The New Puritans
the trajectory of the
Defined characteristics steer history to an eventual climax. Unless a dramatic intervention occurs, similar historical characteristics forecast similar results.If an earlier historical event has a narrative that is comparable with the narrative of the Middle East conflict, then the trajectory of that conflict can be predicted from the outcome of the earlier narrative; not exactly, but within a certain boundary. A corollary exists: if a conclusion can be forecasted from an earlier event that exhibited closely similar conditions, changing the conditions by intervention can modify the directed result.
Several conflicts have been compared to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Each narrative contained claims for land, clashes with indigenous peoples and a desire for separation due to fear and insecurity. Each conflict left a legacy that deserves consideration. Most prominently mentioned are:
(1) The American destiny
(2) The Puritan experience
Which of these conflicts is most comparable with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict? Realizing that the contestants of the 21st century conflict are culturally advanced in comparison to the contestants engaged in the earlier century conflicts and accounting for different eras and different stages in civilization, the most relevant comparison is the Puritan experience. To substantiate this assertion, let us start with the principle characteristics that defined the Zionist agenda and its development into the Israeli state.
The Zionists at the end of the 19th century concluded Jewish populations, due to unique characteristics, would never find acceptance from Christian Europe. They would remain a persecuted minority if they did not assimilate and would lose their identity if they assimilated. In this no-win situation, Judaism and Jewish identity would eventually disappear. Relatively few Jews of that time agreed with or followed the Zionist agenda.
The Zionists sought a Promised Land, the same land that the Bible claimed God had awarded to the Hebrews. However, the pioneers did not arrive by invoking a phrase uttered by many later immigrants; "The land has been reserved for us by a promise from God." Gaining national identity and social redemption by social labor and communal life guided their purpose.
Hardship and failure describe many of the early missions. After
near failure, a limited success enthused compatriots in the World War I
aftermath, and immigration to
The early Jewish immigrants to
In 1920, after the Zionist population had grown to 60,000 in a
"It may not be generally known, but a goodly number of the Jewish
dwellers in the land are not anxious to see a large immigration into the
country. This is partly due to the fear that the result of such immigration
would be an overcrowding of the industrial and agricultural market; but a number
of the more respectable older settlers have been disgusted by the recent
arrivals in Palestine of their coreligionists, unhappy individuals from Russia
and Romania brought in under the auspices of the Zionist Commission from the
cities of Southeastern Europe, and neither able nor willing to work at
agriculture or fruit-farming." - Zionist Aspirations in
How does this narrative compare to other narratives?
In 1651, the Dutch East India Company established a settlement as a base for its ships passing the
The acquisitive British, seeking control of vital shipping lanes, determined the future of Africa?s southern region. The British seized the area in 1795 and the Congress of Vienna in 1815 recognized Britain's sovereign control of the Cape.Discoveries of mineral resources provoked Great Britain to incorporate the Cape Colony, Natal, Transvaal, and Orange Free State into one nation. On May31, 1910, the English crown created another dominion -the Union of South Africa - precursor to the 1961 creation of the Republic of South Africa.
A nation that contained an estimated 67% black African, 9% colored and 2.5% Asianbecame a state designed for its white population. The new nation certified apartheid by a series of laws that started with theNatives' Land Act of 1913.The Act initially restricted the Black population ownership of land to only 7% of the country. The original Cape Coloreds (not White, Black or Indian), who were able to vote, became totally disenfranchised in 1948, after the Nationalist Party took control of the Union's legislature.
South Africa started as a colonial enterprise. Colonialism led to a conflict between the descendants of white settlers and the native population. The conflict was almost entirelydue to Apartheid Laws that denied economic and political power to the non-white populations. Native populations were misplaced and races were segregated. The conflict could only be resolved by repeal of the Apartheid laws. In 1994, the repeal occurred.
The South African experience is often compared to the Middle East conflict because of its positive outcome. Why cannot the former be a guide to the other? All oppression of populations have similarities. Nevertheless, the characteristics of the settling of the two areas and the nature of the conflict are entirely different. There was no colonialism involved in the establishment of Israel. There are no civil laws to cancel in order to resolve the Middle East conflict. Rather than misplacements, there have been population replacements and displacements. Apartheid defined the South Africa struggle and sanctions convinced the authorities that changing the apartheidlaws were preferable to world enmity. Apartheid is a side factor in the more complicated Middle East conflict. It will take much, much more than sanctions to resolve the conflict.
