Monday, April 6, 2009

Palestinians and American Indians - Not much Difference

As I have been following the latest seige of Palestine (you know it started on December 27, 2008 and has not stopped yet, right?), I have been awakening to the stark similarities of how the Native American Indian's were ethnically cleansed from their own country.

Following my short bit, I have included noteworthy quotes from well known Americans of the time...some justifying the destruction of a whole people.
I have also included more recent quotes from those who justify taking the land from the Palestinians as well as their justifications for massacring them.
I hope you will also see the similarities in the strategies and tactics.

Anyway, the Indians were pushed further and further west. They were pushed onto reservations (sounds like "camps" right?). White men ran the camps. Allowed or dis-allowed the flow of goods into the camps. Raided the camps. Punished those who resisted the camps. The poor living conditions resulted greatly diminished physiological development.

Soon other white men wanted the land the camps sat on, so they were moved onto other thousand mile marches of death and disease. The new land was even less desireable farther and farther from the land they were born on, their ancestors were born on, the land their ancestors graves were on.

Of course in the press, it was all the Indians fault...the white man was just defending themselves. Of course, who owned the press?

Yes, there were voices in support of the Indians among the white man, but the campaign by the land, railroad, timber, fur and munitions corporations in the halls of Congress and in the FOX News style media outlets of the day, was too great and those voices of opposition soon faded.

Some Indians escaped into exile in other lands...Canada and Mexico, but they were now refugees.

On guarded reservations in the United States, where "all men are created equal", the Indians lost their culture, their will and initiative.

Quotes about American Indians:

I believe in the policy that exterminates the Indians, drives them outside the boundaries of civilization, because you cannot civilize them.Congressman James M. Cavanaugh 1868
No State can achieve proper culture, civilization and progress…as long as Indians are permitted to remain.
U.S. President Martin Van Buren

The most vicious cowboy has more moral principle than the average Indian.... Reckless, revengeful, fiendishly cruel, they rob and murder, not the cowboys, who can take care of themselves, but the defenseless, lone settlers on the plains.
Future President Teddy Roosevelt, January 1886

They have neither the intelligence, the industry, the moral habits, nor the desire of improvement…Established in the midst of another and superior race…they must necessarily yield…and ere long disappear.
U.S. President Andrew Jackson, Message of the President to the Two Houses of Congress, 23rd Congress, 1833

We are not going to let a few thieving, ragged Indians stop and check the progress of the railroad. I regard the railroad as the most important element now in progress to facilitate the military interests of our Frontier....We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux even to their extermination, men, women and children...they must feel the superior power of the Government. General Sherman - letter to General Grant) 1867

Not merely have all attempts to civilize them failed, but also every endeavor to enslave them. Our Indian tribes submit to extermination, rather than wear the yoke under which our Negro slaves fatten and multiply.
Ethnological researcher Josiah C. Nott

Intelligence, activity, ambition, progression, high anatomical development, characterize some races; stupidity, indolence, immobility, savagism, low anatomical development characterize others....our only safety depends upon the total extermination of the Indians. Having wronged them for centuries we had better, in order to protect our civilization, follow it up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed and untameable creatures from the face of the earth. In this lies safety for our settlers and the soldiers who are under incompetent commands. Otherwise, we may expect future years to be as full of trouble with the redskins as those have been in the past.
L. Frank Baum. Author of the Wizard of Oz

All history and honest observation will show that the Red Man is a skulking coward and a windy braggart, who strikes without warning—usually from an ambush or under cover of night, and nearly always bringing a force of about five or six to one against his enemy; kills helpless women and little children, and massacres the men in their beds; and then brags about it as long as he lives, and his son and his grandson and great-grandson after him glorify it among the "heroic deeds of their ancestors".
Mark Twain, 1870

The idea that a handful of wild, half-naked, thieving, plundering, murdering savages should be dignified with the sovereign attributes of nations, enter into solemn treaties, and claim a country 500 miles wide by 1,000 miles long as theirs in fee simple, because they hunted buffalo or antelope over it, might do for a beautiful reading of Hiawatha, but is unsuited to the intelligence and justice of this age, or the natural rights of mankind.
New Mexico Supreme Court, United States v. Lucero, 1 NM S. Ct. 422, 1869

Quotes about Palestinians:

“a Jewish state would not have come into being without the uprooting of 700,000 Palestinians. Therefore it was necessary to uproot them. There was no choice but to expel that population.” Israeli historian Benny Morris.

