“Remember, these people are occupied and it’s their land …”. By Kim Petersen

Via: Dissidet Voice.

A video captured 89-year-old journalist Helen Thomas making some ineloquent comments. At one point she stated that Israeli Jews should go back to where they originated. The Lobby pounced and the long knives came out to push a critic of Zionism, Thomas, into retirement. On the Canadian state CBC radio program “As It Happens,” Clinton acolyte Lanny Davis excoriated Thomas as an anti-Semite for her comments. There was no discussion of the factuality of Thomas’s remarks. There was no discussion of the racism of stealing the land of an indigenous people? The discussion was confined to racism against the occupying power? Defending occupied people against their Zionist oppressors is fraught with opprobrium.

Where should the occupiers go? Thomas suggested they go home.

This is problematic. Obviously, Thomas was referring to the ancestral home of Jews, and for most of them that is Europe – not Palestine. It is problematic because Helen Thomas’s ancestral home is not Turtle Island, so should Thomas not go back home to wherever her ancestors originated? And by her logic, should not everyone else who lives on occupied territory go home?

I am unaware of – apart from the Zionist side – any substantive group calling for a people to be sent anywhere. If it is anti-racism that is bothering people, then why does racism against Palestinians receive such short shrift in the corporate media and western government circles? Why can Israeli officials spout racist comments — far more egregious than telling people to go home — and get away without censure?1

Racism is abhorrent in all it forms by, and against, anyone. The best way to overcome racism is not to seal borders but to welcome all people, share the wealth, respect diversity, and embrace the humanity of all peoples.

Thomas said the land belongs to the Palestinians. There was no discussion of whether this is true or not.

In the capitalist worldview, land is something to be owned (and, apparently, stolen). So, yes, it is the land of the Palestinians according to that view. Turtle Island is also the land of the Indigenous peoples. However, ownership of land is a concept that is foreign and silly to the cultures of many Indigenous peoples.

Borders do not serve the people who live inside them. The borders are porous to financial flows but they stymie the free movement of people. An unsurprising conclusion is that people (the working class) are secondary to capital.

It appears that Thomas is being served up as a distraction to the recent killing of humanitarian activists by Israeli commandos in international waters that managed muted peeps in Canada and the United States. President Barack Obama called Thomas’s remarks “offensive,” and this contrasts with his anemic reply to the murders of humanitarians in the flotilla.

What is really offensive is Obama’s insouciance to the dispossession and suffering of Palestinians and Indigenous Turtle Islanders.

  1. For a discussion of racist Zionist comments see Kim Petersen and B.J. Sabri, “Defining Israeli Zionist Racism: Part 8,” Dissident Voice, 6 January 2008. []

Kim Petersen is co-editor of Dissident Voice. He can be reached at: kim@dissidentvoice.org. Read other articles by Kim.



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