Friday, September 21, 2007
A History of Violence
By M. SHAHID ALAM
(professor of economics at Northeastern University, and author of Challenging the New Orientalism: Dissenting Essays on America's 'War Against Islam')
"......Yet few Zionists would deny one central fact of their history: and that is the history of violence that has attended the insertion of Jewish colons into the Middle East. The history of the Zionist movement in Palestine--it can scarcely be disputed--has been attended by violence between the Jewish settlers and the Palestinians; it has led to unending conflicts between Arab societies and Israel; and these conflicts continue to draw Western powers, especially the United States since 1945, into ever widening clashes with the Islamic world.
The history of this violence was contained in the Zionist idea itself. Violence is integral to Zionism: not incidental to it.
This violent history of Zionism had been foreseen by the early Zionists in their private musings; and certainly, the risks inherent in Zionism could scarcely remain hidden once its victims began to resist the colonization of their lands. However, the Zionists chose to shelve these concerns, convinced that the 'natives' lacked the will, organization and resources to derail their plans.
Thus it is that the Zionists, who engaged in voluminous and intense discussions about the nature of their movement, never developed a coherent "Arab doctrine" that would examine and appraise the unfolding Arab response to Zionism.
In part, they may have felt that this was unnecessary. After all, many of the early Zionists--according to Ahad Ha'am writing in 1891--believed that "the Arabs are all savages who live like animals and do not understand what is happening around them." Why worry about these "savages," when they were sure to be swept away by the inexorable advance of civilization the Jewish settlers were introducing into the region?.....
Yet, there is little reason for optimism. Israel cannot render justice to the Palestinians without abolishing its exclusively Jewish character, without dismantling the apartheid that grinds the Palestinians.
No colonialism yet has restrained itself because the colonial masters had acquired a conscience. It was force that stopped them: countervailing force, with or without violence......."