Israel is not a ‘settler colonial state’

Published: 5/30/2021 3:00:15 PM In her recent letter to the editor, Maddie Raymond calls on her fellow Jews to “stand in solidarity...

Published: 5/30/2021 3:00:15 PM

In her recent letter to the editor, Maddie Raymond calls on her fellow Jews to “stand in solidarity with the Palestinians in their struggle.”

I agree with her that Palestinians, like all people, deserve the right to self-determination. Military occupation is neither acceptable nor tolerable. I have passed through Israeli checkpoints on the West Bank in the company of my Israeli cousin and in the company of a Palestinian-American friend; the two experiences were impressively distinct.

The late Arthur Hertzberg, a prominent scholar of the history of Zionism, called for the establishment of a Palestinian state, because Palestinians deserve a state for all the same reasons that Israelis do.

Raymond is in error, however, when she calls Israel “a settler colonial state built on the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian population . . . .” There has been a continuous Jewish presence in what is now the state of Israel for over 2,000 years. In the 19th century, a plurality of the inhabitants of Jerusalem were Jews. More than half of today’s Israeli Jews are immigrants from other countries in the Middle East or their descendants. These families were forced to leave North Africa, Yemen, Syria, and Iran in the 1950s and had nowhere else to go.

Raymond might agree that Israel is thus different from other colonies like 17th century Massachusetts where land was stolen from the Nonotuck and other indigenous nations. Raymond and I might agree about Israeli settlements developed on land formerly under Jordanian control and moved to Israeli control during the 1967 war.

Depriving people of water for drinking and irrigation is not OK. Uprooting people’s olive groves is not OK. Forcing people out of homes where they have lived for generations is not OK. We can stand together in opposition to oppression without calling Israel a settler colonial state.

Is Raymond suggesting that Israeli families should hasten to return to Syria and Poland?

Henry W. Rosenberg


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Newsrust - US Top News: Israel is not a ‘settler colonial state’
Israel is not a ‘settler colonial state’
Newsrust - US Top News
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