A Jewish-Like Homeland for Seminoles
April 17, 2018
By Mencken's Ghost
What do you consider your homeland?
You probably consider it to be the locale where you were born and spent your formative years.
Yossi Klein Halevi doesn't see it that way.
He was born in Brooklyn in the 1960s and lived there until 1982, but he never considered America to be his homeland. Instead, he saw Israel as his homeland—which is why he moved there in 1982 and became a citizen of Israel.
Who is Yossi Klein Halevi? He is a senior fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. The April 14-15, 2018, edition of the Wall Street Journal gave him nearly two full pages to explain his two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian impasse. His thinking is stunning, but not in the way he intended.
He believes that both Israelis and Palestinians have a rightful claim to all of historic Israel, as it is the homeland of both Jews and Arabs. (He's silent about Christians.)
To Halevi, historic Israel means not only the original 1948 borders of the Israeli state but also Gaza and the West Bank, where the city of Hebron is located. Halevi describes Hebron as "the world's oldest center of Jewish life, going back to Abraham and Sarah."
Halevi is essentially saying that although he was born and raised in the United States, he shares in a "rightful" claim to land in Palestine that is 5,700 miles from Brooklyn, because that land is his homeland. And it is his homeland because millennia ago, it was the birthplace of his religion.
By extension of this Zionist thinking, he's also saying that other Jews who were born and raised elsewhere have the same claim, including those who live in countries with minority rights and freedom of religion—countries that did not persecute their Jewish citizens.
That puts a new spin on not only the concept of a homeland but also on the concept of property rights.
Using Halevi's logic, or lack thereof, anyone of any religion has a right to claim land wherever the religion originated or where far distant ancestors once lived, regardless of where the claimant was born and raised and is living now. This would mean that Christians in Turkey or Syria could claim land in Bethlehem, or scattered believers in the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism could claim land in modern-day Iran, or Shiite Muslims could claim land in Madinah, Saudi Arabia, the Sunni city where Mohammed lived.
A better example is Native Americans. If American Jews have a right to land in Palestine, then Native Americans certainly have a right to reclaim their ancestral homelands in America.
Take the Seminoles. They were one of the tribes that suffered immensely from the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which was just 188 years ago, not millennia ago. Along with the Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Ponca, the Seminoles were forcibly relocated to reservations west of the Mississippi River. An estimated fourth to a third of Cherokees alone died along the way, in what became known as the Trail of Tears.
Today, most Native Americans on reservations are living in horrible poverty and are dependent on the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a federal agency that is so mismanaged that it makes Veterans Affairs look like the epitome of good management.
Taking a page from the Zionists, the Seminoles should have some powerful nation ramrod a resolution through the United Nations to reestablish their homeland in Florida, perhaps by giving them Fort Lauderdale, where the large Jewish population certainly wouldn't mind, given their support for a homeland for Jews in Palestine. But if they somehow were to mind and took up arms, the Seminoles could look to their powerful sponsor for military support.
Another option would be to partition the State of Florida into two halves, with Seminoles living on one side of the partition line and everyone else living on the other.
That's not an original idea. In fact, partition is what our friend Yossi Klein Halevi proposed in the Wall Street Journal as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dilemma.
Halevi believes that a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dilemma would never work, because Palestinians would end up in the majority, which would be the end of the Jewish state. The only solution, then, is for both Israelis and Palestinians to give up their respective claims to all of historic Israel and to agree to a partition of the land, a partition in which Israelis would live on one side of the partition line, and Palestinians on the other. In essence, Palestinians would vacate the land designated in 1948 as the State of Israel, and Israel would vacate much of Gaza and the West Bank and forever cease building settlements in the vacated areas.
Halevi calls this the "necessary injustice of partition."
Halevi could be right that a partition is the only way out of the dilemma. Of course, this would require a mass migration of people from one side of the partition line to the other, similar to the migration that took place when India was partitioned into two states, one Hindu and one Muslim.
In the same vein, if Seminoles were given half of Florida in a partition, the current residents in that half would have to move to the other half. But they'd have to accept it as a necessary injustice of partition.