Reflections on the Meaning of Palestine
This essay addresses the Palestine question within a European context. After reflecting on why Palestine has been widely embraced as a “universal cause,” the author explores its relationship to the “Jewish question” in the changed context following World War II: Whereas prior to the war it was the Jews who were perceived as a threat to European civilization, today it is the Muslim immigrants who have the scapegoat role. Also discussed are philosemitism (and its manifestations in the West) and anti-Semitism (as it relates to the Arab world), and how these phenomena have been impacted by the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The essay concludes with “utopian musings” on possibilities for a future Palestinian-Israeli peace.
Alain Gresh, longtime editor-in-chief and current deputy-director of the French monthly Le Monde diplomatique, is the author of numerous books. The present essay is adapted from the last chapter of his latest book, De quoi la Palestine est-elle le nom? (2010).