Nations come and go. Some come and go and come back again.

Israel and Palestine both have their own supposed God-gifted historical entitlement to the same Holy Land; once known as Canaan, once known as Philistia or Syria Palaestina, once divided into Israel and Judah. Long before Muhammad there was Abraham. Long before the Israelites there were the Seven Nations that comprised Canaan. The Holy Land is a Promised Land that has never fully fulfilled its promise, certainly not to all heirs of its original biblical covenant. Especially not now.

History is indeed a story, its narrative dependent on whom one chooses as the narrator. Nationalism’s history is fundamentally all about tribal separatism and exceptionalism, about the primary importance of “Us.” The trouble with “Us” is that it often doesn’t embrace a “We” narrative inclusive of “Them.” The trouble with history is that no amount of remembrance of it seems to avoid repetition of its fatal “Us” vs “Them” flaw of cohabitation.

Israel’s first existence was created via a divine approval of what would clearly meet the definition of genocide by any of today’s criteria applied by a more “modern” notion of warfare and international “rules” of “lawful” engagement. Genocide was once just another word for war. Today’s Israel, well knowing that genocide is adjudicated primarily by proof of intent, adamantly denies that accusation.

The Hamas Charter of 1988 made no bones about its genocidal intent regarding Israel, but its “woke” revision in 2017 now reads much like Israel’s harm-to-no-one 1948 Declaration of Independence. Zionism and genocide have nothing to do with each other, or so both sides argue from their respective actual geopolitics attempting willful extermination of the other.

Putin’s revanchist reign has a similar Zionist-esque historical fulfillment rationale for its ongoing wholesale annexation of Ukraine. It bothers not with any semantic quarrel regarding its clearly demonstrated genocidal objective.


America’s original idealistic notion of democratically united ex-colonial statehoods transformed into one nation under one God, with freedom and justice for all, then ruled to brutally annex everything from the north to the south and from the sea to the sea. And then, Hawaii and Alaska. Trump’s present “America First” kindredness to Zionism wants to make our historical White Christian Manifested Destiny’s genocidal and racist “greatness” again great. No wonder MAGA disciples don’t want America’s actual history taught in schools.

By any other name, Israel’s Zionist identity would be just another accepted Us-first notion of nationalism. Especially if it openly professed to be a theocracy rather than a democracy. The rub comes when nationalism seeks dominion over patriotism, which is the love and devotion for a country as a whole rather than to one group over all others. Zionism isn’t alone in that confusion.

Ukraine well understands that distinction. It is what enables Ukraine’s perseverance against being divided and conquered because it chooses democracy over autocracy.

Planetism has no real meaning in our lexicon of geopolitics. Nationalism and patriotism are still too dominant as constructs for cohabitation. “United we stand, divided we fall” has never been sufficiently inclusive. “Nothing brings people together like a common enemy” still misses the point that “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

For all of history humanity has practiced war and gotten no better at it. For way too long, mankind has thought itself as having been given dominion over all planetary habitat because we are somehow the “chosen” species.

When I turn on the news its dominant imagery is of destruction of truly biblical proportions, whether from weather or war. No other species contributes to either causation. Only our species has the dominion to end it.

War is a hell of mankind’s own making, soon to be eclipsed by climate change.

By any other name, hubris is hubris is hubris.

Gary B. Anderson is a Bath resident. 

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