This Land Is My Land

Because James Fenimore Cooper wrote a novel called The Last of the Mohicans, I used to assume there were no more Mohicans. Actually, there are still a few. After being displaced from their ancestral homeland centuries ago, they were repeatedly cheated by the U.S. government, but survived somehow. Today they live in Wisconsin.

For purposes of our thought experiment, though, we’re going to pretend that the wandering Mohicans settled in a remote part of Saskatchewan or Manitoba, and that subsequently vast reserves of oil were found on their land. Today, my imaginary band of Mohicans is both numerous and wealthy. They have decided to reclaim their ancestral homeland, whose landmarks are mentioned in their legends as the sites of miracles.

The current residents of their ancestral land having proven resistant to the idea, the Mohicans have purchased helicopter gunships, and have undertaken to take and retain their land using military force.

My question for you is, would you support the Mohicans in this quest? But before you answer, I have to give you one other piece of information:

The ancestral homeland of the Mohicans is the island of Manhattan.

No matter how badly we might all feel about the shameful way the Mohicans were treated, it would be insanity to insist that the current residents of Manhattan should make way for the returning natives. Any rational person would say to the Mohicans, “That’s not your land anymore. Get over it.”

Of course you can see where I’m going with this. By any reasonable measure, the Mohicans have a better (because more recent) claim to Manhattan than the Jews have to the chunk of real estate they choose to call Israel. The Jews were booted off their land in about 70 A.D., by a Roman emperor who got fed up with their intransigence. The Jews living today have no rational claim whatever to that land. They stole it from the Palestinians who were living there within living memory, and whose ancestors had occupied the land continually for centuries.

The only possible claims that can be made today for the supposed right of the Jews to the land they call Israel are based not on the politics of 70 A.D., but on religion. And no worldly claim that is based on religious doctrine has the slightest validity.

If you claim that the Virgin Mary visits you daily in your private room at the local mental hospital, that’s your right. No one can dispute that claim. But if you claim that the Virgin Mary told you you had a right to take my home away from me at gunpoint, a mental hospital is the right place for you.

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