Settling Palestine: The ‘latest colonizing adventure’
The following is an excerpt from a documentary detailing the tactics employed by Jewish settlers in Palestine:
“When a new settlement is established, it must withstand attack from the very first day of occupation. A system of defense has been evolved, in which these experienced settlers play an important part.
“When the proposed site has been marked out, members of the established settlements in the vicinity move off to congregate in the village nearest the scene of the latest colonizing adventure. From all around they come. Men, who have themselves recently made pioneering history, by cars, lorries and wagons, they all move to the assembly point. The point from which, in the still of night, they will set out to roll back still further the carpet of desert waste.”
The film, of course, is an early Zionist propaganda piece from 1939. The descriptions of tactics, however, are just as accurate today as they were nearly three-quarters of a century ago.
What some might find shocking — or amusing — are the changes in the narrative and terminology-driven framework used to describe the Zionist settlement enterprise in the past 74 years.
Were the phrase “latest colonizing adventure” to be used in a documentary on settlements today, surely a host of “Hasbara” social media specialists, quasi-journalists and bloggers would summarily declare the filmmaker a pro-Palestinian, a “delegitimizer” of Israel, and at least one article would surely lodge an accusation or two of anti-Semitism.
Just like today, albeit sans historical context and an understanding that Palestine was not a land without a people, the film pays lip service to the displacement and/or land theft that is almost always part and parcel of renegade settlement construction.
“Armed guards watch with interest as the plowshare turns the first plow. An agricultural settlement is being reborn … The tower is up and the new settlement provides a background of permanence to the Arab neighbors driving their cattle back in the setting sun.”
Here is the 27-minute film. Enjoy.