“We came to this country which was already populated by Arabs, and we are establishing a Hebrew, that is a Jewish state here. In considerable areas of the country [the total area was about 6%] we bought the lands from the Arabs. Jewish Villages were built in place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you, because these geography books no longer exist; not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahalal [Dayan’s own village] arose in the place of Mahalal, Gevat– in the place of Jibta, [Kibbutz] Sarid– in the place of Haneifs and Kefar Yehoshua– in the place of Tell Shaman. There is not one place in the country that did not have a former Arab population.” Moshe Dayan

But the native never lost his “last spark of hope”. The spark was not extinguished in 1948, when 750,000 Palestinians were terrorized, uprooted and expelled, several decades after Moshe Sharret announced, “We have not come to an empty land but we have come to conquer a country from people inhabiting it”; several years after David Ben-Gurion declared, “I support compulsory transfer. I do not see anything immoral in it”; and several months after Menachem Begin gloated over “a splendid act of conquest ” the rape and massacre of 254 Palestinians at Deir Yassin. The spark was not extinguished in 1967, when Israel grabbed the remaining 22% of Palestine and began its military occupation as its war hero Moshe Dayan kindly informed the natives, “You shall continue to live like dogs.”
Alam Wolf.

“Negev land is reserved for Jewish citizens whenever and wherever they want. We must expel the Arabs and take their place.” By 1951, fewer than 13,000 inhabitants remained of a community that numbered somewhere between 70,000 and 90,000 in the late 1940s. David Ben Gurion in a letter to his son.

Individual Arabs may perhaps be bought off but this hardly means that all the Arabs in Eretz Israel are willing to sell a patriotism that not even Papuans will trade. Every indigenous people will resist alien settlers as long as they see any hope of ridding themselves of the danger of foreign settlement.
That is what the Arabs in Palestine are doing, and what they will persist in doing as long as there remains a solitary spark of hope that they will be able to prevent the transformation of “Palestine” into the “Land of Israel”.
…they are not a rabble but a nation, perhaps somewhat tattered, but still living. A living people makes such enormous concessions on such fateful questions only when there is no hope left. Only when not a single breach is visible in the iron wall, only then do extreme groups lose their sway, and influence transfers to moderate groups. Only then would these moderate groups come to us with proposals for mutual concessions. And only then will moderates offer suggestions for compromise on practical questions like a guarantee against expulsion, or equality and national autonomy.
The Iron Wall by Vladimir Jabotinski, 1923

“Israel may have the right to put others on trial, but certainly no one has the right to put the Jewish people and the State of Israel on trial.” Ariel Sharon

“I want to tell you something very clear, don’t worry about American pressure on Israel, we, the Jewish people control America, and the Americans know it.”
Ariel Sharon to Shimon Peres, October 3rd, 2001, as reported on Kol Yisrael radio.

“Everybody has to move, run and grab as many (Palestinian) hilltops as they can to enlarge the (Jewish) settlements because everything we take now will stay ours…Everything we don’t grab will go to them.”
Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Minister, addressing a meeting of the Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, Nov. 15, 1998.

“Spirit the penniless population across the frontier by denying it employment… Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.”
Theodore Herzl, founder of the World Zionist Organization, speaking of the Arabs of Palestine, “Complete Diaries,” June 12, 1895 entry.

“The blood of the Jewish people is loved by the Lord; it is therefore redder and their life is preferable.” Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsberg, head of the Kever Yossev Yeshiva in Nablus

“True, the white man brought great change. But the varied fruits of his civilization, though highly colored and inviting, are sickening and deadening. And if it be the part of civilization to maim, rob, and thwart, then what is progress? I am going to venture that the man who sat on the ground in his tipi meditating on life and its meaning, accepting the kinship of all creatures, and acknowledging unity with the universe of things, was infusing into his being the true essence of civilization…. “
Chief Luther Standing Bear, in his 1933 autobiography


  1. Thanks for an excellent resource.

    Have you read Louise Erdich? She provides an education in US-Native American history which resonates in many ways when reading about Operation Cast Lad or just the daily news.

  2. No, I haven't. Thanks for the tip.
    I'm really not a scholar...just an average guy with a developing bs detector. So, I haven't read a lot in depth...just a little about everything.

  3. "...the Red Man...strikes without warning—usually from an ambush or under cover of night, and nearly always bringing a force of about five or six to one against his enemy."

    Ha! The Powell Doctrine's "overwhelming force" idea is really a Native American strategy!