The South Africa legacy: The world community can successfully pressure nations to discard racial prejudice and grant equal rights to all its citizens.
Expanding from a blockade in 1827, caused by an assumed insult to a French consul in
After a century of verbal and sporadic warfare, the French National Assembly in 1947 approved legislation that created an Algerian Assembly with Muslim representation. It was an insufficient gesture. A protracted Algerian War of Independence, fought from 1954-1962, resulted inan independent Algeria and the retreat of the French colonists to their home country.
Similar to Israel policies, which strengthened Palestinian identity, the French awakened an Algerian national identity. Nevertheless, by being a colonial adventure, which brought economic separation, and later tried to legally integrate the native population into the French nation, the Algerian narrative does nottrack the Israel narrative. The Palestinians would be pleased with an outcome similar to the resolution of the Algerian conflict. Israelis prefer that conditions do not change to resemble the narrative which forced an Algerian nation.
The Algerian conflict legacy: Even after a century of struggle, native populations can win their right to self determination against a major power.
Colonization followed conquest.England sent Protestants colonists to Irish provinces, mostly to those that would later be a'part of Northern Ireland.'Constant strife culminated in a complicated arrangement by which Ireland was temporarily partitioned in 1921 between Northern and Southern Ireland. Following a brief war and a treaty between the English parliament and Irish representatives, the Irish Free State came into existence as a dominion of the British Commonwealth. In 1949, Ireland became a republic and left the Commonwealth.
By being awarded autonomy,Northern
Ireland received special consideration in the 1921 partition plan. Almost
immediately, the Northern Ireland Parliament voted to leave the Irish free
State and remain as a part of the United Kingdom, but with its own parliament. A boundary commission failed in its duty
and a large minority of Catholics found inclusion in a Protestant directed
Paramilitary groups fought in the streets of
A 1997 peace agreement between the antagonists approved the
formation of an Assembly elected by proportional representation. Considering
the violence preceding the Good Friday power sharing arrangement,
'Peace walls,' which are kilometers of concrete and wire barricades that began to be erected during the 1970?s in the city of Belfast, still separate Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods. Sound familiar?
The Irish conflict proceeded from a colonial adventure that
happened 400 years ago.
The principal conflict was between the Irish and the English government.
Refugees and land seizures were not principal factors in the conflict.
Economic injustice mostly characterized the conflict.
Partition did not create two new nations. It created an
Rather than refugees being created by exclusion, Catholic refugees were created by inclusion in
Settlement of the
The American legacy: Seemingly harmless incursions can lead to great tragedies, especially when nations perceive themselves as exceptional.
A small congregation of Puritans differentiated themselves from their co-religionists by being unwilling to reconcile their independent organization with the established Church of
The Separatists had no intention to uproot native communities they anticipated
they would encounter. Because they did not know that a series of contagious
diseases resulting from contacts with European fishermen on the
After word reached England that the Pilgrim adventure, which had several times been near failure, had finally succeeded, due principally to Pokanoket assistance, other English - Puritans, entrepreneurs, adventurers, merchants, farmers - booked passage to the New England. They and Pilgrim descendants acquired an insatiable thirst for land and detoured from the Separatists original mission.
"The Pilgrims bought their land from the Natives, but the Natives expected to continue to use the land's resources. The colonists built fences where no fences had ever been before, closing off their property to make the land their own. Tensions had long existed due to the two cultures different ways of life. Colonists' livestock trampling Native cornfields was a continuing problem. Competition for resources created friction. Regional economic changes forced many Natives to sell their land." - Nathan Philbrick, Mayflower.
The Pokanoket Indians became fearful of losing all their land, agriculture, and fishing rights. Their fear and insecurity generated fear and insecurity in the Puritans. After 40 years of a peaceful and helpful relationship, both sides contemplated a future without the other. Massasoit's son, who gave himself the name of King Philip, felt betrayed by the Puritans and started a 14 month war to drive out the English; a war for survival, which he almost won.
Fourteen months of attacks and counter attacks devastated
The Puritans arrival in
The Zionist Jewish narrative closely follows the Separatist Puritan
narrative. The early years of the development of the nation of
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