By Chandra Kumar
The central role of the Zionist movement in the establishment of Israel and in the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their land and homes from 1947-49 is often noted by Israel’s critics. But let us not blame it all on Zionism; in particular, let’s not pretend that the Western powers are somehow innocent bystanders, as the US often portrays itself. In Western media, even on those rare occasions when Israel is criticized for its oppression of Palestinians, the role Israel plays for the West, and the role of the West in Israel’s rise as superpower of the Middle East, is ignored or downplayed. While Zionism was a crucial factor in these historical developments, it is important to remember that no matter how dedicated, determined, or ruthless the Zionists were, they could not have achieved their aims without outside help. David Ben-Gurion, Chaim Waizmann and the rest of the Zionist leadership had no illusions about this.