“Palestine” Revealed

 

[This is the third and final instalment of a series of articles showing the myth, false historicity and deception of a group of migratory Arabs calling themselves “palestinians”]

It is variously claimed by the Arab Moslem Palestinians (Erekat, 2014) that their indigeneity and culture and history in the currently occupied territories goes back thousands of years to the times of the Canaanites (over 5,500 years allegedly) and that they thus precede the arrival of the Abraham and the Hebrews.

Indeed, in their published paper  “The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict” (2001), Jews for Justice in the Middle East states that “Between 3000 and 1100 B.C., Canaanite civilization covered what is today Israel, the West Bank, Lebanon and much of Syria and Jordan…Those who remained in the Jerusalem hills after the Romans expelled the Jews [in the second century A.D.] were a potpourri of farmers and vineyard growers, pagans and converts to Christianity, descendants of the Arabs, Persians, Samaritans, Greeks and old Canaanite tribes” But no Jews, it would appear.

Illene Beatty in her paper (1957) “Arab and Jew in the Land of Canaan” states that “The Arab invaders (of Canaan) of the 7th century A.D. made Moslem converts of the natives, settled down as residents, and intermarried with them, with the result that all are now so completely Arabized that we cannot tell where the Canaanites leave off and the Arabs begin.”  Again, as this historiography goes, the area apparently remained devoid of Jews as inhabitants of the Levant.

But then Beatty goes on to write that the Jews under King David conquered Canaan in 1000 BC until they were “wiped out” in 586 BC thus ending 414 years of Jewish rule in the area. This means that, Jews lived, worshipped and died in the area of Judea and Samaria including Jerusalem (David’s City…) some 1300 years before Arabs and Islam appeared in the Levant.

The Jewish Bulletin (1998) quotes Eli Shuikrun and Ronny Reich saying that “Recent archeological (sic) digs have provided evidence that Jerusalem was a big and fortified city already in 1800 BCE…Findings show that the sophisticated water system heretofor (sic)  attributed to the conquering Israelites pre-dated them by eight centuries and was even more sophisticated than imagined…Dr. Ronny Reich, who directed the excavation along with Eli Shuikrun, said the entire system was built as a single complex by Canaanites in the Middle Bronze Period, around 1800 BCE.” However, this time, it may be noted that while Jews are mentioned in antiquity, no mention is made of Palestinians, Arabs or Moslems.

Others like Henry Cattan (1984), a Palestinian Christian jurist and writer born in Jerusalem says: ‘The Palestinians are the original and continuous in- habitants of Palestine from time immemorial.”

And still others the PA President Mahmoud Abbas earnestly claim (2016): “Our narrative says that we were in this land since before Abraham. I am not saying it. The Bible says it. The Bible says, in these words, that the Palestinians existed before Abraham.”

For the novice reader in the Arab-Israeli conflict, such discrepancies in nationalistic historiographies may seem a little confusing. This paper will show that this does not have to be so and that the “history” of the “indigenous” “Palestinians” denied an “historic homeland” through Zionist machinations, started on May, 1964 at the Arab League Summit in Cairo. In other words, the “palestinian” conflict is an extension of the Arab-Israeli hostilities 1948-2019 (though even that is now being turned on its head).

I will start off by stating that

  1. The “Palestinian” Arab people, nation or culture have never existed.
  2. Islam arrived in the Levant 2,500 years after the establishment of Judaism and 750 years after the birth and spread of Christianity.
  3. Arabs arrived in the Levant some 2,500 years after the establishment of monotheistic Judaism and continuous Jewish presence in same and that ALL Arab commentators acknowledge the conquest of the Levant circa 700 CE….
  4. By the time Jewish Kingdoms were established in Judea, no Canaanites, Hittites, Moabites, Amorites, Horites or Jebusites existed. Even the genuine remnants of the Canaanites (Phoenicians of Gaza, Tzur and Sidon (last two-named now in Lebanon) had long before disappeared through intermarriage with the Hebrews.

The Canaanites are historically acknowledged as the first inhabitants of the Land of Israel, before the Hebrews settled there. Indeed, the correct geographic name of the Land of Israel is Canaan, not “Palestine” (a Roman invention, as we will see later). They were composed by the different tribes mentioned above, and who could be distinguished in two main groups: the Northern or Coastland Canaanites and the Southern or Mountain Canaanites.

The Northern Canaanites, better known in history by their Greek name Phoenicians, settled along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea from what is modern port of Alexandria to the proximities of the Gulf of Haifa. The Phoenicians called themselves “Kana’ana” or “Kinachnu”. Their language was adopted from their Semitic neighbours, the Arameans, and was closely related to Hebrew (not to Arabic!). Phoenicians and Israelites did not need interpreters to understand each other. During the Islamic invasions and occupations of what became known as the Middle East, they were Arabized, yet, never completely assimilated, and their present-day state is Lebanon. It is not coincidental that generational Lebanese look nothing like their co-religionists in Syria, Jordan and Egypt. And it is for this reason today that Lebanon today is the only one of Israel’s immediate Muslim neighbours not known as the Islamic Republic of…

The “palestinians” are not Lebanese. Therefore they are not Phoenicians (Northern Canaanites).

The Southern Canaanites lived in the mountain region from the Golan southwards, on both sides of the Yarden (River Jordan) and along the Mediterranean coast from the Gulf of Haifa to Yafo; the Canaan of Jewish and Christian biblical note. Through intermarriage and war, by the time of King David, the Canaanites had been absorbed into the Israelite nation. After all, when the Assyrians overran the Kingdom of Israel, they did not leave any Canaanite aside, as they had all become Israelites by that time. The same happened when the Babylonians overthrew the Kingdom of Judah.

For this documented (verifiable) reason, the only people that can trace a lineage back to the ancient Canaanites are the Jews, not the “palestinians” per Erekat (2014). The Canaanites simply did not exist as a definable ethnic group any longer after the 8th century BCE. If the “Palestinians” were indeed descendants of the ancient Philistines, would they not be speaking Hebrew, or, indeed, clamouring for a return of Lebanon as their rightful national homeland?

