Sunday, December 28, 2014

How the ‘Palestinian Cause’ abuses history

Today, I offer to you an essay from the website, frontpage mag. It’s dated December 26, 2014. I have edited it. No comment is necessary. The essay speaks for itself:

Palestinians Attempt to Co-Opt Jewish History

by Ari Lieberman


In December 2011, former US House Speaker and presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich, made the following observation regarding Palestinians:

“Remember there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire. And I think that we’ve had an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, and were historically part of the Arab community…”

That comment set off a firestorm of criticism. But it’s actually grounded in historical fact. As historian Benny Morris pointed out in his book, 1948: The First Arab-Israeli War, at the turn of the 20th century, most Arabs residing in the Land of Israel--or “Palestine”--considered themselves to be subjects of the Ottoman Empire. There were some local Arabs with vague nationalistic tendencies, but even this minority considered itself to be part of Greater Syria. There simply was no reference to an independent ‘Palestine’ for a distinct group of people calling themselves ‘Palestinians.’

Morris reminds us that the residents of Arab villages routinely failed to come to the assistance of nearby villages that were under attack by Jewish forces (during the 1948 war), thus reinforcing the view that Arab villagers felt little loyalty to all but clan and village. The notion of a ‘Palestinian people’ was an alien concept to the common Arab villager who was not bound by any sense of duty to assist a neighboring village.

Occasionally, Arabs themselves have acknowledged this fact. In a revealing 1977 interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw, PLO executive committee member Zahir Muhsein stated,

 The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct ‘Palestinian people’ to oppose Zionism”.

It was a rare moment of candor. But his was not an isolated admission. In a March 2012 televised address, Hamas Minister of the Interior and of National Security, Fathi Hammad, essentially validated Gingrich’s assessment of the ‘Palestinians’. While pleading for Egypt to assist Gaza, Hammad let loose with a series of embarrassing admissions that were certainly not intended for Western audiences.

“Every Palestinian…throughout Palestine can prove his Arab roots, whether from Saudi Arabia or Yemen or anywhere.” He went on to say that “personally, half my family is Egyptian, we are all like that…Brothers, half the Palestinians are Egyptian and the other half are Saudis…Who are the Palestinians?” he asks rhetorically. “We are Egyptian! We are Arab! We are Muslim!”

Absent from this speech was any recognition of an independent Palestinian identity; instead, his words acknowledge that there is no such identity.  

Lacking their own independent history, culture and identity, Palestinians have adopted a strategy of denying Jewish history. Arafat, for example, flat-out denied the fact that great Jewish Temples, built first by king Solomon and then by Herod, once stood where the Al-Aqsa Mosque currently stands. So ridiculous were his comments that they earned a swift rebuke from President Clinton. Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, has taken a cue from his boss; he also denies Jewish history.

Palestinian Arabs attempt to recruit Western “experts” and academics to their cause. In his book, The Fight for Jerusalem: Radical Islam, the West, and the Future of the Holy City, veteran Israeli diplomat Dore Gold chronicles the length to which Arab-Muslims and their Western supporters will go to deny the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel. For example, they argue that much of ancient Jewish history was myth, including the Kingdoms of David and Solomon.

From the Arab perspective, this tactic was a sound one. Sever the ancient historical Jewish connection to Israel and you severely undermine claims of indigenousness. But archaeology doesn’t lie. In 1993, archaeologists discovered a 9th century stele at Tel Dan in northern Israel that clearly referenced the “House of David.” Additional discoveries since then, including finds in Jerusalem, Tel Zayit and at the Fortress of Elah, have further eroded claims by deniers and naysayers.

Not content with denying Jewish history, anti-Israel Arabs have actually attempted to co-opt it by absurdly claiming that Moses and King Saul were Palestinian Muslims who conquered and claimed “Palestine” for the benefit of Palestinians. These risible comments were spewed forth by “Dr.” Omar Ja’ara, a lecturer at Al-Najah University in Nablus and broadcast on Palestinian Authority TV.

Of course, it doesn’t matter that Saul and Moses lived more than 1,700 years before Islam was born. Facts play absolutely no role in Palestinian academia. Empirical data and evidence is ignored. Precedence is given to upholding a false, pernicious and viscerally anti-Semitic narrative that either denies historical fact or co-opts it.

As PLO bigwig Zahir Muhsein candidly noted (above), the claim of a Palestinian identity is a falsehood whose aim is not designed to achieve liberation or advancement for a specific people but rather to subjugate, undermine and destroy another people. For those of you who still remain unconvinced, consider the recent comments made by a prominent sheikh during a religious sermon at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. During his speech, the sheikh never uttered a single desire or longing for Palestinian statehood. Instead, he expressed the desire to join with ISIS in its quest for an Islamic caliphate.  His audience chanted, “amen!”

Few in the West face up to this malevolent reality.

For the full text of this essay, visit frontpage mag.

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