The occupier: ‘We will keep your land indefinitely under our control. Until you stop fighting us, we will take more and more of your land and resources. We will dig ourselves in deeper and deeper, until you stop fighting us. We will direct your government, rape your economy and attack your resistance with overwhelming force. We will teach you to stop fighting us. When you stop fighting us, then we’ll talk.’
The resister: ‘You may take some of our land but you cannot take us. We were here before you came and we will be here long after we have driven you out. Brutal foreigners have no place in our affairs. We will not rest until we have the power to determine our own national destiny.’
The twin polarities of Israel and Palestine, the US and Iraq. The first is the acknowledged master of modern occupation theory and practice, a slow grind to the death. The second is a clumsy and deadly attempt to emulate the teacher on a much larger human and geographic scale. Both proceed from a blatantly illegal claim of international eminent domain; we know better than you and we deserve to seize control of your land, for your own good.
This used to be called colonialism. A century ago, European Zionists began the last of the white race’s 19th century colonial campaigns; the conquest and colonization of Palestine by Zionism, posing as “the Jewish people”. Billed as a national liberation movement to save the Jews from repression and pogroms in Europe, political Zionism was a racist response to racist oppression. Jews are superior, it said, and ought to live apart from non-Jews, whose lives are not equal to the lives of Jews, whom God commands to live in Palestine, etc. Thus the die was cast.
Although Israel is commonly thought to be a response to the Holocaust, the planning, funding, and momentum for the creation of the Jewish State were underway by the end of World War I. That the Zionist campaign is still raging today is a testament to the fanaticism intrinsic to the colonial mindset. Colonialism has always been energized by racism, and this case is no exception. From the outset, Zionists denied (‘A land without people for a people without land!’) and demonized (‘cockroaches’, ‘vermin’ etc.) the indigenous Palestinians in the classic manner, with precious little of the missionary attitude.
But Americans in Iraq aspire to do more. Israel drops one-ton bombs on apartment buildings full of sleeping children. The US blows up an entire neighborhood in one night. The Israelis build their walls and settlements and grab more land every week, bent on achieving Greater Israel, i.e. the disappearance of the Palestinians. The US won’t rest until it controls the planet’s last reservoirs of dwindling petroleum. All the while protecting its mate Israel against the world.
The centuries of ignorant and brutal acts of genocide committed by European colonizers are supposed to be behind us, but aside from the stakes, the gadgets, and the rhetoric, much remains the same. In Iraq, the blundering US ignorance of local culture rivals the writings of Capt. John Smith. Although Israel now trains US troops in the modern arts of urban slaughter, their general tactics are reminiscent of the conquistadors: Go in guns blazing and slaughter thousands. Then torture, rob, pacify and economically enslave the natives. Destroy or damage their holy sites, defame their religion, and allow the destruction of their historical artifacts. Assign new leadership beholden to the Crown and drain the colony of its natural resources. Move on and repeat.
Colonialism was supposed to have matured into imperialism. But as it did, its fundamentally racist assumptions and urges solidified into internal and external regimes of control. In the US, the possession of absurd amounts of military power encouraged an equally absurd national mythology of domestic security through endless war. Such myths enable the public to understand the need to fund a planetary military machine to protect and advance corporate-finance interests. The ‘savages’ must be subdued, and the old racist and xenophobic seeds of colonialism grow again in our fallow and arrogant minds.
For several decades the American public has been fed a steady diet of narrow and vicious Arab stereotypes, conveniently preparing us for our government’s current crusade to Democratize the Middle East. The marriage of the United States and Israel (back when Henry Kissinger was Justice of the Peace) accelerated this propaganda tilt. Now the ruthless 9/11 attacks and an equally ruthless (and pre-existing) bipartisan war-lust have excused its transformation into official policy. Here’s how they say it when they think they’re being polite: “Islamic ideology is the enemy.”
The mass psychosis required to support this scenario is generated by what America swallows every day from its imposter government and its embedded doses of “news”, “analysis”, and “background”. Take your pills, citizens, and pay no attention to the abyss ahead.
JAMES BROOKS is a writer, activist, and volunteer webmaster for Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel. His articles have been published by many web sites covering the Middle East, investigative journalism and politics.