On a Few Comments on DKos
This diary by litho, Israel: Rethinking 1948, quotes Jewish quisling Ilan Pappe’s book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine to show how the state of Israel was born in “original sin” (the very words of commenter “jimsexton” below—religious language coming from the so-called “reality-based community”) and is morally obliged to make it right (“At the very least, Israel needs to take seriously its obligations to the descendants of those expelled from the country during the War of Independence.”). I don’t have Pappe’s book with me right now, nor the necessary free time to do a comprehensive refutation of it even if I had. In this post I just want to say a few words on an exchange of three comments, by three different commenters, on that thread, a very revealing exchange which might give us Zionists pause to consider our reactions.
Commenter “Florida Democrat”, in his comment, titled “Good Summary of Pappe”, says:
but I can guarantee you, people don't want to hear it. It's quite natural actually. This is to Israel what the ruthless, inhuman and systematic genocide of native Americans is to the US. And just like here, no one enjoys dirty laundry from the past, questioning the heroic epic that is the foundation of one's country. So most either ignores it or find a way to attack the messenger (mark my words!).
But truth is absolutely essential. There can be no justice without it.
Commenter Keith Moon, who should be noted for his many attempts to remedy the sliding anti-Israel bias of Daily Kos and its growing consonance of opinion with Ahmadinejad, titled his reply, “huh”, and said:
This is to Israel what the ruthless, inhuman and systematic genocide of native Americans is to the US.
no it's not
jews were there in palestine and the region - one difference
it's the jews ancestral home - second difference
what is the truth here? there are 14 different versions - this is one, go read the other 13
you're not buying this dairy line r u ?
To which commenter “mickT”, in his comment, titled “So”, replies:
Should the citizens of Tampa Bay be thrown out of their homes to give the Seminole Indians their ancestral homes back? We know for 100% certainty it was their land.
Or does might make right.
Or does having something written in the 'approved' bible mean more than other unapproved documents uncovered about history of the 'sacred lands'.
Does myth make right?
Does strong lobby make right?
I kind of thought that if a family had lived on a land for generations, that might stand for just some small shred above myths/ancient history/brute force. Oh well.
But I guess this is the 21st century. If you have a strong military, you decide.
Let’s see the points we can glean from this exchange. When I thought about it, I was quite startled.
First: “Florida Democrat” compares us Jews to the American newcomers from the Old World, and the “Palestinians” to the Native Americans. The condensed version: Jews are colonial occupiers just as the cowboys were, and the “Palestinians” the indigenous people of the land just like the Native Americans. Yet, judging by his very handle, “Florida Democrat”, he is one of those European immigrants occupying Native American land. He has no problem calling for the “injustice toward the Palestinians” to be addressed, yet it looks as if he is in no hurry to make his own contribution to addressing the injustice toward the Native Americans, in the form of evacuating their land and going back to the European motherland.
Second: Keith Moon, in saying, “It’s the Jews’ ancestral home”, reframes it just as I would, putting the Jews as the indigenous people of the land (whether he believes the “Palestinians” to be indigenous also is irrelevant right now, and anyway, it’s as good as you can get on DKos). The Jews, according to that narrative, are the Native Americans returning to their land.
Third: “mickT” asks if the current citizens of Tampa Bay (Florida), namely the descendants of immigrants from the Old World, should evacuate their homes to give the original inhabitants, the Native Americans from the Seminole tribe, their land back.
So, things work like this:
The “Palestinians” have had their lands stolen by Jewish colonial invaders just like the Native Americans had theirs by the cowboys. The Jewish colonialist invaders should therefore evacuate their colonial settlements for the “Palestinians” to return to them, for the sake of justice. But descendants of the cowboys can stay where they are right now, justice be damned. And if you say the Jews are the indigenous people of the land, rightfully returning to it, then you get the reply that evacuating the existing people to make room for them would be a grave injustice, just as it would not be right to evacuate Florida to make room for its indigenous people, the Seminoles.
Note, note well, that I have not strayed here one tiny bit outside the realm of the post-colonial discourse. All those three comments, and my commentary on them, are within the bounds of discourse about indigenous peoples, colonialist invaders, land rights and justice. Yet even within this tightly confined sandbox, the double standard is here for all to see: the ship is steered toward the destination of expelling Jews from the Land of Israel (G-d forbid), and no other goal; if the Jews are colonialist invaders, it doesn’t follow other colonialist invaders (like that Democrat occupying Seminole land) should be required to follow the same standard, and if the Jews are the indigenous people, then suddenly all the compassion toward indigenous peoples, all the callings for their cause to be addressed, goes out the window.
What do I, and I think all of us Zionists should, conclude from this exchange and its insights? That we should stop giving credit to the post-colonial arguments leveled against Israel. We can see that those who make those arguments are hypocritical in that regard, not following them to full consistency, using them to suit an agenda and not as an absolute moral ruling; why, then, should we give those arguments a better treatment than their originators give them? To all those detractors of Zionism on post-colonial grounds, the reply should be: “Put up or shut up”.