The name “Palestinian” is a modern political creation for a group of Arabs wedded to the idea of a Jew-free Middle East using various guises such as indigeneity, history and colonial theory. In the 20th century, a main protagonist of this colonial theory was the post-colonialist Edward Said. But even he could not remain consistent in his life’s work of removing Jews from the Middle East. In his seminal 1979 book “The Question of Palestine” he states “Palestine became a predominantly Arab and Islamic country by the end of the seventh century (emphasis mine). Almost immediately thereafter its boundaries and its characteristics — including its name in Arabic, Filastin — became known to the entire Islamic world…for its religious significance…”

This is curious on two counts: Firstly, it “disappears” Jewish presence, religion and indigeneity during the millennia which preceded the Arab Moslem invasion, and it ignores the fact that after 1071 CE when Jerusalem and surrounds were captured by the Seljuk Turks, it never again came under Arab rule until after the invasion of Jordan into Judea in 1948.  The Turks were not Arabs and the term “Islamic” was a word which developed out of Arab nationalism AFTER the disintegration of the Seljuk Ottoman Turkish lands post 1918. Further, there is no record of any country called Palestine until such was created by the British in San Remo in 1925 for the express purpose of actualising their 1917 pledge to create a Homeland for the Jewish People (see my previous blog for details of this).

And secondly, in his anti-Jewish zeal, in 1979 Said goes so far as to state that Palestine became known to the “entire Islamic world” for its religious significance after the Arab Moslem invasion of the Levant. This is a curious statement because the following quotes (and dates) will amplify that this was definitively not the case either before OR after the Arab Conquests:

  1. Qur’an 17:104 – “And thereafter We [Allah] said to the Children of Israel: ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land. And when the last warning will come to pass, we will gather you together in a mingled crowd.’”
  2. Jerusalem and the Temple Mount are considered the THIRD holiest Moslem site as opposed to the Holy of Holies by the Jews.
  • In 985 c.e. the Arab writer Muqaddasi complained that in Jerusalem the large majority of the population were Jewish, and said that “the mosque is empty of worshippers…” .
  1. In 1377, Ibn Khaldun, one of the most creditable Arab historians, wrote: “Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel extended over 1400 years… It was the Jews who implanted the culture and customs of the permanent settlement”.
  2. Comments by Christian travellers/pilgrims concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s: “The Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it”.
  3. The chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated: “The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 c.e. hardly lasted, as such, 22 years”.
  • Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937: “There is no such country as Palestine. ‘Palestine’ is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. ‘Palestine’ is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it”.
  • Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946: “There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not”.
  1. Representantive of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956: “It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria”.
  2. Zuhair Muhsin, military commander of the PLO and member of the PLO Executive Council (1977?): “There are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. We are all part of one nation. It is only for political reasons that we carefully underline our Palestinian identity… yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity serves only tactical purposes. The founding of a Palestinian state is a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel”.
  3. Syrian dictator Hafez Assad to the PLO leader Yasser Arafat (date undetermined): “There is no such thing as a Palestinian people, there is no Palestinian entity, there is only Syria. You are an integral part of the Syrian people, Palestine is an integral part of Syria. Therefore it is we, the Syrian authorities, who are the true representatives of the Palestinian people”.

But, WHEN did the world first hear of a “palestinian” people, a people fabled in antiquity going back to pre-Canaanite times?

The answer is that the world first heard of the term “Palestinians” in May 1964 at the first Arab League Summit in Cairo. The League had convened to develop ways to destroy the State of Israel and the formation of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation in May 1964 was the tool and umbrella organisation used to organise disparate Arab paramilitary groups in and around the new state of Israel for this purpose.

Initially, the PLO’s legislature, the PNC, did little to further the “interests” of the new nation of “palestinians”. These “interests” started with the elimination of the State of Israel per Article 1 of their Charter.

Specifically, Article 1 stated that Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people; it is an indivisible part of the Arab homeland, and the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation.

It is easy to see here that even in 1964, the Arabs could not decide if they were interested in strengthening pan-Arabism (Arab homeland), a Palestinian nation-state or an extension of a wider Arab ummah. What was never in doubt, though, was the intent of the newly formed “palestinian” (read Levantine Arabs) “people” to destroy the State of Israel.

Article 21 of that same covenant of the newly formed PLO was even clearer: “The Arab Palestinian people, expressing themselves by the armed Palestinian revolution, reject all solutions which are substitutes for the total liberation of Palestine and reject all proposals.”

And in case the reader nurtured any lingering doubts that palestinianism was anything other than  the new tool on the block to avenge a stunning 1948 Arab defeat at the hand of a tiny Jewish enclave, the organisation through which Arafat rose to prominence was named the Palestine Liberation Organisation. The title of the organization included the word “Palestine” rather than “Palestinian”, since it was seen as a pan-Arab organization dedicated to the liberation of Palestine, rather than a Palestinian movement, and its leadership was appointed by the Arab League.

In the intervening years, the PLO was replaced by the Palestinian Authority (full name Palestinian National Authority; a name change of significance….), and the methods used to end the existence of the Jewish state morphed from mostly up-front physical violence to political and economic substitutes; all unsuccessful.

In the 54 years since “Palestinians” entered our terminology, very few institutions of state were ever enacted. “Palestinians” in the east of Israel would gladly rip the hearts out of those in the west of the country. The “palestinian” President hasn’t held elections for over fourteen years. And Sunni Arab and  Moslem support from formerly major players in the 1964 Cairo Conference which created the PLO have moved away from a feckless group of mostly migratory Arab pawns to the east and west of Israel who are anything but indigenous, ancient, a nation or a people.

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The Legality of the existence of the State of Israel -then, as now

Ninety nine years ago this April, on April 24 1920, at San Remo, the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers, consisting of Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan, agreed to approve the Balfour Declaration of Nov 2, 1917.

The San Remo Conference thus changed what had been only a statement of British intent, into a binding legal document.

This was accomplished by significantly changing the wording of Britain’s pledge from using their “best endeavours” to create a Jewish homeland in Palestine, to one which made Britain legally responsible for “putting into effect” this objective.

And it was solely for this objective that the Mandate was conferred on the land aggrandizement of the shattered Ottoman Empire.

