Thursday, January 28, 2010

Howard Zinn on Palestine: "[T]he advance of "civilization" involved what we would today call "ethnic cleansing."

Howard Zinn, historian, activist, author of A People's History of the United States, and advisory board member of US Campaign member group Jewish Voice for Peace, has died at the age of 87. His death is a great loss for all those involved in the struggle against U.S. militarism and violations of human rights. Here is Zinn, writing in Tikkun Magazine about his developing understanding of Palestine and Israel (Tikkun is a member group of the US Campaign):
"It did not occur to me--so little did I know about the Middle East--that the establishment of a Jewish state meant the dispossession of the Arab majority that lived on that land. I was as ignorant of that as, when in school, I was shown a classroom map of American "Western Expansion" and assumed the white settlers were moving into empty territory. In neither case did I grasp that the advance of "civilization" involved what we would today call "ethnic cleansing."....It was only after the "Six-Day War" of 1967 and Israel's occupation of territories seized in that war (the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, the Sinai peninsula) that I began to see Israel not simply as a beleaguered little nation surrounded by hostile Arab states, but as an expansionist power....I had long since understood that the phrases "national security" and "national defense" were used by the United States government to justify aggressive violence against other countries. Indeed, there was a clear bond between Israel and the United States in their respective foreign polices, illustrated by the military and economic support the United States was giving to Israel..."
Check out today's Democracy Now! special on Howard Zinn, and click here to find out how you can work against modern day ethnic cleansing made possible by the military and economic support the United States continues to give to Israel.