Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dances with Wolves and Palestine

What does the 1990 movie "Dances With Wolves" have to do with Gaza and Israel?

The movie recalls the Old West frontier in the 1860's. A white man, John Dunbar, becomes involved with, then integrated into, a tribe of Sioux Indians. Both Dunbar and the tribe are apprehensive about the coming of more white men. Dunbar talks with the chief of the tribe, Ten Bears, about it. Ten Bears pulls out an old Spanish conquistador helmet passed down the generations and speaks of the Spanish, of Mexicans, of Texans each in their turn. "They are all the same, they take without asking", he says.

So it is with the Crusaders and with Zionism, people from outside of Palestine who arrived to take without asking. Most Americans know absolutely nothing about the history of Palestine. The Jews of 2000 years ago were not expelled, though Rome did expel them from the city of Jerusalem, Jews were free to remain in Judea and did so. Though Islam swept through the area in the 7th and 8th centuries, displacing one religion with another, Arab Palestinians are as likely to be related genetically to the ancient residents, if not more so than anyone from outside the area. They are true natives of the land whose religion could well have changed voluntarily. The conquests of Islam were not accompanied by a demand on the indigenous people to become Muslim, though willing converts were many, unsurprising given the obvious success of the followers of Mohammed.

So in precisely the same way Anglo-Americans arrived to take the Old West without asking, so did European Jews arrive to take Palestine without asking. In precisely the same way American Indians resisted the taking, so also does HAMAS resist the taking. HAMAS is no more a terrorist group than were the tribesmen under Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse or Red Cloud. They stand defiantly with primitive technology, their wits and will to oppose injustice. They no more want to see the deaths of their people than did the Indians want to see the deaths of their families, but in both cases there is no choice but to expose those families to danger.

All of the current reports from Palestine/Israel, and all U.S. news reporting from the area that I have seen over my lifetime of 6 decades, fail to make any reference to the root of the conflict - the arrival of Europeans intent on taking Palestinian land for their own. This failure to place the situation in context is deliberate because it allows turning morality upside-down in favor of the aggressor. It assumes without question that Israel is righteous and an outpost of civilization, the virtuous holding the fort against chaos, a view that would have been familiar to any Anglo-American in 1860 looking west.

In fact, the moral situation is the reverse. A people wronged in Europe arrived to claim a land from the natives who had nothing to do with the wrong suffered by the immigrants. The Jewish Holocaust had nothing to do with Palestine and in no way justifies the taking of Palestine exclusively for Jews. The Palestinians are innocent people in exactly the same moral position as the Native-Americans during the entire period of the Anglo conquest of what is now the United States. The Palestinians have exactly the same moral right to defend themselves against aggression as the Native-Americans. HAMAS rockets are as legitimate as was the bow and arrow as a means of resistance in 1860.

Zionists took without asking and continue at this very moment doing so by way of the settlements. In war or in "peace", Israel is the aggressor and the Jewish State stands on a foundation of the ruins of well over 400 Palestinian villages and towns in exactly the same way that the United States sits on the long disappeared ruins of Native-American dwellings.

The United States in supporting Israel is being faithful not to the principles upon which it bases its laws, nor to morality, but to the practice of might makes right that it exhibited for the centuries in which it relentlessly destroyed a civilization in North America.

Any American claiming remorse at the treatment given the American Indian, shows a blindness and hypocrisy beyond measure when showing support for Israel. The tongue of any American who says Israel, a country whose land is stolen in its entirety (and one that has yet to define its borders) has exclusive right to the land, should sting with the statement. There is only one solution to the problem - a state that respects both Jews and non-Jews equally.

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