Life

From Canaan to Palestine: A History of Jewish Land Aspirations

  Use wealth to seek land.
   The Jews are a special nation originating from the ancient Levant (equivalent to the modern Eastern Mediterranean region). According to legend, their place of residence is Canaan. The Roman Empire expelled the Jews from Canaan and renamed the place the “Province of Syro-Palestine”. The Jewish nation has since entered the “Great Diaspora” period.
   In 1561, the Jewish activist Joseph Nassi, through his connections in the Ottoman court, formulated a plan to transit European Jews through Cyprus and the Republic of Venice, and finally settle them in the Lower Galilee region of northern Palestine. This plan eventually died due to the all-out war between the Ottoman Empire and the Venetian Republic. In the mid-17th century, Jewish social activist Sabbatai Zevi asked the Ottoman Empire to give Gaza Strip to build a Jewish community, but the Ottoman Empire threw him in prison.
   From the 17th to the 18th century, the human rights and democratic trends brought about by the rise of the European Enlightenment Movement fundamentally improved the living conditions of the Jewish people. The Industrial Revolution triggered the redistribution of social wealth, allowing the Jewish people who were good at doing business to quickly accumulate a large amount of wealth. At the same time, Jewish immigrants spread all over the world. With their deep pockets, they began to interfere in the political decision-making of European and American countries, looking for ideal areas for founding countries around the world.
   The Austro-Hungarian Jewish journalist Herzl (1860-1904), who was revered by later generations as the “Spiritual Father of Israel”, once envisioned: “Granting sovereignty to the Jews somewhere on the earth… and officially stating it in international law” . After owning the land, Jews all over the world actively provided financial resources to support the construction of this country.” Regarding the specific location of the founding of the country, Herzl proposed two plans: one is Palestine; the other is Argentina. For the sake of money and votes, European and American politicians are willing to help Israel establish a state, but they do not want to offend the Ottoman and Argentine governments.
   In order to break the deadlock, Herzl asked Germany for help and bribed Ottoman officials heavily, but in the end he got nothing. In 1900, Herzl turned his attention to Britain. In 1903, British colonist Joseph Chamberlain proposed providing land to the Jews in Uganda, Africa. However, the Jews did not like that place.
  Unbridled plans during World War I and World War II
   Since the 20th century, the Jewish nation has become an important force in the international geopolitical game. Germany promised it that if Germany won World War I, it would assist it in establishing a state in Palestine.
   In 1917, as the war situation gradually became clear, Britain and France, who were eager to carve up the Ottoman Empire’s possessions in the Middle East, invariably regarded the Jews as their pawns in infiltrating the Middle East. On November 2, the United Kingdom launched the Balfour Declaration, “in favor of the establishment of a national home for the Jews in Palestine.”
   In the 1920s, some people within the Soviet Union proposed the idea of ​​establishing a Jewish Soviet republic in Crimea or parts of Ukraine, but the plan was shelved due to concerns that it would anger non-Jewish people in these areas. During World War II, Hitler once hoped to deport the Jews to the French colony of Madagascar. But following Germany’s defeat at the Battle of Britain, the plan was postponed.
   Japan appears to be more utilitarian in instigating the establishment of a Jewish nation. In 1931, on the eve of the September 18th Incident, Japan proposed the so-called “Pufferfish Plan” to attract tens of thousands of Jews to settle in Northeast China or Shanghai. This would not only gain economic benefits, but also please American Jews and encourage them to Invest in Japan. However, they are worried that this move will affect relations with their ally Germany, and Japan’s top officials have a very ambiguous attitude towards this plan. During this period, thousands of Jews traveled across the Soviet Union, arrived in Japan by ship, and settled in Kobe.
   In the summer of 1941, Japan was worried that so many Jewish refugees living in Kobe would affect relations with Germany and asked the Jews to move to Shanghai, China. A few months later, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, and all funds and communications from American Jews ceased. In 1942, the Japanese government officially abolished the “Pufferfish Project.”
   After World War II, the Jews finally took advantage of the critical moment of great power competition, seized the opportunity, and established Israel in Palestine as they wished.

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