michael brull on israel and australia


Michael Brull, ‘A Tale of Two Settler Colonies’, Overland 217 (2014).

That Australia is a settler colony is uncontroversial. For progressives, Australia’s settler past leads to two understandings: first, they understand why Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples resisted colonisation; second, even if they regard Australia as a wonderful place today, they understand that First Nation Peoples harbour feelings of resentment. The chant ‘Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land’ might make some uncomfortable, but for the most part progressives do not respond with self-righteous horror, nor allege anti-white bigotry. Aboriginal intellectuals who talk about sovereignty might be marginalised, but it’s not difficult to grasp the logic of their position.

If one accepts that Israel is a settler colony – and there are strong arguments for this position – then there are certain understandings that should follow. Progressives should understand, for instance, why Palestinian people opposed the colonisation of their land. This should, in turn, help them understand the ongoing conflict, specifically that Palestinian resistance is not exclusively driven by Islamism or anti-Semitism, but rather motivated in large part by anger at dispossession.

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