Resettlement, mass migration, and civilizational change are not historical outliers, but the historical norm. Lambasting them as evil is the peak of absurdity.
The term ‘settler colonialism’ has been widely bandied about in regards to Israel since the Hamas atrocities of October 7, mostly by leftists seeking to vilify the Jewish state and excuse or ‘contextualize’ the mass murder carried out by Palestinian terrorists. It has been echoed in protest movements, by online activists, and in serious news and opinion journalism. It has been applied not only to Israel as a nation, but to the United States and most of the West as well. The argument goes that any sort of resistance to such “settler colonialism” for the purpose of reclaiming “stolen land” is justified, if not necessary. The denizens of these purportedly-imperialist nations are therefore fair game for violent “resistance.” In the now-infamous words of a Yale professor (!): “Settlers are not civilians. This is not hard.” Those who use this terminology to make their preferred political points may sound intelligent to the layman, as they are using academic jargon in such a confident manner. But what does this term actually mean? And does it apply to Western history or the Israeli-Hamas conflict?
Israel is celebrating 75 years of existence this week. Here’s a smattering of thoughts on this miracle nation’s fascinating history and culture.
The Jewish State turns 75 this week, and Israelis are celebrating their Independence Day, known in Israel as Yom Ha’atzma’ut. The date changes each year, as it is referenced by the Jewish calendar, but it falls from April 25 to 26 in 2023.
Israeli independence is dated from the declaration of the State by the nation’s first Prime Minister and the dominant figure in Israel’s early politics, David Ben-Gurion, only a few hours before the official end of British Mandate Palestine. The state was declared despite the desires of the British (one of the few times you’ll see me fault the British Empire is in its treatment of Israel). It was declared knowing it would trigger a massive, all-out, genocidal invasion of the country by its far larger and better-equipped Arab neighbors. It faced down that war of extermination, along with several others, coming out victorious each time. It has dealt with constant terrorism for nearly its entire history, often funded or promoted by various nations and international institutions – including the United States. And still it is here, thriving, in spite of the gale-force headwinds. The existence of such a state is a prophecy fulfilled – whether from the Bible or from Theodor Herzl. (My money is on the latter.)
Somehow Israel seems both older and younger than its seven and a half decades of national life; this is just one of the many paradoxes that makes Israel one of the most interesting countries on Earth.
Lying with statistics is a common practice; when it comes to Israel, lying with maps is just as common.
The map presented above was published by Al Jazeera this week and purports to show that “From 1947 to 1950, during the Nakba or ‘catastrophe’, Zionist military forces expelled at least 750,000 Palestinians and captured 78% of historic Palestine.” The map is not new, and is consistently used by anti-Israel publications, media outlets, and pundits to “explain” how the Palestinians have been historically oppressed by the foundation and continued existence of the state of Israel. The big problem? Almost none of what the graphic depicts is true, a good deal of it is deliberately misleading, and it leaves out crucial context that undermines the point it is trying to make. Here’s an object lesson in not taking everything you see online at face value.