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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 3/31/15

Bibi's Israel Remains "Settler Colonialist" State

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Jewish author Ilan Pappe points to three significant outcomes emerging from Bibi Netanyahu's victory in Israel's 2015 Knesset elections: An invigorated Likud, a defeated Labor Party, and a united Palestinian representation.

Score two for the settler colonialist state, Israel, and one for the Palestinians living in Israel, whose politicians finally got smart and ran a unified slate.

Pappe is the Israeli Jewish scholar whose seminal book on the Nakba, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, exposed Israel's settler colonialist goals. Israel's hasbara (propaganda) messengers have long pushed Israel as the "only democracy in the region." American politicians constantly repeat the hasbara line by insisting Israel and the U.S. have "shared values."

"Shared values" in religions, to be sure, Jewish, Christian and Muslim, when they are practiced religiously. More importantly, however, Israel and the U.S. share a common founding narrative. Each began as a "settler colonialist" state, a term rarely affixed today to either state, but decide for yourself after reading Wikipedia's definition:

"Colonialism is the establishment, exploitation, maintenance, acquisition, and expansion of colony in one territory by a political power from another territory. It is a set of unequal relationships between the colonial power and the colony and often between the colonists and theindigenous population."

For further evidence of U.S. settler colonialism, check with your nearest American Indian reservation. And for musical confirmation, spend some quality time with Johnny Cash's 1964 album, Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian, which most U.S. radio outlets refused to play in 1964.

A tribute album released 50 years later, Look Again to the Wind: Johnny Cash's Bitter Tears Revisited, was named the "Most Valuable CD" in The Nation's Progressive Honor Roll for 2014. This tribute album was reviewed here by Rolling Stone.

Meanwhile, fast forward to the most recent settler colonialist nation, Israel, which has just re-elected Benjamin Netanyahu. (An IDF voter is shown above.)

Thanks to his extensive research into Israel's modern history, Pappe quickly became unwelcome in Israel's Zionism-protective academic circles. He soon moved to England where he is now professor of history and director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter.

Pappe's "three outcomes" -- an even stronger Likud, a Labor Party embodied in the Zionist Union as a partnership linking Labor with Tzipi Livni's "Initiative" list, and the united Palestinian Israelis -- can, he writes, "either be ignored by the international community or serve as a catalyst for new thinking on the evergreen question of Palestine."

President Barack Obama falls into the catalyst response camp. He was not buying Netanyahu's backward shuffle from his pre-election assertion that there would be no Palestinian state "on his watch" nor was he impressed by Bibi's faux apology for his racist campaign language and tactics.

Obama reacted in his Nieburian realism voice when he told a New York Times reporter:

"This can't be reduced to a matter of somehow... Let's all hold hands and sing Kumbaya. This is a matter of figuring out how do we get through a real, knotty policy difference that has great consequences for both countries and for the region."

In his Electronic Intifada analysis, Pappe recalls the history behind the election:

"Ever since Likud took power for the first time after its historic 1977 victory, Jewish voters have preferred the real thing, so to speak, steadily turning away from [Labor] the paler, liberal version of Zionism.

"Labor was in power long enough for us to know that it could not offer even the most moderate Palestinian leaders any deal that would have granted them genuine sovereignty -- not even in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which form only a fifth of historic Palestine.

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James Wall served as a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois, from 1999 through 2017. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced (more...)

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