In other words, post San Remo, the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine meant two important things:

  1. Creation of the state and country of Palestine which till that time officially did not exist in international law and that
  2. Palestine in its entirety was reserved exclusively for the self-determination of the Jewish people.

The two new entities were synonymous since they were both created at the same time and for the same exact purpose. That is to say that if it was not that the Jewish National Home was to be housed in Palestine, and that Palestine was to be the Jewish National Home, the country of Palestine would never have been created…..

It is important to remember that the San Remo creation of the Mandated state and country of Palestine was not created to satisfy the national aspirations of Arabs in any part of the country, either east or west of the Jordan. Those aspirations were covered in a different paragraph of the San Remo resolution where it was decided that those aspirations would be fulfilled by  the adjoining territories of Mesopotamia (later Iraq) and Syria as well as the existing state of the Hejaz in the Arabian Peninsula.

The resolution was approved, in binding international law, by the subsequent Treaty of Sevres later that same year and by 52 nations in 1922, in addition to those nations which subsequently joined the League of Nations.

Equally importantly, the San Remo Resolution officially terminated and replaced the secret Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 where Britain and, particularly France, which bargained hard for, but ultimately failed to get, Palestine’s inclusion in Syria.

For the record, the Sykes-Picot agreement envisaged a confederation of Arab territories which would include Syria, Mesopotamia (now Iraq) and Transjordan.

What is of note here is that Palestine was never considered in that confederation of Arab states and it is this that makes the whole current-day concept of Judean Arabs and their enmity over 70 years nothing more than practised ethnic supremacism: the myth of “return” is merely a political ploy to remove a Jewish state seen as a blemish to ME Arab homogeneity.

The Jewish State of Israel exists legally both under the legal outcome of the actualisation of the Balfour Declaration as realised at the San Remo Conference as well as Article 22 of the League of Nations Covenant which transferred de jure sovereignty (legal title) over Palestine to the Jewish People by the Supreme Council of the Allied Powers who acted as the disposing agent by international law, by virtue of their military victory over Austria-Hungary, Germany and the Ottoman Empire.

And, of course, it should not be forgotten that that very same Supreme Council of the Allied Powers also created Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, thus negating any and all Arab complaints, then or since, in light of the huge territorial benefits in recognition of Arab nationalism provide them by that same Council.

The 100 year Arab-Israeli conflict will be seen as by future generations as a negative example of Arab ethno religious supremacism and bigotry towards a nation, country and people who had both moral, cultural and legal right for the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in its spiritual heartland.

“Palestinian” Land, State, Nation and Country – the myth of “return”

Two days ago, I was banned for 7 days on Twitter in response to a venomous Arab Muslim tweet saying Israel had no place in the Middle East.

In response, I tweeted that there had never ever been either an Arab OR Muslim state nation or country called “palestine”. I added that there is no “state” of “palestine” now and, with Iran’s attempts at Levantine hegemony, there would, for Israel’s continuing security, most likely now never be an independent “palestinian state”, but, rather some sort of Arab Palestinian (sic) autonomous mandate. The reason given me for my suspension was that I had “hatefully targeted a specific group of people”.

Slightly non-plussed, I went back to my research to see how wrong I might have been in the eyes of the Twitter censors.

At the risk of boring those who know, the Romans renamed the entire region Syria-Palestina (named for the Philistines and Assyrians) after they destroyed the Second Temple so as to erase its Jewish roots. This was later shortened to Palestina and it eventually became known as Palestine. There was never any connection to the yet -to-happen Arab colonisation of the Levant.

Today, after the Jordanian land-grab and colonisation of 1948, “Palestinians” call Judea and Samaria (in Hebrew, Yehuda and Shomron) the West Bank. However, Jews derive the very name of their religion and peoplehood from the name Yehuda, the fourth son of Jacob whose tribe settled in that region. Yet, these ancient names were not exclusively used by Jews. In fact, the U.N. itself, in General Assembly Resolution 181 (1947), referred to the region as Judea and Samaria, as do all maps published before 1948.

Additionally, west of the Jordan River, 277 villages and sites- almost two-thirds of all sites-  had names that were similar to or the same as Jewish villages on the same sites during Second Temple times.

Hebron (Arabic: al-Khalil; Hebrew: Chevron, which means friend), located in the Judean Mountains, is the second largest city under Palestinian Arab control after Gaza and it is one of the four Jewish holy cities (the others: Jerusalem, Sefat, Tiberius). Most significantly it contains Judaism’s second most holy site, the Cave of Machpelah, purchased by Abraham. It is here that Judaism’s Patriarchs and three of its Matriarchs are buried. (cf. Jewish Virtuallibrary.org). Another large Palestinian Arab city, Nablus, whose  Hebrew name is Shechem, is actually derived from the Greek, Neopolis. 

Further, many of the Arab villages and towns in Judea/Samaria have names that are not only not Arabic, but also rarely appear in other Arab lands. Among such names are Kafr Yasif, Kafr Kana, Kafr yatta, Kafr Manda, Kaft Samia and others.

As an interesting aside,most Arab countries bordering Israel derive their names from the Hebrew Bible.  Lebanon: Levanon, means white in Hebrew, referring to the snow cover of the surrounding mountains. Syria: Siryon, in the Bible, is the alternate name for Mount Hermon. Jordan/River Jordan (Yarden in Hebrew) takes its name from the Israelite tribe of Dan, and means “descends from Dan.”  Gaza, Azza in Hebrew, is mentioned in Genesis and the Book of Judges with the Samson narrative.

As one can see thus far, there is no connection between what is today Judea, Samaria and Gaza to anything remotely connected to an “ancient indigenous” “palestinian” Arab OR Muslim history or culture.

As a clarification, my own research is not ‘post-modern’ in that I  do not believe that all accounts of the Israeli- “Palestinian” conflict should be seen as equally valid. There is a difference between those who make statements without apparent recourse to evidence and others who spend much time reading and checking their conclusions.

