Why Aren't We Angry?
Statement by the New England Committee to Defend Palestine on the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration:
November, 2, 2005
On Oct. 26th, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for "a world without the United States and Zionism," leading to a predictable flurry of angry denunciation from the US State Department, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Ariel Sharon.
While the "war on terror" waged by the US and UK against Iraq and Afghanistan rages on in the name of "civilization", "democracy", "freedom", and "justice," those prosecuting the murderous war continue to steal the land and resources of Iraq and Afghanistan following a centuries-long tradition of Western theft and colonization of the non-European world.
For Palestinians, the state of Israel is the embodiment of colonial land theft coupled with a genocidal settler project. The Zionist project itself has its origins deep in the heart of European colonialism and has been maintained and expanded through American imperialism.
88 years ago today, on November 2, 1917 British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour wrote to Lord Rothschild, head of the British Zionist Federation, declaring sympathy for Zionist aspirations, stating that the British government viewedW "with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people." This declaration was a promise made by a European power to establish a national home for Jewish people in a non-European country with an indigenous Arab population, the overwhelming majority of whom were non-Jewish. The "promise" created the basis for the forced transfer of over 82% of the indigenous Palestinian population in 1948 through the establishment of the so-called "only democracy in the Middle East" – "Israel."
The Balfour Declaration led to the dispossession of land and displacement of the Palestinian people. The colonization of Palestinian can be seen as the most recent overt manifestation of colonial history lasting for centuries in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. The same European powers that sought to divide up the non-European world in 1917 occupied Turtle Island (the North American continent) in 1492. As Europeans ethnically cleansed the Americas of their indigenous populations, they claimed that they were bringing "civilization." These same powers forced millions of Africans onto boats and brought them here against their will as slaves in the name of American "freedom." And it is these same racist powers today who continue to force their way of life onto the rest of the world, finding ever-new justifications for doing so, in complete contempt of decency, humanity, and world opinion. The rhetoric of "manifest destiny" has been replaced by the "war on terror" but the methods and goals are equally racist and genocidal.
On November 2nd, Palestinians all over the world remember that the Nakba ("catastrophe") of 1948 was the direct result of the European colonial project articulated by Balfour in 1917.
The US has presented itself as an unbiased broker for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but it has been centrally involved in the creation, maintenance, and expansion of the racist state of "Israel" and is its primary financial supporter. "Israel's" presence serves American geopolitical interests in the entire region, and if history has taught us anything, it has taught us that what is good for America trumps any notions that the rest of the world has about "freedom" and "justice."
If we really believe in true freedom and justice, then we should certainly be outraged, but not by a public statement calling for a world without the US and Zionism. Rather we should be outraged that after centuries of struggle, the US and UK are still carving up the world and murdering those who resist them. Bringing an end to the racist state of "Israel" and ending the American and British invasion and occupation of Iraq are the only solutions that will bring justice to this region.