The dynamic and tragic situation in Palestine is difficult to understand if the fundamental causes of the conflict are not adequately understood. From the perspective of the average working person, the intractable dispute between the Jewish settler state and the indigenous Palestinian people often seems confusing and senseless. Indeed, there is an almost unanimous effort from capitalist elites and their supporters in the west, to paint the situation in as complex shades as possible. In particular the known links between previous European colonialist enterprises in North and South America, Africa and Asia, and Israel are being deliberately ignored. Yet it is a fact that the state of Israel has been established by Jewish Zionists in almost an exact copy of the same way that European people previously established states in North America, South America, Africa and some parts of Asia.
In each of the above cases, after a period of time, the indigenous people’s of these continents and regions began to resist the unwelcome activities of the invading colonisers. The response of the colonists to native resistance was to begin the ethnic cleansing of the native people’s from the land – by all means they felt necessary! In North America the coastal Indians were pushed inland and later they and the Plains Indians (Blackfoot, Shoshone and Cree) were massacred and the remnants driven into reservations. A similar pattern took place in South America, where practically all the indigenous people’s (Quechuan Tupian and Panoan etc.) were wiped out by European weapons or diseases in order to allow Europeans to possess the entire continent. In Africa, eventual resistance by (Zulu, Maasai, Yoruba etc.) tribes and others a similar fate was meted out by the superior weaponry in the hands of the European invaders.
In each case, the native victims were blamed and demonised for this resistance to European colonial dispossession and certainly sometimes this resistance took bestial forms. However, the undoubted bestiality of the Christian colonists was denied or hidden and that of the resisters exaggerated for obvious propaganda purposes. Moreover, only a tiny minority of people at the time protested against this international level of genocide and they too were vilified, marginalised and even victimised for protesting over what was taking place. Yet a pattern of occupation, subjection, suppression and elimination of ‘people in the way of European progress’, was the basis of the existing nation states of North America, South America, Africa and Asia. Understanding this pattern of colonial expansion provides an explanation for the persistent and aggressive actions of elites in control of the state of Israel and also part of the reason why elites in charge of many other nations, such as UK, France, Italy, Germany, United States, Spain, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, etc., are reluctant to condemn Israel.
They are all mostly still in denial about the treatment of the people who suffered at the hands of their own nation-building predecessors.
It is therefore, important to understand that the state of Israel and its supportive citizens is simply the last remaining (and as yet unfinished) example in such colonising processes. The final solution to the problems attached to the instigators of colonial expansion in general is when the indigenous population has been demonised and fully subdued and/or overwhelmingly eliminated. That was the case in North and South America and Australia. Furthermore, it is not sheer bloody mindedness and inhumane aggression which motivates such callous indifference to the human suffering involved in colonisation. Undoubtedly these symptoms exist among some sectors of a population, but they are not necessarily general. It is actually the unfolding logic of these expansionary enterprises that motivates and produces the aggressive actions on the one hand, resistance on the other and also motivates the silence, or complicity, of many Jews in Israel and non-Jews in the rest of the globe.
If a group of people decide to invade and occupy a country and to stay there uninvited and unwelcome, certain things follow. They need to take over enough land and resources to feed, clothe and house themselves and if ever more colonists decide to join the initial group, then ever more land and resources are needed. If the land and resources are limited or already possessed, displacement or destruction of the aboriginal people becomes a logical outcome. Moreover, the new-born generations produced by the first and subsequent colonists, have an attachment to occupied land as – home! From then on defending ones home and resources, becomes an existential reaction from both the indigenous people and the colonising people alike. Demonisation of both sides follows. Without a knowledge of the historical process of colonialism, the ensuing unequal struggle for existence in Israel and Palestine appears (falsely) to be one which both sides are equally responsible. It’s the Israeli occupation which is at the bottom of everything.
So the above outline, sums up the situation in Israel and what is left of Palestine. If we add into the above non-elite scenario, the fact that the governing elites in Israel desire more and more Jewish people to become citizens and thus need more and more land so as to sustain and increase the tax base needed for their own welfare and future wealth accumulation, then we understand the purposes for which the armed forces of Israel are being used. The additional ‘crime’ of the Palestinians in the eyes of many inhumane Zionists is that they have refused to be fully subdued and eliminated. They are still resisting and fighting back! Under the present system both sides, although massively unequal, are locked into a death spiral. This explains why the past 70 years of humane appeals and numerous United Nations Resolutions, to end the Israel – Palestine conflict on the basis of the existing capitalist system have failed. They will continue to fail and this is why the demonisation of Palestinians and their understandable resistance will continue.
