Saturday, February 22, 2014

Manifest Destiny and Zionism Compared

"Manifest Destiny” was clearly a racial doctrine of white supremacy that granted no native American or nonwhite claims to any permanent possession of the lands on the North American continent, and justified white American expropriation of Indian lands. “Manifest Destiny” was also a key slogan deployed in the United States’ imperial ventures in the 1890s and early years of the twentieth century that led to U.S. possession or control of [Alaska], Hawaii, Cuba, Guam, Samoa, the Virgin Islands and the Philippine Islands. - Donald M. Scott, Professor of History, Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

"Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination." "[I]nternational co-operation and peace require the achievement of national liberation and independence, the elimination of colonialism and neo-colonialism, foreign occupation, zionism, apartheid and racial discrimination in all its forms, as well as the recognition of the dignity of peoples and their right to self-determination." UN General Assembly Resolution 3379 (1975). Through pressure by the U.S. and Israel, this resolution was revoked by the General Assembly in 1991 -- though liberation movements, and most Arab countries, continue to subscribe to the perspectives in GAR 3379.

We must give the land back: America’s brutality toward Native Americans continues today

by Steven Salaita
I write often about liberating Palestine from Israeli occupation, a habit that evokes passionate response. I have yet to encounter a response that persuades me to abandon the commitment to Palestinian liberation.
I have, however, encountered responses that I consider worthy of close assessment, particularly those that transport questions of colonization to the North American continent. You see, there is a particular defense of Zionism that precedes the existence of Israel by hundreds of years.
Here is a rough sketch of that defense: Allowing a Palestinian right of return or redressing the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1947-49 is ludicrous. Look what happened to the Native Americans. Is the United States supposed to return the country to them?
Israeli historian Benny Morris puts it this way: “Even the great American democracy couldn’t come to be without the forced extinction of Native Americans. There are times the overall, final good justifies terrible, cruel deeds.”
This reasoning suggests a finality to the past, an affirmation of tragedy trapped in the immutability of linear time. Its logic is terribly cliché, a peculiar form of common sense always taken up, everywhere, by the beneficiaries of colonial power.
The problems with invoking Native American genocide to rationalize Palestinian dispossession are legion. The most noteworthy problem speaks to the unresolved detritus of American history: Natives aren’t objects of the past; they are living communities whose numbers are growing.
It’s rarely a good idea to ask rhetorical questions that have literal answers. Yes, the United States absolutely should return stolen land to the Indians. That’s precisely what its treaty obligations require it to do.
The United States is a settler state, but its history hasn’t been settled. Yet most people invoke Natives as if they lost a contest that entrapped them in the past — and this only if Natives are considered at all. As a result, most analyses of both domestic and foreign policies are inadequate, lacking a necessary context of continued colonization and resistance.
For Natives, political aspirations aren’t focused on accessing the mythologies of a multicultural America, but on the practices of sovereignty and self-determination, consecrated in treaty agreements (and, of course, in their actual histories). Treaties aren’t guidelines or suggestions; they are nation-to-nation agreements whose stipulations exist in perpetuity. That the federal government still ignores so many of those agreements indicates that colonization is not simply an American memory. To read complete column click on title, above. 


Post a Comment

<< Home