I just like the phrase “aboriginal Jews.” To my Upper West Side ear it sounds like Mongrel WASPs or Hunter-Gatherer Unitarians. Anyway, from a reader:
I have always seen Israel as the result of the national liberation movement of the region’s aboriginal Jews. Liberation of the aboriginal Jews (and anyone else lucky enough to find refuge within Israel’s borders) from the twin fascisms of pan-Arabism and Islamism which have oppressed and even eliminated so many of the region’s aboriginal ethnic groups. Israel’s aboriginal Jews were not unique in accepting outside help (and even immigration) in their liberation struggle. Lebanon’s Maronites; Egypt’s Copts, Iraq and Turkey’s Kurds, and Iran’s Zoroastrians have all sought and received outside help in their liberation struggles, each group according to its own circumstances.
Richard Cohen’s remark that Israel is a “mistake” because it was a mistake to found a European Jewish state inside the “Arab” region is not only ignorant of this history, but it is self-hating in the sense that he tacitly validates the aboriginal liberation struggle of many peoples but singly denies validity to the liberation struggle of the region’s aboriginal Jews.