In searching for evidence of the Arab OR Muslim state, nation or country of “palestine” at ANY time prior to 1948, I come to Sachar’s 1977 study where he places the emergence of contemporary Zionist thought to the European Rabbis, Judah Alkalai and Zvi Hirsh Kalischer, who from the 1830s onwards stressed the need for Jews to return to the Holy Land as a necessary prelude to the Redemption and the coming of the Messiah. Sachar argues that such messianic exhortations did not immediately or widely take root among European Jews. However, he suggests that by the 1870s societies generally known as Chovevei Zion (‘Lovers of Zion’) had formed across Russia, which viewed Palestine as a site for national renewal
and a refuge from anti-Semitism. So much for the messianic aspect of the Aliyah.

But what of the Arab connection to Syria-Palestina? What of the Arab “palestinians” who had allegedly been the titled landholders of what is today Israel before the State’s declaration of independence? Berry and Philo (2006) state that the official Ottoman census of 1878 had put the total at 15,011 living among a combined
Muslim/Christian population of 447,454. Nowhere in the all-encompassing Ottoman Tanzimat of 1858 is the term “palestinian” mentioned. With the consent of Constantinople (for large sums of money…), Jewish settlements were built on land that was purchased from absentee effendi landlords. Often the locals who had tended the land were evicted with the help of Turkish police. Thus, the non-titled migrant Muslim and Christian Arabs of the Levant were themselves keen to throw off Ottoman rule in order to keep making a living.

To do this they then made a series of deals with the British to overthrow Constantinople and were rewarded with the creation of Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq; Muslim “nation” states all. The British also partially fulfilled their promise per San Remo and Balfour to create a Jewish homeland but then cut and ran when the promises they had made to everybody for the benefit of their own “spheres of influence” became impossible to reconcile. As well, the British Mandatory powers added to this confusion with their Article 46 of the 1922 order-in-council which in effect championed the benefits of bringing landed assets into a market economy while at the same time asserting rights of the state to as much agricultural land as it thought it could claim—redefining Ottoman legal categories when possible, deferring to local arrangements when necessary. This was further compounded by British definitions and locations of mulk and miri lands and only added to the general discomfiture.

By that same token, per the authenticity and/or validity of “palestinian” “land” claims, most of the mulk land was confined to urban sites, mostly buildings and gardens. It constituted a negligible fraction of the agricul­tural land in mandated Palestine. The owner of miri land did not hold the land by title deed but rather
by usufruct, which gave him the legal right to the land and to the profits
from it. He could not mortgage or sell it without the consent of the
state, which was obtained from the British Land Office. The Ottomans themselves kept a very tight reign on the administration of miri land providing as it did, valuable tax revenue for the central government in Constantinople. 

By 1918, after the defeat and breakup of the occupying Ottoman Turks, the economic outlook for the Levant’s rural Arab population, estimated at 440,000, was very uncertain. The cultivated land was not very fertile or sufficiently irrigated.  A severe
shortage of livestock had resulted from a prewar epidemic and Turkish
requisitioning of camels and sheep from 1914 to 1917. Conscription had depleted the agricultural labor supply. The massive destruction of olive trees by the retreating Turkish forces compounded the agricultural population’s woes. And unclear validity or absence of land titles hindered the granting of loans, particularly in the administrative turmoil created by World War I.

The severely damaged agricultural sector and diminished yields had resulted in a decrease in rental incomes and therefore less capital accumulation. No longer able to use the Ottoman modalities of operations, numerous Arabs in Mandate Palestine chose to sell land to individual Jews and immigrant Zionists as a convenient alternative for ready cash.

But, all said and done, even as late as end 1947, still nobody had yet heard of an Arab “palestinian” people whose state land had been “occupied” in order to create a Jewish state. In fact, nobody had ever heard of the “palestinian” people, their “land, nation, state or country” till 1964.

Nation building often involves the invention of foundation myths although these normally require a certain relationship to historic facts (Bukay, 2012). This is demonstrably not so in the case of the “ancient and indigenous” “palestinian” people. The Arabs of Judea and Samaria and Gaza calling themselves “palestinians” used  a different tack: stealing the enemy’s heritage, history, and values, and denying its legitimacy as a people and a state. Their objectives remain to disqualify Israel’s historical standing and to inherit its belongings by delegitimising and even dehumanizing its national identity and personality.

These self-same “palestinians” suffer no intellectual dissonance even when gainsayed by the Quran. The Qur’an declares that the Jews are the chosen people, exalted among the nations of the world. It clearly declares the Jews (Bnei Israel) as the only owners of the Land of Israel, which is al-Ard al-Muqaddasah; al-Ard al-Mubarakah; Ard Bani Israil (the sacred land; the blessed land; the land of the People of Israel), and they are not allowed to leave it, for otherwise they will be punished: “It is the promise of God, and God does not go back on his promise.” The Qur’an goes on to acknowledge that the Jewish first and second kingdoms existed but states that they were punished by God.  Nor do the ideological Muslim “palestinians” have any trouble reconciling the Quran’s description of the destroyed Temple of the Israelites;  the existence of which, though acknowledged by officials of the Islamic religious endowment authority (waqf ) in their publicity materials from the 1920s and 1950s, with the fact that Jerusalem and Judea are Arab Muslim heart land going back (in some revisions) 7,000 years…..

In brief, the area of Roman-named Palestine never became an independent state. In the 7th century, Muslim armies conquered it, precipitating battles with Christian crusaders for the “Holy Land”. In modern times, the province of Palestine
passed from the Ottoman Turks to the British who gifted 80% of British Mandate Palestine to the Muslim Hashemite clan from Saudi Arabia for helping defeat the Muslim Ottomans.

The “palestinians” have pulled a swiftie in calling ancient Judea “Palestine” and hide behind the reference to the “Roman designation” for the province as a cynical ploy to fudge the history of the Aegean Philistines 3200 years ago.

The “palestinians” have declared a state twice (in 1948 and 1988; in itself a giveaway for the conflicted and chaotic antisemitic goals of their leaders…), but on neither occasion to much institutional effect.

“Palestinian” Arabs, as opposed to Arabic-speaking residents, have not been in the area west of the Jordan River neither from the Islamic occupation, nor the Ottoman Empire, or even from British rule since 1917.

