This is in response to Eliot Kalman’s letter, “Remember who the real victims are,” Feb. 12 [Vol. 29, No. 37].
Mr. Kalman is mistaken in trying to equate the Christian Doctrine of Discovery with Islam, and European Jews with the indigenous peoples of the western hemisphere, although Zionists commonly do so in an attempt to gain American Indian support for the Zionist project in historic Palestine.
The real parallel is between the Christian Doctrine of Discovery and Zionism, and between European Christians and Europeans Jews who, respectively, colonized the “New World” and continue to colonize historic Palestine. Both ideologies begin with the same biblical exceptionalist concept of “the chosen people” and “the promised land.”
The European colonizers of Palestine are not “returning to their ancient homeland.” They never lived there. They are descendants of Eastern Europeans, who converted to Judaism in the 8th century.
The indigenous Jews of Palestine were considered Jewish Arabs in the same way that there are Christian Arabs and Muslim Arabs – sharing the same Arabic language, food, music and culture until the state of Israel was declared in 1948.
Both Zionism and the Christian Doctrine include the same brutal dehumanizing language and imagery of the “Other” as “savages” and “beasts” – or “thugs” and “terrorists.”
Both the Christian Doctrine and Zionism endorse genocide, ethnic cleansing and dispossession of indigenous lands based on religious exclusion (although Zionism began as a secular movement). And both demonize the Saracens – the Muslims and Arabs.
In the papal bulls that formulate the Christian Doctrine are instructions “to invade, search out, capture, vanquish and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions and all movable and immovable goods whatever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery.”
Zionist leaders have expressed similar sentiments.
-Gale Courey Toensing
Falls Village, Conn.
Editor’s note: Ms. Toensing is a staff reporter for Indian Country Today.