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author biography
Dr Judea Pearl is president of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, named after his son, who was murdered by terrorists in Pakistan in 2002.
The foundation mission is to continue Daniel’s life-work of promoting east/west understanding and to address the root causes of his tragedy, using journalism, music and dialogue.
Pearl, a professor of computer science at UCLA, writes frequently about the Middle East and East-West relations. He has authored three books on artificial intelligence and philosophy of science and co-edited I am Jewish: Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl, winner of the 2004 National Jewish Book Award for anthologies.

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Ben-Gurion on Palestinian Self Determination and The myth of Zionism naivete
Filed under Israeli politics, Jewish history & culture, Opinion Editorials, Israeli Palestinian relations, Palestinian politics, Disputed territories, Zionism, Israel’s 60th – on Monday, May 12, 2008 – By: Pearl, Judea

We are often told, mostly by anti-Israel propagandists that Zionists’ attitude toward the indigenous Arab population in Palestine was laden with ignorance, naivete, denial, arrogance, abuse and outright oppression. The slogans “Land without a people to people without land” and “Palestinians? Who?”, continue to be quoted today by enemies of coexistence as a proof of Zionism’s ingrained and irredeemable disrespect for Arabs, both as people and as a nation.
This is sheer nonsense and, on Israel’s 60th birthday, it is time we set the record straight.
My “History of Zionism” bookshelf is loaded with dusty books and pamphlets — apparently unavailable in English — which document a history of understanding, respect and persistent attempts at reaching mutual recognition; below are a few illuminating glimpses.
In November 1930, about a year after the Arab riots that led to the Hebron massacre, David Ben Gurion delivered a keynote speech “The Foreign Policy of the Hebrew Nation” at the First Congress of Hebrew Workers, later published in his first book “Anachnu U’Shcheneinu, (We and Our Neighbors) Tel Aviv, 1931.
On page 257 of that book, we find the following paragraph: “There is in the world a principle called “the right for self determination.” We have always and everywhere been its worshipers and champions. We have defended that right for every nation, every part of a nation, and every collective of people.
There is no doubt whatsoever that the Arab people in Erets Israel has this right. And this right is not limited by or conditional upon the result of its influence on us and our interests. We ought not to diminish the Arabs’ freedom for self determination for fear that it would present difficulties to our own mission.
The entire moral core encapsulated in the Zionist idea is the notion that a nation — every nation — is its own purpose and not a tool for the purposes of other nations. And in the same way that we want the Jewish people to be its own master, capable of determining its historical destiny without being dependent on the will — even good will — of other nations, so too we must seek for the Arabs. (My translation -JP)
Naivete, denial or disrespect? HARDLY.
And these words were uttered in Hebrew, to Ben-Gurion’s intimate friends at the Labor Party, not to CNN cameramen. This article is by no means an isolated document of Zionism’s consistent commitment to co-existence and reconciliation. On page 13 of that same book, Ben Gurion advances the theory (first published in 1917) that the Palestinians are none others than our lost brethren – descendants of Jews who remained in Eretz Israel after the Roman expulsion and forcefully converted to Islam after the Muslim conquest (638 AD).
Naivete, denial or disrespect? HARDLY.
Zev Jabotinsky, Ben Gurion’s main rival and by far the most militant Zionist leader of the time, expressed essentially the same respect for Arab nationalism, and further explained, even identified with Arab’s fears of reciprocating (See his book Medina Ivrit, Tel Aviv, 1937, pages 71-79)
In this historical week of Israel’s 60th birthday, it is most fitting that we remind ourselves of the principles of reciprocity and mutual respect on which the state of Israel was founded.
May those principles light our path today, and may Israel’s adversaries be blessed with a faint semblance of these principles.
The opinions and views articulated by the author do not necessarily reflect those of Israel e News. | Digg | Newsvine | NowPublic | reddit | Tailrank | Technorati |

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