History Repeats Itself

As I have been stewing over the details of One Palestine Complete, I have really been struck at the connection between the history of Israel and that of the US. The one big difference is the UN.

As Europeans came to America they generally sneered at the “horrible savages” who roamed the land. Without proper clothing, “civilization”, or “culture”, the natives were seen as a part of the land that had to be removed. The Indians were dispossessed of their land, every treaty was broken, and they were removed for the sake of progress and the manifest destiny of America. Besides, the Indians never would have developed the land or done anything even close to what the Europeans could do with it.

America’s extermination, genocide, murder, etc. of the Indians went unchecked. No one stepped in to stop this isolated collection of states from its gruesome work. In fact, America’s struggle to kick out it’s primitive natives was similar to the program of other European colonial efforts.

But when we jump ahead 100 years to the post WWI and post WWII eras, we see something similar, but more regulated. The Arabs living in Palestine had a simple way of life. Their settlements were comfortable, but nothing flashy. Their standards were certainly quite different from those of Europeans.

Enter the Zionists into the land of Israel. From their European perspective the Zionists enact a program to bring a Jewish majority into the land and to pull it out from under the noses of the Arabs. Besides, the Arabs sure weren’t developing the land. Leave it up to the Europeans to make the desert bloom and to raise metropolis after metropolis, introduce sanitation, etc. In the process of bringing a European system to Israel, it seems that the Arabs were left in the dust as well, with no hope of playing the new game brought to the land.

As the Jews and Arabs wrestled for control of the land, the League of Nations and later the UN interposed. Surely many of the powerful European countries wanted to see a European influence take hold in the land and produce some form of commerce and trade, and a lot of development. But still the wholesale removal of the Arabs from the land that could have taken place was stopped by the UN ultimately, even if they eventually created the Jewish state.

History indeed seems to have almost repeated itself. Europeans come, take over, develop the place, and kick out the natives. Even the manner in which the Zionists referred to the Arabs is similar to the racist remarks of Americans regarding the Indians. Lest we think that we are beyond colonialism and racial repression, we should look at our history and then take a harder look at what we’re up to today. Is history going to repeat itself again? Will we ever figure it out?