No Palestinian state has ever existed, and so, no “palestinian people” has ever been “robbed” of their land. Importantly, there is no Palestinian culture distinct from that of surrounding Arab ones; and there has never been a land known as Palestine governed by “palestinians” at any time in history.

For these reasons, the migrant Arabs who now call themselves “palestinians” have been driven to fabricate a past by denying and expropriating that of Jews and Israel.

And so, I re-iterate my tweet of two days ago: No Arab OR Muslim state, nation or country called “palestine” has ever existed. It STILL doesn’t. And with the advent of hegemonic Iranian initiatives in the Middle East, is now no longer likely to ever be created save for an autonomous and territorially contiguous Palestinian entity allied perhaps to Jordan. Those who perpetuate the lie of stolen “palestinian” land will die bitter.

There!

Fortunately, I cannot be suspended from my own blog.

Yet.

 

 

Thoughts and Consequences

A stream-of-consciousness article on things Jewish and concerted arab recidivism.

The Jewish connection to the modern State of Israel (Eretz Israel) is not a modern phenomenon, but an idea that has existed for as long as there has been a Jewish people. Indeed, the concept of Zion (Israel) is one of the pivotal and central ideas of Judaism.

But where did these Jews come from? Weaving between biblical and archaeological sources, the biblical sources from genesis to the Flood have nothing to do with Israel. In those first 10 chapters of Beresheit (Genesis), God is disappointed with man and wipes out everybody save Noah and the Ark and starts all over again. This time, God focuses on a single family – the family of Abraham, the first Hebrew (Everim – my article on this topic may be found in this blog’s archives). The rest of the Book of Genesis is the story of this family—first Abraham and his wife Sarah, their son Isaac and his wife Rebecca, their son Jacob and his wives Rachel and Leah and, finally, Jacob’s 12 sons, who become the 12 tribes of Israel.

it was in Egypt that the Everim of Ur became numerous enough to become a people. Enslaved by a Pharaoh, they were eventually led to freedom by Moses on a 40 year journey to a promised land. En route, they experience a theophany in the Sinai (Horeb) where they enter into a covenant with God.

Upon arriving at the promised land, the Books of Joshua and Judges provide differing accounts of how the Everim took possession of the land. While the Book of Joshua talks a lightning 5 year military campaign after which the Israelite tribes were allocated lands west of the Jordan, the Book of Judges has a more sober rendition of the take-over. In that version, the new arrivals were allotted lands west of the Jordan and it was only after that that attempts to possess the land by conquest by individual tribes or groups of related tribes.

Nor was the entire land subdued. In Judges 1 as a matter of fact is a list of 20 cities whose people were not driven out by the newcomers. These cities included Jerusalem, Gezer, Megiddo, Taanach, Beth-Shean and Beth Shemesh (Judges 1:21, 27–33).

On balance most conservative historians would agree that the account in Judges does preserve a tradition that the land of Canaan was possessed over a long period of time.

However, the hitherto loose Israelite tribal confederacy proved inadequate to defend itself against other more powerful threats such as those of the sea-faring Aegeans, the Philistines. Some more organized structure was needed, so the people asked for a king. And they got a king. Saul was appointed, but his reign was ultimately a failure. He was replaced by Israel’s most glorious king, David, and with his reign, Israel truly became a nation with a distinct religious and cultural identity west of the Jordan.

So, looking at archaeological sources and materials to back up the biblical story, archaeologists confirm the arrival of the Hebrews (the Everim) around 1500 BCE, and date David’s ascenscion to kingship at around 1000 BCE. words.

In other words, most archaeologists would agree that archaeological evidence for the emergence of Israel in Canaan, was around 1200 B.C.E. However, for further corroboration, I would add that the Merneptah Stele from 1200 BCE archives the existence (and defeat; in 1212!) of an important people called Israel living in Canaan as early as the 13th century B.C.E……

Thus, even in this agonisingly brief overview, it is clear that Israelites/Hebrews lived and worshipped as Jews under sovereign rulers starting with Saul. This would then accord these people who lived west of the Jordan, the mantle of indigeneity that recidivists today would gainsay for the basest of reasons: antisemitism.

Chief among the modern naysayers and delegitimisers of Jewish indigeneity in Eretz Israel millennia before the Arab invasions, occupation and colonisation of what is today popularly called the Southern Levant, was Edward Said. Said was an Arab born in Mandate times Palestine in Jerusalem. His claim to fame was his book “Orientalism” where, in his opinion, it was the West’s patronizing attitudes to “the East”— meaning North Africa, Eastern, Middle Eastern and Asian societies – that were the source of all ills: social, economic and political.

Born of an Arab mother and an American father, Said was educated in exclusive (Western!) schools in Egypt and America. He was a PLO supporter and a personal friend of Yasser Arafat. As such, Said claimed that all Middle Eastern historians and experts who did not understand and accept his Orientalism were bigoted, prejudiced, anti-Islam and anti-Arab because they were European (or American) with a Judaeo-Christian frame of reference.

Further, Said “explained” that Israel and Zionism fitted into his new overarching view of Middle East Studies when, in the late 19th century, naked, direct imperialism became embarrassing for the Western powers. According to him, they therefore conspired to create a phony “nationalist movement” ostensibly representing an “indigenous people” who were interested in re-establishing their homeland in the heart of the Arab and Islamic world. That movement, he wrote, was Zionism.

Not for Said, millennia of Jewish history in Jewish Judea and Samaria 1,900 years before the advent of Islam. For him, the establishment of the world’s first monotheistic religion from which Christianity and Islam were derived, were of little consequence in his quest for the greater glory of Arab Islam. And Said was never bothered intellectually that those very same (Western!) Islamophobic, pro-Zionst British colonialists and other European powers concomitantly created four more Muslim states in addition to the Jewish State of Israel: Syria, Jordan Iraq and Lebanon.

In retrospect already (Said died in 2003), Edward Said caused long term damage to the ability of academics and interested others to speak the truth when it came to the Arab Muslim world.

