Likudist Israel Damned For Pursuing Its Version Of Manifest Destiny
This Jewish fellow went on and on how great the moment was. I recall wondering what it meant for the future. I thought aloud: Wouldn’t holding that land lead to more violence and war in the future? Might it be better to sort it out and make peace? I see this as a seed-moment for the later growth of my instincts toward the peace movement. But my fellow soldier was incredibly confident; I was not a Jew and, therefore, couldn’t understand.
There’s no question that Israel is a fact of life. National sovereignty is a matter of might-makes-right and the recognition of other nations in the world that you’re qualified to be accepted into the club of nations. The United States became a fact of life in the same way -- after slaughtering Native Americans and corralling the survivors shamelessly into reservations. My ancestor was part of one of the original massacres, the attack on the Pequots in Connecticut. British settlers were very fearful of the powerful Pequots, so one morning at dawn my people attacked and slaughtered the 700 souls in the Pequot village; then they burned the village to the ground. The male braves were off on hunting expeditions, so those killed were mostly women, children and old men. With the help of pacified tribes, my people then hunted down the males and the Pequots weren't heard of again until they built a huge casino called Foxwood in the middle of Connecticut.
As Manifest Destiny moved west, we broke virtually every treaty we made with the Indians we had not killed. How did “Americans” get away with doing this? There was, of course, no United Nations then. It was the wild west, a lawless time and place. Protecting domestic settlements and the expanding railroad were the top priorities as the nation moved inexorably toward the Pacific Ocean. Domination was our destiny. The only way to peace for Native Americans was to accept they were losers and accept the terms of the winners -- accept being emasculated and herded into reservations or be hunted down and killed.
Obviously, in the mid-1940s following a great world conflagration, the conditions for the founding of Israel were different. The United Nations had just been formed to basically put the world in order following that destructive conflagration that included the genocide of millions of Jews by fellow Europeans. As we know, the devil is in the details. In what seems now a root problem, the US and European-dominated UN that followed on the ill-fated League Of Nations magnanimously handed over the League’s Palestine Mandate to Zionist Jews fleeing Europe. Truman was the man in the White House where the buck stopped. In retrospect, the compassionate establishment of an ideally ecumenical Israel shifted over time into a wholly Jewish state with Palestinians seen as interlopers in their own land. Resentment and violence naturally became part of the equation. Live and let live was not a founding mantra. Emotions were raised, hatred and demonization prevailed, wagons were circled and before you know it you had an expansionist ideology like that of the Likudists.
All because of a thoroughly inadequate decision over the fate of two peoples who claimed the same land. Much of it because of the guy with the sign on his desk: The Buck Stops Here. Which raises the unholy idea that maybe Harry Truman wasn't such a great president. And maybe some of his decisions should be re-considered in today's world. At least that's how a good radical would see it: Locate the roots of it all.