I’ve just now shared the post below on Facebook:
& I want here to relate to & to take issue with what Professor Blatman says in the second of the following four paragraphs:
In Israel, as in other places that developed through colonialist settlement and dispossession (North America, Australia, South Africa, Namibia), this colonialism did not begin with aspirations of sovereignty. The early Jewish settlers came here for economic reasons, to escape anti-Semitic persecution, or out of some romantic fantasy of building a new society.
But their descendants, as well as other groups that arrived over the years, saw the place as their homeland and wanted to be sovereign there. This Jewish demand received support and recognition after the Holocaust. Today no international body, including the Palestinian leadership, denies the legality and historic legitimacy of this sovereignty within the pre-1967 borders.
But since that year there has developed a colonialist project of dispossession in the occupied territories; it is still unfinished because it has not yet used the most extreme tools of colonialist dispossession, namely ethnic cleansing or genocide. It has, however, reached some very advanced stages that characterized similar efforts in the past – uncontrolled land seizures, economic, political, and cultural strangulation of the local population, terror and violence to which state officials turn a blind eye, ethnic separation and in particular, the conveying of an unequivocal message that this colonial presence is not temporary but permanent.
The local population gets the message and is waging a desperate struggle to reclaim what it senses it is about to lose forever. It resists, rebels and uses terror. In Namibia, North America and Australia, the response to this resistance was genocide.
No, it’s not untrue that ‘Today no international body, including the Palestinian leadership, denies the legality and historic legitimacy of this sovereignty within the pre-1967 borders’. Not untrue. But surely not right! Not moral! What motivates this almost universal non-denial is not justice or morality but Realpolitik. No humanitarian concern for the fate of Holocaust survivors & the fate of endangered Jews anywhere survivors can justify such universal non-humanitarian unconcern for the fate of Nakba survivors & the fate of exiled & displaced Palestinians everywhere. What is ‘legality’ but the making of laws by not-disinterested parties? What does ‘historic [I think the word intended was ‘historical’] legitimacy’ mean? Only that it has been in the interests of those who by recognizing a state accord it ‘legitimacy’ to do so. Being possibly (no more) a distant descendant of someone who was exiled from a country some two millennia ago can by no moral criterion be seen as according ‘legitimacy’ to the forcible dispossession and usurpation of the land of someone else, or to the sovereignty of the “returning” Jews over the native non-Jewish population of Palestine.
& I could add to Professor Blatman’ first par that many of the first & later Jewish settlers came because of deep emotional feelings for Palestine, with a profound sense of self-fulfillment as Jews if they could live in Eretz-Yisrael, the Land of Israel, Israeland. That has been the country’s name in Hebrew for millennia, & it is an important element in Jewish identity. But this too is not a justification for sovereignty. What evidently swayed many of the Jews in the Yishuv to accept the Zionist leadership & to support their unilateral declaration of “a Jewish state in Palestine to be called Israel”, was the argument “If we don’t drive most of them out & rule over the rest, they will kill us all”. Which, by the way, may have been a fair estimation at the time, given how the Zionists had been relating to the non-Jewish Palestinians until then.
You colonize, you displace, you dispossess, you deprive of jobs, you disrespect, you humiliate, you provoke resistance, & you have your pretext of self-defense.
No, the Zionist State, which has occupied Palestine by military force, first the greater part of it in 1948-49, & the rest in 1967, has no moral right to its sovereignty ‘within the pre-1967 borders’. The only right it has is the right of might: its own coupled with that of the powers that support/ed it.
& Israel’s sovereignty over Palestine is only the latest of hetero-male patriarchalist colonizations that (among their other crimes against humanity & the ecology of our planet) have wreaked & are still wreaking destruction & oppression to indigenous populations worldwide.
& Israel’s sovereignty over Palestine is – with Indonesia’s sovereignty over West Papua, & China’s over Tibet – one of the three major military occupations that today are continuing the dehumanization, dispossession & disenfranchisement & more of many millions of subalterned human beings, & this is all morally wrong!
Can these right by might sovereignties & occupations be ended?
Not until enough people choose to go with what is moral rather than what is or seems to be good for themselves even if it’s at the cost of the others’ suffering. choose right tather than might, humane rather than inhumane – good rather than bad.
As I’m thinking of saying in a post I’m preparing (you can take this as a teaser):
how do we do this? I haven’t the faintest idea, but I do think it has to begin with some kind of reVOLITION: enough of us have to WILL A WORLD THAT IS GOOD TO & FOR EVERY BEING IN IT, & to find ways to spread this volition, this willing. to more & more of us – because we all do have good in us, somewhere…