Jews have neither accepted colonisation nor been good colonisers
July 25, 2006
When it's about Israel everyone has an opinion. If you ask the Arabs, you get almost unanimously angry faces, and when you ask the Europeans most of them do not have a positive opinion about Israel. Some poll a few years ago in Europe showed that most Europeans thought Israel was the greatest threat to world security, ranking higher than Iran or North Korea. It's interesting that so many Iranians in the diaspora are actually pro-Israel rather than pro Muslim Arabs.
People side with or against Israel mostly because of personal prejudice and ideological or political partisanship. Iranians who live in Iran are mostly anti-Israel. This doesn't necessarily mean they are in favour of Israel's annihilation. They simply don't care much about Israel. They don't care much about Palestinians either, but Palestinians are Muslims, and no matter how secular the Iranian diaspora may be the vast majority of Iranians in general fear Allah and consider themselves true Muslims.
But the Iranian diaspora is so much angry at the Iranian regime that it considers any friend of the Iranian regime its enemy by relation. So if Hamas or Hezbollah are friends of the Iranian regime then the Iranian diaspora will view them as evil and disgusting simply by associating them with the Iranian regime. That's how so many Iranians outside Iran are pro-Israel, because they are actually against the Islamic regime of Iran, and this makes them prefer to like the enemy of the Iranian regime, Israel.
But this is not of course why so many Americans are actually pro-Israel. While Europeans are Christians who rarely visit a bible in a lifetime, Americans are proud of their religiousness, go to church every week, and often quote from the holy book. And they also care about defending the holy land. And these Americans may not be the ones living in Manhattan or Beverly Hills, as most Iranians who voted for Ahmadinejad do not live in northern Tehran.
So, it's all just about various interests that are playing out not just in opinion polls, weblogs and the press, but also in various governments' political decisions.
Why is Israel such a hot issue that so many are talking about it? And why is it that it creates such a polarisation of opinions and politics? The current conflict in the Middle East made me think a bit more deeply about this issue, the Israeli issue, to see where it comes from and what is going on for real.
The world has often been witness to colonisations. There are countless examples of colonisations that are very familiar to us. These colonisations have always been unjust and cruel, often even genocidal. Life is unjust by definition as we are born different, with or without merit. So, justness is quite subjective to be taken into account. But cruelty and murder have been some of the fundamental characteristics of various migrating peoples wishing to colonise a land.
For the past four of five thousands of years, or even earlier than that land has been scares and very often the subject of dispute because of the growth of population and the need for extra land, therefore the need for colonisation. Recent history has seen many successful colonisations, such as the colonisation of Anatolia and Azerbaijan by Turkic tribes, North Africa by Arabs, Far East by Russia and the colonisation of America by the Europeans. And there have been many attempted colonisations though unsuccessful. Israel is not the best example for a colonisation gone awry but it definitely has not been a success story.
And there are many reasons for this. But the most important reason why Jews have never been very successful keeping some piece of land for themselves, either in the so-called promised land or in their adopted homes in Europe or in America, is their distinct tradition of Jewishness. Other colonising peoples have always been reasonable and keen for killing, and also assimilating at least some of the locals. Colonisers often went around killing and ransacking most of the new lands they conquered but they usually adopted and assimilated some of the locals they encountered, depending on their tastes who to assimilate and who to kill.
Jews have been extremely inept in doing these, killing and assimilating others. This characteristic has been both their undoing and also their savior as probably the oldest people who have been able to preserve their traditions and values for thousands of years. Other peoples have gone through many changes in their language, traditions, religion and so on, and most peoples have actually vanished forever, being the colonised, exterminated or assimilated ones. Jews have neither accepted colonisation nor been good colonisers.
Many now can object by saying that Israel has been keen to murder, though not to assimilate. Casualties of war can never be compared to murder. To exterminate hundreds of thousands or even millions of people requires more than one or two shootings per day. That way the coloniser could hardly have a dent on the population growth, which in the case of the Jews is far smaller in relation to the Arabs in Palestine and inside Israel. Actually most of the growth in the population of Israel comes from Arab citizens of Israel rather than Jewish ones.
It seems that history repeats itself and this colonisation will not be a success story. It simply lacks the basic ingredients. Just imagine if the United States a couple of hundreds of years ago would go around trying to keep some sort of a relatively pure Anglican white English-speaking, avoiding murder, and at the same time colonise a huge chunk of land, like the one called the United State of America now! Would it be possible? It would have been impossible.
And just imagine if there was no America to support Israel! That would have made this attempted colonisation even a much more miserable affair.
Maybe this is why so many are not so fond of the Israelis. They are lousy colonisers. And the situation will probably stay unstable and ugly for a long time to come. I did not intend to recommend the 'right' way for a successful colonisation. It's regrettable that there are lives lost and homes shattered in the Arab side because one nation never found itself a homeland simply because it is a nation of some interesting, probably unique, principles or traditions. But maybe that's how things are meant to be. After-all Jews are pretty well off even without a homeland.
An attempted and partially done colonisation, as is the case for Israel, is now a source for instability and may stay that way for a very long time. Who is guilty? If America has not been guilty of annihilating the Indian-Americans population, then we cannot be hypocritical and blame Israel for the same thing. We should look at the situation as it stands now. And the best solution for the situations as it stands now is to get over old grudges and stop the fighting. No-one is winning.