His wacky legacy, now continued by Rashid Khalidi, a “Palestinian” born in New York, did not permit talking about the region’s residents as anything but victims. Specifically, the Arab world, and the “Palestinians” in particular, were treated like juveniles free of responsibility for their actions. Nowhere is this more apparent today than in the extraordinary behaviour of both Arafat and Abbas with the end result that, 70 years after Israeli independence, there is still no additional Muslim Arab state west of the Jordan.

And, with the entry of a hegemonic Iran added to an already volatile mix with constantly shifting goal posts, it is highly unlikely that a sovereign (antagonistic) Muslim Arab entity will now ever exist, a mere stone’s throw (sorry…) from Jerusalem.

Particularly after the oil crisis of the 1960s and the hitherto unprecedented flexing of Arab muscle on the world economic stage, Europe was happy to buy into the false narrative of the dispossessed “indigenous” “Palestinian”, in exchange for oil and freedom from terror attacks.

Time and again, even a cursory perusal of the literature will show up the claim of “Palestinian” indigeneity and dispossession as a cynical narrative aimed at shutting Jews out of their cultural and spiritual heartland.

That will not now, can not now, happen.

I could go on for ages on various tangents arising out of the above, and the ludicrous and spiteful nature of Arab antipathy towards the indigenous people of the Southern Levant, but that’s about it for now for this post.

כל טוב.

Early Islam as reform Judaism

Early Islam as reform Judaism

In which the case is made for early Islam as Arab me-too desire for a faith to counterbalance the religion of the Jews and Christians in the Middle East. And where the case is presented that the very Europeanisation of the west contributed to the very visceral Muslim hatred of Jews that is today endemic across Europe.

Jews and Muslims do not get along. This is irrespective of whether they are Sunni Muslims, such as the Ikhwān al-Muslimūn, and Hamas, or whether they are Shīa Muslims, as in the case of Khomeinism or Hezbollāh or shades in between such as the Hizb ut-Tahrīr in Europe.

This is true not only of Islamists, but other members of the broader Muslim population as well. To whit: Malaysian prime minister, Mahathir Mohammed, said in a speech before the Organization of the Islamic Conference in October 2004 that “today the Jews rule the world by proxy” (an allusion to the libel contained in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion).

Despite continuing Muslim protestations to the contrary, historic relations between the Jews and the Muslims have never been idyllic. While many would like to describe the relationship between Jews and Arabs as symbiotic, it is as well to differentiate between symbiosis as parasitic and symbiosis as convenience.

In the case of early Islam, it was arguably a case of a parasitic faith developed to assuage the desire for a religious anchor for idol-worshipping Hejazi Arabs which slowly developed into a symbiotic one once the major wars of Muslim Arab conquest of the Levant, North Africa and the Middle East were completed. Incontestably, Quranic revelations and nomenclature revealed a significant and specifically Jewish component among the development of that faith, and include religious ideas, ethical notions, and biblical lore.

Of the many parallels between Judaism and Islam, it is worth noting that the much extra-Quranic myths and legends which comprise an important part of Muslim critical examination of their scripture is actually called isrā’īliyyāt, or Israelite narratives, and some of the earliest transmitters such as Abd Allah ben Salām and Ka῾b al-Ahbar were converts from Judaism.

Many of the stories in the Quran come from the Jewish Talmud, the Midrash, as do many apocryphal works, and they borrow from early Christianity as well.

The much-favoured Muslim denigration of Jews as descendants  of apes/monkeys has its origins in Suras 2:65; 7:163-166 in the apochryphal story of an entire village of people who were turned into apes because they broke the sabbath by fishing was a popular legend in Muhammad’s day: “And well ye knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath: We said to them: “Be ye apes, despised and rejected.”

Additionally, other (Muslim-contested) narratives posit that Mohammad used pre-Islamic literature such as the 7 poems of Imr al Kais, a Hejazi Bedouin Arab, in his composition of Suras 21:96; 29:31,46; 37:59; 54:1, and 93:1.

Because of their professed love of poetry, pre-Islamic pagan Arabs followed the custom of hanging poems on the Kab’aa and it is parts of these 7 poems that Mohammad incorporated into the Suras.

But early Islam (reform Judaism) copied copiously from established Judaism.

The source of Sura 27:17-44 is the Second Tirgum of Esther. The tale of Abraham being delivered from Nimrod’s fire came from the Midrash Rabbah (see Suras 21:51-71; 29:16, 17; 37:97,98), and the seven heavens and hells described in the Quran came from the Zohar and the Khagigah.

This cultural appropriation aside, early Islam’s receptivity to Jewish stories of the founding fathers of Judaism is further reflected in the oft-quoted Hadīth of Muslim traditionalists: Hadittu῾an Bani israel wa-lā Haraj (Relate traditions from the Israelites without any qualms).

The use of the Arabic word “jinns” (Anglicised to “genies) takes it core from the Jewish “Shedim” who could be both good and bad. Muhammad also copied liberally from the Sebaeans (Sheba- ians), an ethnic group living in the southern part of Arabia, along the Red Sea, the capital of which was Mariaba, or Mareb. This region of Mareb was also called Yemen.From the Sebaeans Muhammad incorporated the ritual of praying five times a day. The requirement to pray facing Mecca in the Hejaz and not Jerusalem as was customary early on only came about after the Hejazi Jews rejected Muhammad’s claim that he was the Messiah.

But together with much cultural and religious appropriation from Judaism, Muhammad’s use of the term Allah came from pagan Arab sources and thus was not a new term for his followers to incorporate.

Pre-Islamic pagan Arabs worshipped 360 deities including the sun, the moon and the stars. The Kabah was a temple to the deities including their moon god. This particular god went by several Arabic names including Hubul, Ilumquh, Al-ilah and it was the moon god al-ilah that devolved into the more familiar nomenclature Allah we know today and the Kabah remains till this day the “House of Allah”.

On a side note, the Qur’an at one point told Muslims to worship al-Lat, al-Uzza and Manat, the so-called “daughters of Allah”, the top deity in the Kabah. Muhammad said these “daughters of Allah”, themselves deities in the pagan Kabah, were revealed to him by the angel Gabriel (again) in Surah 53:19-20. Muhammud now said these deities were worthy as worship as daughters of the one tru al-ilah and the ploy worked. But this was after the Meccans proved hostile to his proselytising solely for al-ilah as the moon-god. However, once the Meccans agreed that there was no other “god’ but al-ilah, Muhammad stated that the was visited by Gabriel for a third time. This time Gabriel chastised him for implying that al-ilah could possibly have girls and not boys as offdpring and that Surah 52;19-20 were the words of Shaitan (Satan) and not al-ilah.

