Israel’s “Colonial Project”

Demonizing Israel—“A Leftist Project”?

school projectWhen Israel emerged victorious from the Six-Day War in June 1967, the anti-Israel left in America, Britain and other western countries immediately pronounced judgement: the Jewish state was guilty of, among other things, “colonialism.” The main “other things” were “fascism” and “militarism.”

Israel did not plead guilty to these charges.

Nor did these accusations lead to the collapse of Israel and its replacement by a Palestinian state.

The allegations did not stick. If anything, it was Egypt and Jordan that were colonialistic and militaristic.

This initial failure did not deter anti-Israel radicals, who concocted new damning buzz words, phrases and concepts. Israel, they now proclaimed, was an “apartheid” state. It practised “genocide.” The open acceptance of gays was a public relations gimmick: “gaywashing.”

Israel’s critics also modified one of the original 1967 terms: “colonialism” became “colonial project.”

“Project” adds considerable oomph. It suggests that Israel’s supposed colonialism was not haphazard but was planned, plotted, organized toward a specific goal.

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According to this view, Israel controlled additional territory after the Six-Day War not as a byproduct of the war—a war started by others—but as a deliberate goal. 

Linguistically, however, this new term is in “pinkwashing” territory, using emotive terms to describe reality not as it is or really might be but as you want it to be.

Sticks and Stones

Israel was not the aggressor in the Six-Day War, which was provoked by Egypt’s President Nasser, aided by false rumors devised and spread by the Soviet Union, and abetted by a supine United Nations.

If Israel had been defeated in June 1967, would a new Arab state, whether Palestinian or otherwise, have emerged?

Probably not. It is unlikely that Egypt, Jordan, or Syria  would have turned over any or all of mandatory Palestine to the Palestinians. These countries would have gobbled up the conquered territory for themselves. 

When the fighting in 1948 ended, Egypt controlled the Gaza Strip, and Jordan retained the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. In 1950, Jordan annexed the entire West Bank, including the Old City.  

The armistice agreement specified that Israelis would be allowed to visit the holy places in the Old City.

Jordan had other ideas. It expelled the Jewish residents from the eastern section of Jerusalem and, ignoring the agreement, prevented Israelis from visiting the holy places, including the cemetery on the Mount of Olives.

King Abdullah’s troops burned numerous synagogues and destroyed others—dozens in all. The Jordanian army used tombstones to pave roads and build military latrines.

I detect colonialism, and worse, not on the part of Israel but rather in Arab attitudes and behavior. I detect, too, in the Palestinian insistence on being perpetual refugees, something resembling a long-term project. The radical left, seeing no evil, says nothing.###

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