I struggle to understand the righteousness of Israelis when it comes to international criticism, and so I've typed up a fascinating passage about the colonial mindset from Doris Lessing's novel A Proper Marriage, which is set in Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, during World War II.
In one episode in the book, liberal colonial women stage a performance by "colored" children for a white audience in the capital, Salisbury (now Harare). The organizer of the show, Mrs. Maynard, is upset that she is not getting much help from young lefties, including the heroine of the book, Martha Quest (who like her creator leaves the colony for England in 1949).
The passage below explains Mr. and Mrs. Maynard's colonial mindset. The Maynards are liberals. Mrs. Maynard had grown up thinking of herself as a "rebel." And at the very end of the passage, the reference to young people is to Martha's set, the young lefties.
For it is by no means an accident that people find themselves in the colonies. Mrs. Maynard, as a girl [in England], had infuriated her family by refusing to get married at the right time. Instead, she had become a crusader for better housing in Whitechapel. She had been prevented from marrying a penniless clergyman who was similarly devoted only by the greatest effort on the part of her relations. As a revenge she had married Mr. Maynard: Africa had seemed to her both romantic and suitably exasperating to her family. She had seen herself ministering to grateful savages. And Mr. Maynard had left England because he found it insular. They had both been rebels, of a kind. Perhaps the strongest strand in their relationship was the feeling that they were rebels against tradition--even now, when their first concern was to uphold it.
For that matter, there is no white person in the colonies who has not arrived there for some similar reason: they are crusaders against tyranny to a man. Which accounts for that shrill note of protest when the world suggests that it is both stupid and old-fashioned to suppress native populations: for when these same colonials are passionately engaged in fighting against a minimum wage of one pound a month, or advocating the sjambok [whip] as a means of guidance for the uncivilized, they are always, in the bottom of their hearts, quite convinced that this too is part of their character as rebels against the tyranny and conservatism of the mother country which they left as adventurers into a free world.
Mrs. Maynard was quite genuine in her cry that these young people must feel with her in helping the unfortunate half-castes; that they should not must kill her idea of herself as a fearless and progressive person.