Last week, some of us got into a sort of side-conversation about Israel and the Palestinians, one in which it was suggested that Israel could be seen as a “settler-colony” of the United States because the US provides considerable aid to Israel.
The question then arose: if US aid equals colonization, there are an awful lot of colonies around the world that don’t seem to have gotten the memo that they’re part of America’s Colonial Empire … including the Palestinians themselves. Meanwhile, it strikes me that there is at least one situation in the world that does resemble settler-colonialism.
Just to make things clearer, here is the dictionary definition of the verb “to colonize:”
colonize |ˈkäləˌnīz| verb [ with obj. ]
- (of a country or its citizens) send a group of settlers to (a place) and establish political control over it: the Greeks colonized Sicily and southern Italy.
- come to settle among and establish political control over (the indigenous people of an area): a white family that tries to colonize a Caribbean island.
- appropriate (a place or domain) for one’s own use.
- Ecology (of a plant or animal) establish itself in an area: mussels can colonize even the most inhospitable rock surfaces | [ no obj. ] : insect borers colonize in rotted shoreline deadfalls.
Is there any reason why the huge numbers of (especially) Muslim “refugees” that entered Europe in the past few years could not be considered “settler colonists” rather than mere immigrants?
As with the colonists that arrived in the 16th and 17th centuries from Europe to the New World, some actually are refugees from war or persecution but most are military-aged men seeking their fortunes. As with the colonists who came to America, the Muslim immigrants have little interest in assimilating into the existing culture of the native population. They maintain their own languages and cultures. They return to the old countries to find spouses and to collect religious, educational and cultural materials for import and deployment in the new environment. As in the days of colonial New England, New France, and New Spain, the settlers’ countries of origin provide funding the establishment of schools and religious and cultural missions, and both clergy and educators return to what they clearly think of as “home” to be trained for the maintenance of the settlers’ faith, and the conversion of the natives.
For those olden days’ settler-colonists, the point was not to dwell peaceably among the Iroquois, Sioux, or Passamaquoddy in a multi-cultural, inclusive, tolerant society but rather to persuade and/or (as strength permitted) force natives to convert to the settlers’ ways: to establish a New England, a New France, a New Spain.
The same seems true with Muslims in Europe today. There are Islamic leaders on record as saying that their goal is not a multicultural Europe that includes and tolerates Islam; the ultimate goal is to appropriate Europe for the use of the Ummah. In the meantime, Europe’s resources are to be mercilessly exploited.
From the linked piece in Commentary: “Summing up the collective achievement so far, Bat Ye’or, the historian of “dhimmitude,” has written that “Europe has evolved from a Judeo-Christian civilization with important post-Enlightenment/ secular elements to … a secular Muslim transitional society with its traditional Judeo-Christian mores rapidly disappearing.” She calls this evolving entity “Eurabia.”
I firmly reject the notion that Israel is a “settler-colony” of the United States or any other state. Jews have dwelt continuously in Israel longer than Islam has existed, and there is no single country or even continent from which Jews have been dispatched to settle Israel on its behalf, nor one to which they could return.
However, to the extent that describing Israel as a “colony” suggests illegitimacy’ and to ask whether Israeli colonization has deprived the “native” Palestinians of “a country of their own”, a question arises: Do Europeans have the right to a continent of their own? Does Muslim immigration, settlement, cultural displacement (what else do you call it, when Danish high school students are required to read the Koran but not the Bible?) and eventual demographic replacement—in short, colonialism—constitute an assault on human rights, a cosmic injustice to be prevented now if only so that the colonial exploiters and their descendants need not be ashamed of it later?