A New Humanism

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What motivates the desire for Third World solidarity is the shared history of oppression by a common oppressor.

In 2009, a few academics, supported by long standing left-wing activists, founded Pakistanis for Palestine, a Lahore based group that aimed to support Palestinians in their struggle for statehood. Critics—which include Pakistanis—of course, wonder why, given Pakistan’s own issues, we bother to advocate for the Palestinian struggle. Here I want to reply to that critique, but before doing so let’s get some of the facts straight about the occupation of Palestine and the nature of the Israeli state for, without background, we cannot understand solidarity work.

I.

Israel is a settler colonial state.  Edward Said offers us a pertinent definition of imperialism, and settler colonialism. In his book Culture and Imperialism, he writes, “Imperialism means the practice, the theory, and the attitudes of a dominating metropolitan center ruling a distant territory; colonialism, which is almost always a consequence of imperialism, is the implanting of settlements on distant territory.”  Settler colonialism, in turn, requires the transfer of a large population to the colonized area.

Israel can be viewed as a settler colonial state historically, but the term also Qalandar Bux Memonhas explanatory and analytical value in understanding the Israeli modes of politics in relation to Palestinians. Historically, the patterns of colonization are well known and documented.   Let me, nonetheless, repeat them in summary:

In August 1897, the Zionist Organisation in its first congress meeting, held in Basel, planned the colonization of Palestine, often termed the Basel Program.  The program aimed to systematically move Jewish people to Palestine. By 1914, it is estimated that 8 percent of the total population of Palestine was Jewish (with 60,000 or so Jewish persons having migrated to Palestine between 1882 to 1914).  Another 10 percent were Christian and the rest, Muslim. Less than 2 percent of the land was owned by the Jewish population in 1914.  Yet, the strategy of settler colonization (which relies on land acquisition) had begun. A successful Zionist strategy has been to lobby and court imperial support for their project.  The 1917 Balfour Declaration  declared Britain’s support, “in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people. Read on>>

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One Response to A New Humanism

  1. […] his home, Palestine, and the conditions in Pakistan where he has spent time. Qalandar Bux Memon provides a historical view and connects to the Pakistani […]

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