Israeli Attitude Towards Gaza = French Attitude Towards Algerians, and American American Attitude Towards Vietnamese
Remi Brulin — Research fellow at NYU and Shapiro fellow at George Washington University — tweets:
Most of what Israel says re: Gaza, France said in Algeria in 50s. The discourse is, at its roots, colonialpic.twitter.com/XMeIMFtBWA
If you missed the translation, it says:
You have welcomed the rebels.
You have given them money and food.
You have helped them with your silence.
You have become their accomplices in crime and have been punished accordingly.
You must choose:
Either peace and the protection of FRANCE OR crime and PUNISHMENT.
Brulin also quotes Lyndon Johnson’s statement towards the Vietcong:
Lyndon B. Johnson, Address on U.S. Policy in Vietnam Delivered Before a Joint Session of the Tennessee State Legislature. March 15, 1967
Now as to bombing civilians, I would simply say that we are making an effort that is unprecedented in the history of warfare to be sure that we do not. It is our policy to bomb military targets only.
We have never deliberately bombed cities, nor attacked any target with the purpose of inflicting civilian casualties.
We hasten to add, however, that we recognize, and we regret, that some people, even after warning, are living and working in the vicinity of military targets and they have suffered.
We are also too aware that men and machines are not infallible and that some mistakes do occur. But our record on this account is, in my opinion, highly defensible.
Look for a moment at the record of the other side.
Any civilian casualties that result from our operations are inadvertent, in stark contrast to the calculated Vietcong policy of systematic terror.
Yet, the deeds of the Vietcong go largely unnoted in the public debate. It is this moral double bookkeeping which makes us get sometimes very weary of our critics.
The New Republic notes:
Israel is one of the world’s last colonial powers, and the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are its unruly subjects. Like many past anti-colonial movements, Hamas and Fatah are deeply flawed and have sometimes poorly represented their peoples, and sometimes unnecessarily provoked the Israelis and used tactics that violate the rules of war. But the Israeli government has continued to expand settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and to rule harshly over its subjects, while maintaining a ruinous blockade on Gaza. That’s the historical backdrop to the events now taking place.
And British/Israeli historian Avi Shlaim — emeritus professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford and a fellow of the British Academy — writes:
Israel claims that its assault is an act of self-defence to put an end to the Hamas rocket attacks against its civilians. Hamas claims it is engaged in legitimate resistance to Israel’s military occupation. The chain of action and reaction is endless. But the underlying cause of the violence is Israeli colonialism.
The occupation turned Israel into a colonial power and colonialism has the habit of brutalising not only the occupied but the occupier as well. Some colonial powers, such as the British in India and the French in the Levant, learned the value of building schools and providing other amenities for the colonised. Israel, by contrast, never really thought it had any duty to protect the people under its rule or to improve the quality of their lives.