It is for this reason that those two verses are referred to as the Satanic verses……..

But, I have strayed. A little.

Muhammad’s Islam (as reform Judaism) followed the same structural model as Judaism including the shared, strict, uncompromising monotheism of Judaism which rejects all iconography of Deity; the concept of Divine Law that is partially revealed in a written scripture and partially oral in form as in Judaism, the concept of that monotheistic faith as a path to follow (Jewish halakha versus the Muslim sharī῾a); the Jewish notions of purity and impurity (Jewish  tahara, tum’a versus the Muslim tahāra, najas); the use of houses of study of religious texts (Jewish batei midrash versus the Muslim majlis; the doctrines of religiously permissible and non-permissible
food (Jewish kashrut, taref versus the Muslim hallāl, harām); and the physical marker of circumcision.

However, despite this cultural and religious debt, and despite the fact that most of world Jewry lived in the Muslim world (dar al- Islam), and despite the fact that the Caliphate’s Jews changed from speaking the broadly used Aramaic of the region for religious and secular purposes to Arabic as the region’s new lingua franca, Muslim refusal to accept Jews as equals only deteriorated, and particularly after the European Enlightenment. Increasingly, Islam’s Jews lived in ghettoes such as the Harat ha Yehud or the Mellah.

However, where Muslims viewed the Enlightenment with suspicion and hostility, the Jews embraced it fully and were quick to avail themselves of the educational and economic opportunities afforded them. In so doing though, many aspects of modernity in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, being Western imports, led to worsening Jewish- Muslim relations as increasing globalisation ironically led to the very tropes and themes of both European medieval and modern anti-Semitism now found among the principal tenets of virtually all contemporary Muslim societies.

Crippled by Caution

On Wednesday 14/11/2018, Nahum Barnea published an opinion piece in Yediot Ahronot part of which read thus:

“On Tuesday, Shaked and her colleagues chanced upon a golden opportunity: Each Cabinet member promoted his/her own deadly, perfect solution for the escalation on the southern front. And then—silence. None of them demanded to put their marvellous plans to a vote.”

This is not mere chance. Europe has succeeded in crippling Israeli Knesset members, making them loathe to take the action(s) which will be in the best long-term interests of the country.

The weapon that Europe has so successfully used on behalf of the Arabs is lawfare. And it has worked.

Under the aegis Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor of the ICC/CPI, Israeli military and political figures are threatened with prosecution for a wide range of alleged war crimes such as “wilful killing, extensive destruction and appropriation of property, transfer by the occupying power of its civilian population into occupied territory, pillaging of a town/place, destroying or seizing the enemy’s property“. This is effectively a reference to Article 8 of the Rome Statute which became effective in 2002.

Although Israel is not a party to the Rome Statute, Israelis may be tried by The Hague-based court for crimes committed in the “state” of “Palestine”.

At the moment, there is no clarity on interpretation of Article 12.1.a&b of that same statute. While the Levantine Arabs and Gazan Arabs, claiming statehood and “signatories” to the Statute, have tried to bring charges of war crimes against Israel for defending itself, the ICC has determined that it was up to “relevant bodies” at the UN or ICC member countries to determine whether “Palestine” qualified as a “state”.

Clearly, by any measure of current international law, there is no State of Palestine in 2018 as it fails to satisfy even basic requirements for recognition for three of the four internationally recognised conditions of statehood.

That, however has not prevented Arab enablers from using other frameworks such as Interpol to potentially make life for Israelis abroad difficult.

By voting to accept “Palestine” as a member country in 2015, Levantine and Gazan Arabs now had access to information that other police agencies around the world have on criminal activity, but, more importantly in the eyes of the anti-Israeli Arabs, the ability to issue red notices, which function as international nonbinding warrants requesting the extradition of criminal fugitives.

Of course, the Levantine Arabs are well aware that Article 3 of Interpol’s constitution states: “It is strictly forbidden for the Organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character.

In addition, as far the PA is concerned, Oslo II stipulated that “The territorial and functional jurisdiction of the [PA] will apply to all persons, except for Israelis, unless otherwise provided in this Agreement.

Undeterred, Levantine and Gazan Arab support organisations in Britain used the British court system to issue an arrest warrant for visiting defence minister Shaul Mofaz in 2004 (he was granted immunity).

In 2009, another United Kingdom court deferred “ …until further notice…” an appeal by local pro-Arab groups to issue an arrest warrant against 2008 Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak, who was visiting the country at the time. And, of course, Tsipi Livini is remembered for having cancelled her participation in a Jewish function in London after a warrant for her arrest was issued over her part as Israel’s Foreign Minister in that same winter 2008 Gaza offensive.

Lawfare has successfully crippled Israel’s ability to do what is necessary currently to protect Israelis in the Gaza envelope .

After all, which other army in human history has ever taken lawyers to a shooting match against people trying to kill them……

There is little doubt that this successfully implemented threat, whether subconsciously or otherwise, led to Netanyahu’s ability to decide on a (yet another wasteful) ceasefire with an entity that was suffering severe command and control setbacks over the previous two days.

To some extent, however, I would like to think that there were more compelling reasons for Netanyahu’s decision but, it would be unusual given the current depth of European animus to Israel and Jews, that the spectre of future  possible ICC allegations did not play at least some part in the decision.

Be a man abroad and a Jew in your tent

[Much of this article is the intellectual property of Anita Shapira. I have used substantial parts of her work to create this short thesis and its supplication]

 

The eponymous statement by Yehuda Lieb Gordon in the 1860s, which is the title of this article, seems particularly relevant today in the aftermath of the Pittsburgh massacre.

Where Bohemia (1781) and Austria (1782) introduced Edicts of Tolerance which opened previously unheard-of possibilities of education and economic advancement to the Jews of the Habsburg Empire, Tsar Alexander II of Russia brought these trends into the Russian Empire as well.

