israel have no ground to look upon us with hatred; bto the contrary, they recognize that legally the land belongs to bus.” This amazing statement was made in 1905. It was based on ba belief held by many that the Arabs would be culturally inte- bgrated, absorbed, and assimilated with the Jews. Michael bHalpern suggested hastening the process by intermarriage on a bmassive scale. The nonsense of Arab “disappearance,” cul- bturally or nationally, was to be echoed for years by Zionist lead- bers, even when it was obvious to all that there was a large and bgrowing Arab movement that was the deadly enemy of Zionism.

bAs early as 1891, there was already evidence of anti-Zion- b 

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Chapter 8: Our Fathers’ Children