The Decolonization Narrative Is Dangerous and False

(Atlantic) Simon Sebag Montefiore - The Hamas attack resembled a medieval Mongol raid for slaughter and human trophies. Yet since Oct. 7, Western academics, students, artists, and activists have denied, excused, or even celebrated the murders by a terrorist sect that proclaims an anti-Jewish genocidal program. It seems odd that one has to say: Killing civilians, old people, even babies, is always wrong. Much of the justification for killing civilians is based on a fashionable ideology, "decolonization." I always wondered about the intellectuals who supported Stalin, and those aristocratic sympathizers and peace activists who excused Hitler. Today's Hamas apologists and atrocity-deniers, with their robotic denunciations of "settler-colonialism," belong to the same tradition but worse: They have abundant evidence of the slaughter of old people, teenagers, and children, but have not changed their views an iota. The lack of decency and respect for human life is astonishing. The decolonization narrative has dehumanized Israelis to the extent that otherwise rational people excuse, deny, or support barbarity. It holds that Israelis are "settler-colonialists," and that Palestinians have a right to eliminate their oppressors. This ideology is a toxic, historically nonsensical mix of Marxist theory, Soviet propaganda, and traditional anti-Semitism from the Middle Ages and the 19th century. At the heart of decolonization ideology is the categorization of all Israelis as "colonists." This is simply wrong. Jews are indigenous in the Holy Land, and if one believes in the return of exiled people to their homeland, then the return of the Jews is exactly that. Even those who deny this history or regard it as irrelevant must acknowledge that Israel is now the only home of 9 million Israelis who have lived there for four, five, six generations. Most migrants to the UK or the U.S. are regarded as British or American within a lifetime. Politics in both countries is filled with prominent leaders whose parents or grandparents migrated from India, West Africa, or South America. No one would describe them as "settlers." Yet Israeli families resident in Israel for a century are designated as "settler-colonists" ripe for murder and mutilation. It is dismaying that it is often self-declared "anti-racists" who are now advocating murder by ethnicity. The writer is a British historian, television presenter and author of popular history books.

2023-10-30 00:00:00

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