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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/30/21

Zionism & U.S. patriotism both rationalize murderous land theft

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It sounds rather abstract to say I grew up on someone else's land. It is more to the point to say that I grew up on a block of flats in a suburb built on once beautiful olive and orange groves. I have no idea what happened to the owners of those groves. But if they are alive, they certainly live either in exile or in terrible conditions in a refugee camp.

-Ronen Berelovich, The Zionist Story

Israel holds up a mirror to the rest of the Western world. It shows us the kinds of evils that have needed to happen in order for "The West" to exist as we understand it; the only reason why the U.S. and Canada are considered "Western" countries, and why the U.S. and Canada exist at all, is because the colonists on this continent have perpetrated a larger version of the atrocities which went behind the formation of Israel.

Like the original Zionists began by violently expelling the Arabs, the European settlers during the first decades after 1492 regularly deported, killed, and enslaved the Natives who they defeated-including the non-combatants and those who surrendered. Like the Zionists have carried out the destruction of Palestinian homes and crops to make way for settlements, the American colonists carried out search and destroy raids on indigenous communities where they burned down villages and corn crops. Like the Zionists have massacred Palestinian civilians during their wars to illegally annex Arab land, the Americans carried out mass killings of such a large scale that fewer than 238,000 Natives remained in North America by the end of the 19th century, down from the at least 5 million who had lived on the continent at the beginning of colonization. (It's likely that the number of dead is closer to 15 million, making for a widely accepted indigenous numbers cutdown of 9 in 10.)

While today's American settlers will deny that this depopulation was deliberate, as the Zionists deny that the mass killings of defenseless Palestinians have happened, the blood can be found on the U.S. government's hands if one looks just below the thin layer of plausible deniability. During U.S. colonialism's continent-wide expansionist era alone, the U.S. government authorized over 1,500 wars, raids, and attacks against Natives, more than any other country has authorized against its indigenous populations. More recent U.S. attacks against indigenous peoples include the use of mercenaries and extreme police brutality to counter the Native water protectors at Standing Rock, and this year's violent police responses to the latest indigenous anti-pipeline demonstrations in Minnesota.

In addition to the numerous recorded incidents of massacres of defenseless individuals among the targeted communities, and attempts to starve these communities that mirror Washington's modern global sanctions, there's ample evidence that the biggest factor in the die-off-the Native plague-was deliberately exacerbated by the settlers. As JSTOR Daily has assessed:

The Fort Pitt case is infamous. In June 1763, the fort was besieged during Pontiac's Rebellion. Soldiers and civilians in the fort had smallpox-as did some of the Native Americans outside. Two Delaware dignitaries, in the fort for a parlay, were given "two Blankets and a Handkerchief out of the Small Pox Hospital" when they left, wrote the trader and land speculator William Trent in his diary. He concluded: "I hope it will have the desired effect."...within weeks, Amherst was on record approving of weaponizing smallpox as one of the methods "that can serve to Extirpate this Execreble Race."...The best evidence for intentional spread after Fort Pitt comes from the last campaign of the Revolutionary War. British General Alexander Leslie wrote his commander in July 1781, "About 700 Negroes are come down the River in the Small Pox. I shall distribute them about the Rebell Plantations." The fact that these people, attempting to escape slavery, could spread the disease "could not have been lost on British commanders."

This biological facet of colonial warfare was central to the genocide, and to the formation of the settler state; without the damage that European diseases did to the Natives, the colonizers wouldn't have been able to militarily defeat the First Nations. Depopulation has been at the heart of the colonial war on this continent, making biological warfare the logical and primary tool for the colonizers to use. They couldn't have fully taken the continent without deliberately exacerbating the Native population's contact with foreign viruses.

This wanton mass murder of civilians isn't the only thing that proves the U.S. has no more of a right to exist than Israel does. The slain Native combatants were also killed completely without justification, just like the Palestinian combatants Israel has slain have merely been defending their homeland from territorial theft. The only reason the U.S. has any land is due to violent expulsion projects, and every single one of the 500 or so treaties the U.S. has entered into with the tribes has been violated by the settler state. Behind every facet of the society that this country has built is a story of violence and displacement which directly parallels the story behind Berelovich's childhood home. A story where people were forced into exile and made to live in conditions of impoverishment and violence, so that settlements could be built in the name of "progress," "democracy," and "civilization."

As much as the narrative behind American patriotism tries to portray this country as a cohesive unit, as something with the credibility to be called a "nation," the environment that's been built for the settlers here exists on the exact same types of illegitimate foundations that the Israeli settlements are built on. And they have the same type of relationship to the colonized populations that the Israeli settlements do to Palestinian communities: segregation, partition, and discrimination.

Residential segregation persists in the U.S., as does the disproportionate poverty that African, Native, and brown communities have historically faced. With neoliberalism has come greater poverty for these communities than was the case even during the Jim Crow era; for one example, the amount of concentrated-poverty neighborhoods in Minneapolis has doubled since 1980, with these neighborhoods being disproportionately made up of black people.

While these colonized peoples aren't walled off from the settlers literally, like the Palestinians are, they're kept separate by insidious forms of partition like militarized policing and real-estate redlining. In the case of the indigenous reservations, the segregation and its consequential racial inequalities have been engineered with special deliberation. As Professor Gary D. Sandefur has written, reservations can be called "the first underclass areas":

The most important lesson to be learned from the reservations may be that it is economic, social, and physical isolation from the majority society that produces what we have come to call underclass behavior. This isolation has produced extreme poverty, high unemployment, unstable families, low rates of high school graduation, and high rates of alcoholism and/or drug abuse and crime on reservations and in central cities. These effects occur even, as is the situation on the reserva- tions, where other aspects of social organization, such as kinship and community systems, seem strong. So the key to improving life for members of the underclass may lie in reducing their physical, social, and economic isolation.

The only way to do this is through the abolition of the United States, Canada, and all other states that operate according to colonial borders. Then the First Nations can regain jurisdiction over all of the stolen land. This will open the potential for these nations to negotiate with the African nation in establishing an African autonomous oblast-parallel to how the Soviets established Russia's Jewish autonomous oblast following the breakup of the Russian empire. When this continent has an equivalent revolution to the Bolshevik revolution, there will be no room for states that act as colonial occupiers. Like in Palestine after it's abolished Israel, the settler state apparatus here will have to be dismantled. To see why this is necessary, one can look at all the evidence that the "United States" and "Canada" are merely larger versions of the Zionist state.

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Rainer Shea is writing articles that counter the propaganda of the capitalist/imperialist power establishment, and that help move us towards a socialist revolution. Donate to me on Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=11988744

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