Another Tack: A revanchist cause called Nakba

Another Nakba Day has come and gone with its not-unexpected bloody consequences. The Nakba must be the single most successful revanchist propaganda ploy ever – one which dementedly ultra-tolerant Israel has allowed to gain momentum and become a fixed feature of our surreal existence.

Never has a revanchist cause been marketed as effectively. It wasn’t so even in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 when France lost Alsace-Lorraine and seethed with patriotic retributionist ardor to reverse its wartime losses. This furious groundswell was then dubbed revanchism (from revanche, French for revenge).

Revanchism is inextricably tied to irredentism – the often unsavory nationalist agitation whereby one country claims stretches of another’s territory as property belonging to it.

World War II resulted from precisely such a lethal combination of revanchism and irredentism. Hitler strove to avenge Germany’s World War I defeat and (so he claimed initially) take control of territories populated by German-speakers. He insisted that Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland was Germania Irredenta (unredeemed Germany) – his “last demand in Europe.”

That border region’s German inhabitants, Hitler persuaded a world all-too-eager to be duped, deserve self-determination. Germans cannot live as a minority anywhere. (Just as Arabs can’t.) Continue reading