What is needed is not only a revolution in thinking by the younger generation of working class Palestinians and Israelis, which would be welcome, but a revolutionary-humanist overturning of the existing mode of production along with it’s class distinctions and political forms of control. The resources of the region are sufficient – if equalised out – to ensure everyone has a decent home, food, water, housing and job – which is actually what is needed. That existential need will be unattainable on the basis of the present system in which an economic, financial and political elite absorb most of the wealth and leave the working classes on both sides to fight for the few remaining slices of cake or crumbs which are left. Working class people everywhere, white collar and blue need to side with the Palestinian oppressed but from a consistent anti-capitalist and revolutionary-humanist perspective.
Roy Ratcliffe (May 2021.)
Understanding Israel and Palestine It was helpful to my understanding of the tragic conflict between two states at war.. I had thought that Israel was a Jewish state, and for lsrael to be denied a homeland was anti semitic.
Hi Chris! Thanks for your comment. I think your former understanding using the concept of anti-semitism reveals one source of the common misperception I referred to in the first paragraph. Whether deliberate or not, the term Semite has been a cause of misdirected analysis and understanding. The term semitic in modern linguistic studies, refers to a sub – group of languages from the common indo – European group of languages. The linguistic sub – group contains the languages of Arabic, Hebrew, Ethiopic, Aramaic which were particularly common in countries under the influence of ancient Assyria, Babylon and Phonecia. The common inheritors of this sub – group are the modern Jews and Arabs. So from this actual linguistic based perspective both Arabs and Jews are semites. To be logically consistent therefore to be anti-semitic means being against all those who are semites – Arabs as well as Jews. The actual term for being against Jews alone would therefore be Judeophobic or Zionophobic in the case of the Zionist Jews of Israel.
However, despite the improved accuracy, such words would be too consistent with logic to serve the confusing purposes for which the term anti-semitic is now being used, which is to outlaw criticism of Israel ‘s displacement and dispossession of their liguistic counterparts the Palestine.
In colonial conquests different forms of capitalist based logic frequently replace normal humanist based logic. The perpetrators then become projected as the victims, the victims become projected as perpetrators. This occurred in the USA with regard to the various native Indians. Huge numbers of films depicting ‘red indians’ as bloodthirsty scalping terrorists were still being made in the 20th century and are still on TV in the 21st. This is despite the fact that historically, the original terrorists and scalpers in North America, were those western bound ex- European colonists, who were greedy for gold, timber and land. Similarly with regard to South America and Africa with the various native tribes and in Australia with regard to the Aboriginal tribal people’s. Sadly in historical matters and contemporary ones too few among the literary classes can be bothered to disentangle the real situation from the distortions promoted by the dominant elites and their money making supporters. Regards, Roy
You may remember that some time ago I was soundly reproached by an American commentator on this website for what he took to be antisemitic comments.
I had been slightly shocked and at the same time greatly enlightened by the full scale, brutal and mendacious gang attack which almost the entire media and most politicians made on non other than that mildly social democratic statesman Jeremy Corbyn.
Regardless of whether he was worth the effort which they expended I was somewhat in awe of the ease with which the entire British establishment entered into what was in effect a tacit conspiracy to assassinate the character of an individual and the tendency which he represented.
I will not underestimate them again.
One weapon in there armory was the allegation of antisemitism, which was made possible by conflating opposition to Israel with attacking Jews just for being Jews.
The historic record of Jews being persecuted is too well known for me to explain it here but I just hate for any innocent person to be associated with it and that is what they did.
Did our privileged classes feel threatened by a leftward movement in the (excuse me while i laugh) labour party?
Well yes, it was the direction that mattered, they spot trouble coming from a long way off.
I would only say to any Jewish people who read this, don’t get sucked into attacking those who support human rights for Palestinians, they don’t prefer Palestinians, they just support human rights
and if the real trouble starts they may be the last people who you can still depend on.
Hi Leslie! Yes I do remember that incident. And you are correct in your analysis of the establishment demonising Jeremy Corbyn and anyone else who dares to distinguish between the colonialist activities of the Zionists, Jewish and Christian, and their rights as individuals. In JC”s case he also threatened to increase taxes etc., if elected so the elite were keen to get him and jumped behind the criticism of pro-Israel Jewish groups in the Labour party who knew JC”s support for Palestine and wanted that stopped and punished. I actually wrote a critique of his ten point programme – on this blog – as unachievable but it may have mobilised many ordinary people and the establishment didn’t want that. Regards, Roy