The significance of this is that, in Europe, the vast majority of Diaspora Jews centred in Poland, Western Ukraine, Lithuania and other parts of the Russian Empire had long lived and accepted the reality of occasional outbreaks of violence, humiliation, and discrimination. In the second half of the eighteenth century, modernization and the notion of nation states and the rights of the individual moved slowly east from Western Europe. Together with this, a demographic revolution occurred in Eastern Europe. Where, in 1800 there were between 1 and 1.2 million Jews in the Russian Empire, by the end of the century there were now some 5 million. This tremendous natural increase created an acute problem out of what had been a marginal one: the Jews did not speak the local language and did not send their children to their country’s schools.

In adopting the late 18th century model of education and economic advancement for the Jews of the Hapsburg Empire, Tsar Alexander’s policies for the Russian Jews likewise encouraged the budding of a Jewish Enlightenment in the Russian Empire through programmes aimed at modernizing them and turning those millions of marginalised Jews into useful citizens who would contribute to their local economy and culture. Here, learning the local language and secular education were the foundation stones of this movement.

However, this secularisation created an entire stratum of Jews who moved, to varying degrees, away from Jewish tradition. With the religious connection weakened, questions arose regarding the character of Jewish identity. The French revolution granted Jews equal rights as individuals, not as a nation, and the Napoleonic Wars sowed the seeds of nationalist consciousness where multinational empires, such as the Habsburg and Russian Empires, found themselves under attack by national movements.

For Europe’s Jews this meant that while the peoples of Europe were taking on national identities, the Jews were required to relinquish their collective, hitherto essentially religious, identity as a prerequisite for obtaining equal rights. This new Jewish self-definition created for the first time a distinction between Jewish religion and nationality and established a belief in Russian Jews who lived both within and outside of the Pale of Settlement (areas annexed by Russia from Poland where Jews were allowed to reside…) that this educational and vocational emancipation would lead to redemption from exile.

Where European nationalism saw an unbreakable bond between a people’s cultural heritage and its right to political self-expression, so too did the aspiration to learn the classical sources of the national culture, in its own language, manifested itself in the creation of a secular Hebrew culture. Abraham Mapu, a Lithuanian Jew, published his historical novel Ahavat Zion (Love of Zion) in 1853 in Hebrew. Jewish Enlightenment, as manifested in literature, poetry, philosophy, grammar, and autobiography, laid the cultural foundations for Jewish nationalist ideas to flourish. The Bible, whose beauty had been cloaked by the mantle of the traditional commentaries for generations, was now brought to life by the study of grammar, so that every educated reader could understand its text.

However, while in Western and Central Europe the dominant modernizing trend was toward relinquishing Jewish collective identity, the Tsarist regime and the Russian masses did not view favourably the idea of Jews integrating among them. This meant that millions of Jews lived in villages, towns, and medium-sized cities where they constituted a third or more of the population. With many Jews crowded into geographical and cultural proximity, secularization in Eastern Europe resulted not in an aspiration to become part of the general society but in a flourishing of Hebrew culture. And this, together with Tsarist repression on the one hand and secular consciousness on the other, gave rise to a sense of deprivation and injustice that underlay the newly awakened nationalistic ideas.

In addition, many Jews now adopted the national identity of the country where they lived and, seeing their connection with it as a sacred alliance, willingly went to fight in national wars of liberation. Consequently the various Jewish communities moved apart, separated by their ways of life, accepted behavioural norms, and cultures. Distinctions arose between Western and Central European Jews and their Eastern European brethren, and among Russian, German, and English speakers and the ways in which they had hitherto practised their Jewish Faith.

With the Tsar Alexander II, the welfare and security of Eastern Jewry grew precarious due to a spate of pogroms in the Ukraine unhindered by either church or state. The pogroms, unheard of in the previous century, not only undermined the Jews’ new-found sense of security to which the Kishniev and October pogroms of 1903 and 1905 only exacerbated, had two seminal results: mass migration of Eastern European Jews to (mainly) America with tens of thousands going to Mandated Palestine, and the radicalization of the Jewish masses. This last stemmed from three factors: a sense of being deprived and discriminated against by the authorities; a new self-awareness that came with increased exposure to the larger world; and the increasing trend of secularization in the Jewish street.

But an even more sinister process was in train.

As the security of Jews in Eastern Europe was increasingly undermined, modern antisemitism made its appearance in Western Europe.

Hatred of Jews was not new, but this time it was marked by racism and determinism: its object was not the Jewish religion but the Jewish race. Religion can be changed; race cannot. In an era of rising secularization, religious hatred might seem to be a thing of the past, but racial hatred was modern and up to date.

The old hatred of Jews had been aimed at the alien, different Jew.

Western European antisemitism targeted the Jew who looked like anyone else, who spoke the local language, whose appearance and behaviour was middle class, who took part in and even created national culture.

The murdered Jews in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh were Jews who turned to the general culture of the region where they lived and embraced it. Not even Gordon’s exhortation to be “…a Jew in your tent” were of any avail.

Today, Western antisemites accuse Jews of causing all of capitalist society’s ills, inciting to revolution, and undermining the existing order. They picture the Jews as parasites, incapable of establishing a society or culture of their own, as Nazis who murder others and as outsiders who rode on the backs of other peoples and copied or perverted their cultures.

It is against this background of cultural hate that the utterance at the Tree of Life synagogue on Saturday 27th October 2018, “All Jews must be killed”, reverberates in the collective Jewish consciousness.

‘‘At Basel I founded the Jewish state,’’ wrote Theodor Herzl in his diary
after the First Zionist Congress in 1897, a year after he published his seminal pamphlet Der Judenstaat.

He did.

Herzl realised that the abstract principles of constitutional equality which laid the foundations for European nation states had not won the hearts and minds of people who refused to accept the Jews as part of the civic fabric.

Herzl’s conclusion was simple: there was no point in fighting antisemitism. The only option was to circumvent it. The Jews were a nation that needed a safe and defensible state of their own.

Nationalism notwithstanding, the long history of western antisemitism on October 27, 2018 reiterated that need.