In this fascinating lecture, Columbia Professor Joseph Massad unravels the obfuscatory language of “peace” the Zionist movement and Israel have always used to mask their aggressive and colonial intentions towards Palestine.
Massad’s lecture, entitled “Peace Is War: Negotiations, Israeli Settler Colonialism, and the Palestinians,” was given at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas on 23 October.
His opening words set up his journey through Zionist history to the present day:
Ever since its colonial project was set in motion, Zionism has insisted that it seeks to colonize Palestine “peacefully,” indeed that its colonization of the country will not only not harm the native population, but that it would be of benefit to them. The movement’s founder, Theodor Herzl, himself provided two visions of this future, a fictional public vision advertised in his futurist novel Altneuland, where Palestine would become a Jewish state allowing coexistence with the native Arabs who would be happy and grateful for being colonized and civilized by European Jews, and a secret logistical and practical strategy to evict the Arab population out of the country, which he spelled out in his Diaries. Herzl’s dual approach of declaring peaceful intentions for public consumption behind which he sought to hide Zionism’s violent strategy of conquering the land of the Palestinians would be adopted wholesale thenceforward and continues to be the cornerstone of Israeli policy to the present.
Indeed, long before George Orwell popularized the expression “war is peace” in his 1949 novel , Zionism understood well that its colonial strategy depended on a deliberate and insistent confusion of the binary terms “war” and “peace” so that each of them hides behind the other as one and the same strategy: “peace” will always be the public name of a colonial war, and “war,” once it became necessary and public, would be articulated as the principal means to achieve the sought after “peace.” This is so central to Zionist and Israeli propaganda that Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, which killed 20,000 civilians, was termed operation “Peace for Galilee.” War and peace therefore were the same means whose only and ultimate strategic goal was the European Jewish colonization of Palestine and the subjugation and expulsion of Palestine’s native population.
Watch the video for the full lecture, followed by a question and answer session with the audience in which Massad addresses questions about the current situation in Palestine, armed struggle, the power of the Israel lobby and the achievements of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.
Update, 3 November 2013
You can now also read Massad’s lecture “Peace is War” as a two-part article on Al Jazeera English.