Oct. 22, 2018
- Palestinians commonly describe their conflict with Zionism and Israel as an anti-colonialist struggle. According to the rules of postcolonial discourse, those who fight against colonialism are in the right by definition and are never responsible for anything.
- But the Palestinians’ ongoing refusal to accept that they are confronting a people and a rival national movement has been disastrous for them.
- The anti-colonialist struggles of the 20th century succeeded even though the colonial powers were always much stronger than those who fought them. The colonialist power ultimately gave up the fight and retreated.
- But Zionism was a national movement of a persecuted people whose ties to the land have been part of their identity and culture. The people who came here left behind them not a colonial mother country under whose auspices they were acting, but rather Czarist Russia, anti-Semitic Poland or Nazi Germany. Applying the term “colonialism” to such a situation empties this term of most of its moral and analytical significance.
- It’s a pity that the leaders of the Arab national movement in Palestine did not make an effort to understand how the Jews perceived themselves, their situation and their connection to this land. They assumed that the founding of the Jewish national home was a luxury of sorts for the Jews, and that they could be made to give up their state, just as Britain and France were once “persuaded” to give up their overseas colonies.
- Someone who displays such a degree of blindness toward the other side’s fundamental character is likely to bring disaster on his own people. The “anti-colonialist” blindness in relation to Israel fostered an expectation that Israel would crumble from within. After all, this wasn’t a real people and a real nation-state, but some “invented” artificial entity.