August 28, 2009

Zionists:  Occupied territories = Manhattan

'Native American' protesters to US: Give us back Manhattan

Some 20 people protest in front of American Embassy against US pressure on Israel to freeze settlement building. Protesters dress up as Native Americans in effort to remind US that pioneers who settled their country did not quite ask where they could and could not build

Olga Gouresky
Some 20 people protested Wednesday outside the American Embassy in Tel Aviv against US pressure on Israel to freeze settlement building. Some of the protesters were dressed as Native Americans in a reminder to the US authorities that their country did not exactly ask the natives where they could live or build.

The protestors carried signs emblazoned with slogans like "Three countries for three races" and "America, we understand you--understand us, too" and "Freeze building west of the Atlantic Ocean. Red-skinned American within 1492 border."
And:"We wanted to show the Americans that they have their own problems," added another protester, writer Alexnder Kazarnovsky, a resident of Pardes Hanna. "They won't teach us and we won't allow foreigner to dictate (terms) to us. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and only Israel will decide where it is allowed to build."

"As an analogy, we showed here what would happen if we would dictate to them not to build in New York or in Washington. We wanted to say to them that just as they call upon us to give back certain territories in the State of Israel, we call upon them to give Manhattan back to the Indians--the third most important site to the Indians. To return to the borders of 1492," explained Kazarnovsky.

Comment:  Wow, what a spectacularly bad idea for a protest.

Let's note a few things:

  • These protesters imply that they're "Zionists" at one point. Either "Zionists" or "conservative Israelis" seems to describe them well. Clearly they don't represent all Israelis or all Jews.

  • Manhattan..."the third most important site to the Indians"? That's an unsubstantiated and unprovable claim. It's plainly ridiculous. (Third? Not second or fourth?) If there were some way to prove it, I doubt Manhattan would be in the top 20.

    Maybe the protester really meant what her misspelled sign said. Manhattan is the third-best Indian site for collecting holly. But I doubt it.

  • Many Indians still call for the return of their lands. Especially the lands guaranteed to them by signed treaties. To use this as a justification for not returning Israel's illegally occupied territory is a colossal fail.

  • The Zionists' message

    From a PR standpoint, it was smart to dress up as stereotypical Indians than stereotypical Dutch New Yorkers. It makes for a more colorful photo op. But from an intellectual standpoint, this protest is incredibly stupid. Zionists want to keep the land they they dress up as Indians to remind us of the land they stole.

    In Zionists = Puritans, Dan Lieberman argued that Israeli Zionists were more like the early Puritans than the later Americans who believed in Manifest Destiny. Now we see that they're some of both. (Puritans were practicing their own form of Manifest Destiny before the term existed, but that's a detail here.)

    Incredibly, here's the Zionists' core message: We're like the Euro-Americans who took Manhattan from the Indians. We take pride in our theft of native land; we'd do it again if we could. America's colonizers were among the first to instigate genocidal policies against the indigenous population. Since we've equated ourselves with them, draw your own conclusions about whether Zionism is (potentially) genocidal.

    Even Yeagley gets it, sort of

    Even David Yeagley, who is stupidly wrong about most things, pegged the stereotypical nature of this protest:

    “Fighting Sioux” in Tel Aviv!Whenever someone feels the United States government is out of line, who do they put on the front lines? Not the Black Watch of Scotland, but the good o’l American Indian warrior. Any time someone has something to say against America, they use the Indian. The American Indian is the quintessence of discontent with Washington.And:But the Indian remains malcontent, or so the image portrays us. The American Indian alone has not excelled in American society. He rather protests its foundation, and refuses to participate. Thus, the Indian has come to be associated with the rabble of the land, and the Indian is made into the mascot of all discontent, a toy of any and all protesters.Yes, Indians have long stood as symbols of protest against authority. As many people have observed and I reiterated in The Political Uses of Stereotyping.

    Everyone's an Indian

    Yeagley even noted how silly it is for Israelis to dress up as Indians when Palestinians did it two years ago:And to think, just two years ago, 2007, “Palestinians” dressed up as American Indians in Gaza to protest America’s support of Israel!

    Some 100 Palestinian residents, peace activists held a peaceful protest at Huwwara checkpoint near Nablus in the northern part of the West Bank, dressing like Native Americans to send a message to the visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

    This is my point. It doesn’t matter who the people are, what nation, what race, or what religion, when they have a beef with the United States, they dress up like Indians. This is the world image of the American Indian–protesting the American government. This is what we are in the eyes of the world: protesters.

    Too bad Yeagley didn't say more about the obvious contradiction here. Israelis and Palestinians can't both be "Indians" conceptually or thematically. Now these conservative Israelis have correctly identified themselves with the Euro-Americans who appropriated Native land and turned the inhabitants into refugees. Which means the Palestinians are the Indians in this scenario.

    Stereotypes and Yeagley wrong

    Unfortunately, Yeagley's prescription for this stereotyping is, well, stupidly wrong. As usual. He decries the use of Indians as "negative" he'd use them only as positive mascots. Dressing people as primitive savages with bows and arrows isn't a problem to him if they're "honoring" Indians. It's only a problem if they dare to criticize his beloved Great White Father in Washington DC.

    The actual solution is not to portray Indians stereotypically in any context. It's to portray them as they really are, free of myths and stereotypes. Too bad Yeagley, with his fetishism of savage Indians, doesn't understand this.

    Gotta say I love this posting. Finally some Zionists have demonstrated what many of us already knew. I wish I could give it the many headlines it deserves:

    Protesters Admit Occupied Territories Are Like Stolen Indian Land

    Message to Americans:  Help Us...We're Criminals Too!

    Let's Cheat the Indians and Palestinians Together

    Yes, It's True:  Zionism = Manifest Destiny

    For more on the subject, see American and Zionist Imperialism and Indian Country = Zion.

    P.S. No comments this time because I don't want fanatical reader Stephen posting a long diatribe "proving" that Israel's illegally occupied territories aren't illegally occupied. I already kicked his butt on that subject once and I don't want to do it again. E-mail me if you have any reactions to this item and I'll consider posting them.

    (Photo: Michael Borodkin