As a Californian, Katharine Davies Samway’s letter to the editor of the Alameda Journal, titled “Speak up against cruelty to villagers,” really resonates with me.
Without specifying borders, MS Samway rails against the “illegal occupation of Palestine.”
The Israeli Occupation of the West Bank—which ended the Jordanian Occupation—which ended the Ottoman Occupation—which ended the Roman Occupation of Jewish Judea—commenced with the ceasefire that terminated the Six Day War of 1967.
History is replete with such occupations; one cannot forget how in 1846 President James Polk mustered the troops of General Zachary Taylor along the Mexican border in Brownsville, Texas.
Polk hoped the deployment would incite an armed response from Mexico; it did.
Polk bandied the provoked response—the Thornton Affair—before Congress claiming it constituted a casus belli: "Mexico has passed the boundary of the United States, has invaded our territory and shed American blood upon American soil.”
Congress approved Polk’s declaration of war against Mexico on May 13, 1846.
The ruse was so transparently expansionist and imperialist that Henry David Thoreau went to jail in protest; both John Quincy Adams and the War Horse, Ulysses S Grant, publically disapproved.
Outnumbered militarily and with many of its large cities occupied, Mexico could not defend itself; the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed, at the point of a gun, on February 2, 1848, by American diplomat Nicholas Trist and Mexican puppet plenipotentiary representatives Luis G. Cuevas, Bernardo Couto, and Miguel Atristain, ended the Mexican War.
Fortuitously, the treaty gave the U.S. undisputed control of Texas and ceded to the United States the present-day states of California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, most of Arizona and Colorado, and parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Wyoming.
While most Americans refer to the seizure as Manifest Destiny, others, perhaps MS Samway included, call it the “illegal occupation” of Mexico.
Presently Mexicans attempting to enter these “occupied” territories are turned away at the unilaterally determined border, or if caught within the U.S., they are returned South of the Border.
While Baja California is still Baja California, Alta California is now simply California where all Public Education is conducted in English.
MS Samway’s might be shocked to learn that her City of Oakland is a doubly occupied territory; it belongs to the Costanoan Indians also known as the Ohlone or Miwoks.
Should she personally want to end her part of the occupation, she could contact the Bureau of Indian Affairs to deed her land back to the original owners.
Assuming MS Samway’s protest of “illegal occupation” is more than seizing moral high ground via special pleading, and more than anti-Semitism masquerading as anti-Zionism, we can assume she will do as her conscience dictates.
Jeffrey R Smith