Bertrand Russell, part 2

More of Russell’s prophetic address, delivered the night before he passed away in 1970:

“The refugees who surround Palestine in their hundreds of thousands were described recently by the Washington journalist I.F. Stone as ‘the moral millstone around the neck of world Jewry’. Many of the refugees are now well into the third decade of their precarious existence in temporary settlements. The tragedy of the people of Palestine is that their country was ‘given’ by a foreign power to another people for the creation of a new state. The result was that many hundreds of thousands of innocent people were made permanently homeless. With every new conflict their numbers have increased. How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty? It is abundantly clear that the refugees have every right to the homeland from which they were driven, and the denial of this right is at the heart of the continuing conflict. No people anywehere in the world would accept being expelled en masse from their own country; how can anyone require the people of Palestine to accept a punishment which nobody else would tolerate? A permanent just settlement of the refugees in their homelands is an essential ingredient of any genuine settlement in the Middle East.”

Tomorrow, the final part of this prophetic talk. I am constantly moved to see these “early” expressions of concern for hypocrisy, human rights, and the futility of using armed force to subjugate a populace from 20, 30, even more than 40 years ago. I’m distraught at how such statements of concern raised unfair charges of anti-Semitism (and still do today) and were able to be dismissed by the general public because of the extreme pushback by the Jewish and Zionist communities.

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