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Desire to ‘civilize’ fails

Yes, it is long past time for this country to acknowledge the atrocities, genocides and holocausts visited upon the entirely innocent indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere by the invaders from the east. But, Kraig Richard’s letter (“Acknowledge Genocide in US,” Indian Country Today, [Vol. 29, No. 2]) suggests another interest.

For no apparent reason, while calling for President Obama to make such long overdue acknowledgment, Mr. Richard drags in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict by implying that Americans and Jews have the objective of “...civilizing Palestine.”

All parties in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict are descendents of proud and cultured societies. If I might be so bold as to speak for the Jews of this world (I am Jewish), Mr. Richard’s suggested parallel between the Christian/European racist desire to “civilize” the indigenous peoples of the Americas and the establishment of the modern State of Israel fails.

The Jews of Israel are there because of the same bigotry that inflicted itself upon the Wampanoag, the Arapaho, the Chrerokee, etc. Would Mr. Richard blame those who were death-marched from their native lands to Indian Territory for invading the peaceful peoples of Oklahoma? But the peaceful Jews of Europe, force-marched upon their own Trail of Tears to their ancient homeland, are now to be blamed by Mr. Richard for having not defeated those who acted upon their belief that: The only good Jew is a dead Jew.

The Jews of Israel yearn to live in peace with their neighbors, but it’s not easy, especially when they must, at the same time, confront bigots who lie, for their own purposes, about what honorable Jews think of honorable Palestinians.

– Eliot Kalman

Athens, Ohio