Cudjoe's Home AfricaSpeaks RaceandHistory Trinicenter
Selwyn Cudjoe Online

Israel's colonialism

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
April 10, 2024

Last Monday night Israel killed seven humanitarian aid workers from the World Central Kitchen (WCK) in Gaza who were attending to the suffering of Palestinians. Israel apologised for its deliberate barbarity because all but one of the victims were of other nationalities—Australian, British, Polish, and a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. If Hamas had done such a thing, it would have confirmed its barbarity.

Israel has not stopped its bombing of Gaza. Israel Defense Forces (IDF)is getting ready to invade Rafah, Gaza, where more than one million refugees are sheltering from Israeli's destruction of their land. Thousands more Palestinians will die because Israel must eliminate these "terrorists" who are regarded as animals.

On Friday, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva called on all countries to halt their supplies of arms and munitions to Israel "in order to prevent further violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuse of human rights". (The New York Times, April 5.) The United States and Germany voted against the measure, primarily because they supply Israel with the weapons that allow the latter to continue its genocidal behaviour in Gaza.

The state of Israel was created because the European powers had to find a home for Jewish people after Germany's genocide of Jews. During the Second World War the British restricted the number of European Jews who were escaping Nazi persecution which led to their additional suffering.

This restriction resulted in armed Jewish resistance by Irgun Zvai Leumi (National Military Organisation), the Jewish terrorist element of the Arab-Israeli conflict, that was led by David Raziel initially, and later by Menachem Begin who joined the organisation in 1943. Begin believed "that a Jewish homeland was not possible under British mandate or control. In 1944, he led Irgun on a campaign against the British as well as the Arabs". (Major James Larry Fields, USA, Air Command and Staff College, Air University, Maxwell AFB, AL.)

Begin wanted to secure an independent homeland for Jewish people. In 1946 Irgun bombed the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, causing more than 200 causalities, both wounded and dead. The British government called the Irgun a "nationalist terrorist group", deemed Begin a terrorist and denied him entry into Britain between 1953 and 1955. He was only granted a visa to visit the UK in 1972, five years before he became Israel's prime minister (1977 to 1983).

Israel has always used the holocaust to carry out horrendous crimes. When Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, 2023, German chancellor Olaf Scholz rushed to Tel Aviv to tell Benjamin Netanyahu that Germany had "only one place—and it is alongside Israel". Germany calls its support for Israel a Staatsräson, "a national reason for existence, as a way of atoning for the Holocaust" (NYT, March, 31, 2024).

Germany has been haunted by its past. It has never forgotten that it murdered six million Jews. However, that was not Germany's first holocaust. Jürgen Zimmerer, a professor of history at the University of Hamburg, reminded us that "Germany has failed to pay sufficient attention to the lesser-known stain on the country's 20th century history—the mass slaughter of the Herero and Nama tribes [he should have said ethnic groups] by German forces in German South West Africa, present-day Namibia, between 1904 and 1908." (FT, March 9). This was the first genocide of the 20th century.

Today, a new generation lives in Germany. One fourth of the population can trace their roots to Turkey, Portugal, Morocco, Russia, Iran or Bosnia. They do not feel the same guilt about Germany atrocities against the Jews as the generation before them. This new generation is demanding that Germans cultivate what they call a new "memory culture".

When the German chancellor stood next to Mr Netanyahu in Tel Aviv last week he offered a different message than he did in October. He asked: "No matter how important the goal, can it justify such terribly high costs?"

Thorsten Benner, director of the Global Policy Institute in Berlin, remarked: "What changed for Germany is its untenable, this unconditional support for Israel. In sticking to this notion of Staatsrason [reasons of state], they give the false impression that Germany actually offered carte blanche to Netanyahu." (NYT, March 31.)

The power of the holocaust may be losing its grip on German minds. Per Leo, a German novelist says: "German memory culture was the product of a particular set of circumstances in a particular place and at a particular time. Imposing it on a new generation and new German citizens whose roots lay elsewhere is both misguided and ultimately futile" (FT, March 9.)

Zimmerer says the holocaust was "the logical culmination of a European culture of extermination and exploitation that colonialism had given birth to". He quotes WEB Du Bois to support his point: "There was no Nazi atrocity—concentration camps, wholesale maiming and murder, defilement of women or ghastly blasphemy of childhood—which Christian civilisation or Europe had not long been practicing against coloured folk in all parts of the world in the name of and for the defense of a Superior Race born to rule the world." (From Windhoek to Auschwitz?)

Israel's behaviour only continues a European colonial practice that has been taking place against non-white people over the centuries.

—Prof Cudjoe's e-mail address is He can be reached @ProfessorCudjoe.

Share your views here...

The Slave Master of Trinidad by Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
The Slave Master of Trinidad by Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe