When Israel's friends in Labour advocated genocide

Winstanley, Asa

Publisher:  The Electronic Intifada
Date Written:  25/07/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21186

Every so often Labour Friends of Israel pays tribute to Richard Crossman, an early activist with the British pressure group and one of the best known British politicians of the mid-20th century. The tributes to the late cabinet minister are not entirely informative.One detail that tends to be omitted is that, when it came to Palestine, Crossman advocated genocide.



Crossman was probably the Zionist movement's biggest supporter in the Labour Party from the 1940s onwards. He was later a minister in Harold Wilson's 1960s government, becoming editor of the New Statesman magazine after his retirement from frontline politics.

In a 1959 lecture in Israel, Crossman discussed Zionism in the context of other settler-colonial episodes in history.

Referring to European settlers – which he collectively called "the white man" – in Africa and the Americas, he argued: "No one, until the 20th century, seriously challenged their right, or indeed their duty, to civilize these continents by physically occupying them, even at the cost of wiping out the aboriginal population."

He lamented that "Jewish settlers" in Palestine had not "achieved their majority before 1914," and that the Palestinians "regarded them as 'white settlers,' come to occupy the Middle East."

The Zionist movement ultimately succeeded in violently gerrymandering a Jewish majority in Palestine, by physically removing the largest part of the "aboriginal population" in 1948.
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