Ralph Krainin's letter of April 20  defending the non-colonial character of Israel is an amalgam of nonsense, beautifully illustrated by his solemn declaration: "I know of no one who has ever heard of him!" (Maxime Rodinson). Is this an excuse or a statement of ignorance?
Then he started singing the old song of "the return of a displaced people to the land of its origins," a land they have supposedly left some 2,000 years ago. The founders of Zionism, i.e., the Ashkenazi Jews, who championed the idea of "return", never lived in Palestine to qualify to "return" to it. They are the descendants of the Khazars who converted to Judaism in the middle of the 8th century. The Turkish Jewish state of the Khazars was located in south-eastern Russia and flourished from the seventh to the eleventh century. When Genghis Khan wiped it out, the Khazars migrated to Poland and formed the cradle of Western Jewry. To say that these European Jews "returned" to Palestine, where their ancestors never set foot, is a misuse of the word "return". Like the Indonesian Muslims who have no historic or religious rights in the Arabian Peninsula, these European Jews have no historic or religious rights in Palestine, nor are they Semite in the first place, a fact that points to a misuse of another term, that of anti-Semitism. Even If we hypothetically were to admit that the ancestors of the European Jews were "displaced" (which is not the case) who in his right mind can be so naïve to think that the population of Palestine will remain unchanged for 2,000 years? If Mr. Krainin is interested in an example of people literally returning to their homeland, it is those 30 Palestinians who were recently allowed to return to their homes after living just 20 years in exile.
April 30, 1991]