Sunday, May 20, 2012

Palestinians are not American Indians

Recently, in his blog Mondoweiss, Phil Weiss mused about the taunt often thrown about by supporters of Israel about how it was created. The fans of the Jewish (and democratic?) State think it is a priceless barb when someone says, or holds up a sign that says: "America was founded by clearing out the Indians, so you are no different than us."

Usually the reply to this is two wrongs don't make a right. Yes, the USA took the land from the Indians, but that didn't make it moral or the right thing to do and it doesn't justify what Israel did and still does.


There’s an important flaw in the ethnic cleansing comparison between what the European colonists of North America did in the 17th through the 19th centuries and what the Zionist colonizers have been doing since 1947 (or thereabouts, I’m not trying to nail down a fixed starting point).

It’s about the relationship of forces. The Native inhabitants of this continent never had a chance. Their small numbers were overwhelmed with an unstoppable tidal wave of millions of people coming in from Europe. There were a few stands made by the plains Indians that stunned the U.S. Army, but that was it. Even without the large technological advantage, the sheer powers of numbers sealed the fate of American Indians. The demographics were unbeatable.

The relationship of forces in Palestine was and is quite different. A well armed minority of Jews, with a lot of help from rich, technologically advanced Western nations was able to establish a state by force and expel most of the larger Palestinian population. But they didn’t expel them far enough or wipe them out. Within the area of “Greater Israel” under the control of the Israeli government and military (any difference there?) the populations are about even, with the Palestinians increasing at a higher rate than the Jews (I’m not saying “Israelis” to compare with “Palestinians” because its an empty, meaningless category. In the Jewish State only Jews have the rights that we in the USA would associate with citizenship.)

So when Zionists laugh and poke fun at people in the USA, saying “Hey! We only did what you guys did…ha ha.” They should stop and think about the real difference between the two experiences. Being a tiny minority, the American Indians were crushed as a people and have to this day never recovered. Not so with the Palestinians and their future won’t be like that which befell Native Americans.


  1. Interesting! I wonder what you think would have happened if the jews were not better organized and defended themselves from the Palestinian Arabs and the surrounding Arab armies? Would they be a tolerated minority in an arab Palestine?

    Now, let me try and understand the logic of your last sentence: what will happen in the future? Are you just suggesting that demographics will solve this conflict and create a just solution? Will their be peace between these peoples, or will there be more violence and will the Palestinians do what many americans did to Indians - wipe them out?
    Really, two wrongs or more don't make a right.

  2. It means that unlike the American Indians the Palestinians can't be broken as a people and then put on "reservations" or driven out of their land. The constant policy of every Israeli government is to push out, imprison, or kill the Palestinians. This won't work. Demographics are against those who want a Jewish only state with no rights for anyone not Jewish (this is government policy). That's all I'm saying. It's up to the Palestinians to decide if they want to just as morally rotten and oppressive as the Zionists currently are.