The nation-state of Israel should be
dissolved. A time for blunt talk

G. S. 
initial posting 13 Jan 2011 - last update 25 Jan 2011


     The German Nazi regime was seen as illegitimate by much of the world at the close of World War II. It was dissolved by the militarily victorious powers, with much cruelty towards the German people.
     The Zionist nation-state of Israel is increasingly seen as illegitimate by the world's peoples - deserving of dissolution. It should be dissolved humanely, with no cruelty towards any people, including the current would-be conquerers.

“We don’t want war! We don’t want murder! We want peace!”
Elder Indigenous woman in march for World Peace in San
Cristobal, Chiapas, Mexico, February 2010, Global Jus-
tice Ecology Project (GJEP). Photo: Orin Langelle

Indigenous peoples — bearers of the torch for humanity

      I know that my advocacy of resolution of the “mideast crisis” without any punishment for anybody would be thought condemnable by all people who believe in and seek punishment of those who have committed terrible acts. Millions — perhaps billions of people who are outraged at the widely-publicized savagery of the Israeli government surely feel vengeful and want the guilty punished. Surely most of the Palestinians, some ten millions or so, who have been the primary targets of Israeli genocidal efforts, want revenge through punishment. Also the bulk of Israeli Jews, who have been effectively brainwashed into imagining that they are the aggrieved party and that the Palestinian Arabs are the aggressors, will insist on their justification in punishing the Arabs involved. Yes, we so-called “Westernized” people, in particular practically all the people in “modern” cultures in every part of the globe, are culturally attuned to the idea that “crimes” need to be “punished”. This idea is powerful, and dangerous because it threatens the very continuation of a livable society for billions of us.

      How can it be that universal, or near universal acceptance of the concept of “justice” can be responsible for the looming extinction of a livable human society, one deserving of the label “civilization”? The explanation is not far afield, not if you live in Oaxaca and make an effort to learn even a little about the still persisting value system of indigenous cultures. Jaime Martínez Luna, a Zapotec who lives in the northern Sierra, un serrano he likes to say, a man of the mountains, explains in simple terms the difference between “restorative justice” and “retributive justice”. Restorative justice has as its goal to heal the community, retributive justice aims instead to punish those whose actions are judged to have injured the community.[2]

      As Jaime explains, if there is a dispute in which one man kills another, the indigenous community requires the man who killed (often a neighbor) to assume responsibility not only for his own family but for the family of the deceased man. Yes, for him it's a burden, but what it means is that neither family is left without the important labor of the senior adult. In the “Western” society, the surviving man is deprived of his independence, so that not only is the deceased man’s family without it's senior working member, but the other family is also unable to rely on its normal senior worker. Of course it would be better if the original killing had not happened, but the indigenous perspective recognizes that sometimes people become enraged (they consider it a kind of temorary loss of sanity) and act precipitously on their rage. It’s not good, but it happens. And their society has learned to live with this human shortcoming.

      My proposal for a humane resolution of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict is simply a generalization of the indigenous idea to larger-scale population groups. When a wrong has been done, for example a man’s life destroyed, it cannot be righted. But it is possible, as the indigenous value system shows, to attempt to do no more harm by restoring the community. It is perfectly clear that the Palestinians were not responsible for the Jewish Holocaust. All the lying in the world by Zionist would-be conquerors’ propagandists cannot legitimate their actions. As my opening statement in the note linked to in endnote [1] states, “The most essential realization in trying to come to grips with this terribly convoluted situation centered in the Middle East is that there is no possibility of a totally just resolution. The best option is to follow the example of indigenous practices — try to do no more harm, try to heal the community. In this case “the community” is all of humanity.

Humble and proud — as lovers of life, not haters

Indigenous woman gathering firewood for cooking, at Cerro
Fortin, City of Oaxaca, 18 May 2010, photo by G.S.
[This posting is in progress – still incomplete]


[1] A humane resolution of the Palestine/Israel conflict. A proposal for achieving this is in my essay, “The ethics of a just solution of the ‘Palestinian/Israeli’ conflict” at

[2] Jaime Martínez Luna explores some fundamental differences between traditional indigenous communal cultures and so-called modern Westernized culture in his work, Comunalidad y Autonomía, a translation of which into English is at

George Salzman is a former American Jew living in Oaxaca, Mexico, an Emeritus Prof of Physics, Univ of Massachusetts-Boston.

All comments and criticisms are welcome.  <>

      If you know folks who want to ‘save the world’, starting with global open communication — no censorship, I’ll be glad to add them to my Notes of an anarchist physicist listserv [noaap]. To subscribe write me, including your first and last names, please, or send a blank e-mail to

*     *     *
Return to the latest postings page of website II,
Return to the home page of website II,

Initial posting of this page: 13 January 201.
Last update: 25 January 2011