PALESTINIANS ARE ASKING FOR THEIR BIRTH RIGHT, NOT A "RIGHT OF RETURN" | 2004-05-01
President Bush has given more Palestinian land to Israel. He has recognized the right of some Israelis to settle in the West Bank. That is the first step. Eventually America under either party will recognize more and more Israeli rights to more and more of Palestine.
The United States has also firmly recognized the right of of any Jew from anywhere to settle in Israel and it has vetoed any right of Palestinians who were born on the land that the state of Israel has taken over to go back home.
Commentators are saying that Palestinians who were born in today's Israel are demanding a "Right of Return."
That is not true.
If you were born in Britain and many other countries, no matter what citizenship you now have, you have a "birthright" in Britain. A "birthright" means that you can always go and live in Britain, no matter what citizenship you now have.
A person's Birth Right to go back to the land where he was born is recognized all over the world, outside the United States. In this Nation of Immigrants, if your family has been been here for over three hundred years, as is the case with most Southerners, you are lucky the government lets you live here at all.
In the United States the only difference between a person born here and an "undocumented worker" is documents, pieces of paper issued by the authorities. In a Nation of Immigrants, no one who is born here has any special right to be here at all.
It is no wonder that Americans do not understand the difference between a universally recognized "birthright' and the purely Israeli term "Right of Return."
A birthright is entirely different from this "Right of Return" that Old Testament fanatics invented for Jews. The "Right of Return" means that if your family converted to Judaism before you were born, you are now a Jew, so you have a right to drive Palestinians off of land to which THEY have birthright.
Most of today's Jews probably are the descendants of a tribe in Russia called the Khazars and other converts over the past two thousand years. Even in the time of Jesus, most of the six million Jews in the Roman Empire were almost certainly converts.
So the real "Right of Return" has nothing to do with the return of the children of Israel to Israel, even if it WE'RE right to drive Arabs off the country they were born in in the name of religion. The facts of the Old Testament fanatics' argument for this "right of Return" are wrong.
More important, the "Right of Return" is entirely a matter of religious fanaticism. It has nothing to do with the Birth Right Palestinians are demanding.