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The Colonialism Slander in the State Department and Beyond


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Real Clear Politics

By Peter Berkowitz - RCP Contributor

Dec.  3 2023

Left-wing intellectuals have transformed the complex history of “colonialism” into an all-encompassing slander against the West. A practice dating back to the ancient world, colonialism involves a nation’s transferring a portion of its population into a foreign land and assuming responsibility for administering it. In the United Kingdom and the United States, professors of literature, history, political theory, and international relations routinely teach that the subjugation of non-Western peoples belongs to the essence of the West – they primarily mean the British Empire, America, and Israel. The anti-colonialists further contend that the perpetration of heinous crimes – including genocide, the systematic effort to wipe out a people – belongs to the essence of the West’s colonialism.

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The colonialism slander blinds its adherents to basic facts and crucial distinctions. On Oct. 7, in grotesque violation of the laws of war, the terrorists massacred some 1,200, mostly civilians, and abducted 240, mostly civilians, in furtherance of their oft-repeated aim to destroy the Jewish state. In contrast, and in compliance with the laws of war, Israel has targeted Hamas combatants and their military infrastructure. Before attacking Hamas strongholds, which the terrorists illegally built inside and under Gaza’s cities, Israel has warned Palestinian civilians to leave and has directed them to safe areas. The tragic loss of civilian life in Gaza has resulted from Hamas’ callous conversion of civilian areas into war zones.

It turns out, according to Eitan Fischberger, that Yacoub, a 2023 graduate of Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS), “wrote her thesis paper about colonialism and its role in international relations.” In “The Georgetown Effect,” Fischberger explained that Yacoub’s thesis reflected her school’s priorities: “SFS’s curriculum, faculty viewpoints, and campus activities” revolve around colonialism and “decolonization.” Josh Paul, the only State Department official to resign in opposition to the Biden administration’s support for Israel’s war against Hamas, graduated from SFS in 2002.

In the 2023 British Sunday Times bestseller “Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning,” Nigel Biggar provides a meticulous accounting of colonialism and the West. A professor emeritus of moral and pastoral theology at the University of Oxford, Biggar writes that in late 2017, he was “plunged into the ‘culture war’ over colonialism.” Shortly after publishing an exploration in The Times of London of colonialism’s contributions as well as its costs, “all hell broke loose.” Critics targeted for termination his scholarly project “Ethics and Empire,” his distinguished partner resigned from the enterprise, and nearly 200 scholars from around the world denounced him in one online statement, as did 58 Oxford colleagues in another. Biggar responded in exemplary fashion by producing an incisive scholarly study – some 300 pages of closely argued text and 130 pages of learned endnotes – examining “the complicated, morally ambiguous truth” about the British Empire’s colonialism.

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FYI

Playlist: NIALL FERGUSON ------ CIVILIZATION

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Jun 30, 2023

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