Today, exactly 64 years ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 to end the British Mandate in Palestine and partition the territory, giving international legitimacy to the establishment of a Jewish nation-state somewhere in Palestine, as well as the notion of two states for two distinct nationalist identities, one Jewish and one Arab, with Jerusalem to be placed under international administration.
In honor of this anniversary, the World Zionist Organization decided to hold a celebratory “reenactment” of the day today at 1:30pm in front of the Jewish Agency building in central Jerusalem, in order to “recreate the joy of the Jewish people.” Celebrations will include actors playing historical figures such as David Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir, and a dance troupe that will encourage the public to come and dance the hora in the streets. Professional photographers have even been hired to take photos with antique cameras in order to really capture the mood of that day.
One of the guest speakers is the prolific legislator MK Danny Danon, who yesterday announced his plan to propose a bill called “National Zionism Day,” which would make it an official commemoration day in schools and other state institutions. Head of the WZO Department for Activities in Israel and Countering Antisemitism, Yaakov Hagoel, told the Arutz Sheva news that the celebratory reenactment is designed to allow all citizens of Israel the chance to experience the elation felt on that day. (oops, guess he forgot about nearly a quarter of the population.)
I’m a bit confused about what exactly they are celebrating. Is it the fact that Israel has been able, through military prowess over the years, to annihilate the notion of two states and any kind of division of sovereignty? Is it the fact that it has been able to turn things around for itself and become so strong that it doesn’t need international legitimacy? After all, it has been acting with all its might to thwart UN recognition of an independent Palestinian state – the very same recognition that it sought for itself as a beleaguered nation with little power and very real existential fears.
Israel already has an independence day (and a Jerusalem Day, and the Naqba Law). Why does it need another one? Celebrating the anniversary of the UN Partition Plan in such a way only highlights Israel’s control over the entire area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, which is just smug. If those in power were even a bit humble, they could actually use this day to highlight the importance of respecting one’s neighbors and empathizing with situations in which vulnerable entities need international help – something Jews should surely be able to identify with.
As if there was a shortage of patriotism in Israel right now?! As if this is what quasi-state institutions and government officials should be spending precious time and money on?
Where is the humility??