Another counterfactual...

Here's another one. There were various schemes around for the creation of a Jewish state at the turn of the twentieth century. The world Zionist congress debated accepting Britain's offer of 15,500 square kilometres in Uganda, for instance. The monster Stalin had his own 'socialist Zion' proposed near Mongolia, Birobidzhan. Einstein and Nehru had a dialogue that could even have resulted in a Jewish region in India (which one suspects may have been something to do with upsetting Jinnah and the Muslims). Nehru did this in private, however, and in public kept his distance because of Congress's complicated electoral base.

The Indian Jewish community also used to be split between Baghdadis and others, and collapsed after eighty percent of the 26000 or so left Mumbai and Kolkata for the land of Israel in the mid-twentieth century.

This of course illustrates another, albeit collateral point. The establishment of a national israel has removed lots of Jewish communities from the 141 or so states that grew up after the end of World War Two (though not, ironically, from places like Iran). There are some Jewish voices, like those on the funny, irreverent and smart Jewdas.org site who are prepared to bemoan this. I might warn you that link is not for the conservative minded. It was shown to me by a beautiful mischievous woman and could outrage the delicate-minded.

And there were schemes for other Israels which have been limned in fiction. After the superb Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay, I'll read just about anything by Michael Chabon, and his latest, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, is of course set in another Israel-that-never-happened, this time in Alaska. That would have made Florida solidly democratic, I shall tell you....

But anyway, here's another counter factual. What if any or lots of these Israels had been established? Does anyone think that the Middle east would be any more peaceful or hopeful, or the same, or a lot worse? There is a tendency, especially but not wholly on the left, for the condemnation of Israel's anti-terror campaigns and nationalism to be much, much louder than any treatment of the various disgusting oppressions visited by her enemies on their own people and everyone else.

So; where else would you have put Israel, what would have happened, and do you (as I do, not to upset anyone) think that Eretz Yisrael was the right place in the end?

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