Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Israel a "brutal colonial power"; local rights group calls it "apartheid"

A Bedouin by the Jordan River in the early 20th century taken by the German Protestant Institute of Archaeology.

The heinous attack on civilians in Israel, early on October 7th, was a monstrous crime perpetrated by Hamas terrorists. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, said this month that Hamas committed war crimes but "The collective punishment by Israel of Palestinian civilians is also a war crime, as is unlawful forcible evacuation of civilians."

"An eye for an eye" (Biblical Hebrew: עַיִן תַּחַת עַיִן, ʿayīn taḥaṯ ʿayīn) is a commandment found in the Book of Exodus 21:23–27 citing the principle of reciprocal justice measure for measure.

Jesus in the Christian Bible John 8:7, with Mary Magdalene, a disciple, said to the men who wished to stone her to death, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

SEE also: Israel is the West's last settler colony

Avi Shlaim (born 1945) is an Israeli and British historian of Iraqi Jewish descent. He is an Emeritus Professor of International Relations at Oxford University.

He wrote an essay for The Economist on this year, the 75th anniversary of the declaration of the State of Israel on May 15, 1948.

"The controlling logic of settler-colonialism is to subdue and drive out the natives. Noam Chomsky, an eminent Jewish-American intellectual, has argued that settler colonialism is the most sadistic form of imperialism. In Palestine, the Zionist leaders were not sadistic, but they were ruthless in pursuit of their goal."

"In 1948, following the Arab rejection of the UN partition plan, they exploited the opportunity offered by an Arab military attack to extend the territory of their emerging state beyond the borders drawn by the UN cartographers and to carry out large-scale ethnic cleansing of Palestine. After the war, all the emphasis was on Aliyah or immigration, “the ingathering of the exiles”, nation-building and promoting the welfare of the Jewish population. The Arab minority inside Israel was kept under military government until 1966. During this period the settler-colonial character of the new state became obscured, but it did not fundamentally change."

I experienced the transformation of Israeli society over the past half-century at the personal level. In the mid-1960s I served loyally and proudly in the Israeli army because I felt at that time that the IDF was true to its name: it was the Israeli Defence Forces. After the 1967 war, its character gradually changed. It became the repressive police force of a brutal colonial power. I for one, therefore, do not regard Israel’s 75th birthday as a cause for celebration but rather as an occasion for critical reflection and soul-searching.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Israel is the West's last settler colony

Map of the Southern Levant in the 9th century BC, with Israel in blue

Mount Zion is a hill in Jerusalem, located just outside the walls of the Old City. The term Mount Zion has been used in the Hebrew Bible first for the City of David and later for the Temple Mount, but its meaning has shifted and it is now used as the name of ancient Jerusalem's Western Hill (Wikipedia).

Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), a Jewish journalist living in Austria-Hungary, founded the Zionist movement in 1896 and he convened the First Zionist Conference in 1897.

In 1902, Arthur James Balfour, succeeded his uncle, Lord Salisbury, as British prime minister. He established a Royal Commission on Alien Immigration (1902–03). Colonial immigration restriction laws played an important role in the formulation and passing of the 1905 Aliens Act.

In London there were immigration restrictions among the Jewish community who did not wish to see Jewish ‘pauper classes’ descend on England.

Herzl asked the colonial secretary, Joseph Chamberlain, to permit Jewish colonisation in British-controlled Egypt near El Arish (the largest settlement of the Sinai Peninsula in the northeastern area by the Mediterranean coast), but he was offered Uganda. The goal was to still to settle in Ottoman Palestine.

SEE here as well: Israel a "brutal colonial power"; local rights group calls it "apartheid"