Thu 19 Apr 2007
The terror of the Holocaust has been used since World War II to justify the colonial creation of the Israeli settler state. Did the Jews deserve a state as compensation for the crimes committed against them by the Nazis, compounded by the global silence? Absolutely! But the choice of Palestine and the construction of a state on top of a pre-existing social formation reflected the sort of settler mentality found in other settler states, e.g., the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, apartheid South Africa, Rhodesia/Zimbabwe.
From the settler framework, history begins and ends with the experiences of the settlers. Even the Irish, oppressed by Britain for hundreds of years in what the Irish aptly describe as “racial oppression” (the proto-type, according to the late US Marxist scholar and activist Theodore Allen, for the system of white supremacist rule imposed on colonial North America), allowed too many of themselves to become foot-soldiers for settler states when they fled the horrors of their own persecution, ignoring the similarity between the oppression that they had suffered and that which they helped to perpetuate…
The work of progressive and Left forces in the USA who are pro-Palestinian must emphasize that the past (and in some cases, present) persecution of one group does not justify displacing an uninvolved third party from their land. The settler’s reality is not the reality, but is only a portion of a total equation. Restricting one’s vantage point to the problems of the settler condemns one to supporting the ‘right’ of the settler to preserve their existence irrespective of the methods and consequences. Not only is this morally bankrupt but it is also politically insane since the final result will be interminable war, and quite possibly, mutual destruction.
From “A Challenge Facing Pro-Palestinian Politics in the USA” by Bill Fletcher, April 19, 2007.