Here in Europe, there is much talk about the decline of Christianity. Each year, more and more Catholics, Lutherans and Anglicans leave the faith, more and more churches close their doors or become mosques. In the Kreuzberg district of Berlin, it is said that references to Christmas in public events and decorations are now verboten – one can only say “Happy Winterfest”. In the Middle East, jihadists are expelling the world’s oldest Christian communities or just slaughtering them outright. Only 30 years ago, Christians were about 20% of the population of the Levant; now they are down to 3% and sinking fast – except for the Christians lucky enough to live in Israel.

We read statistics about the skyrocketing Muslim birthrate in the EU countries and the tens of thousands of Europeans who convert to Islam each year. Yet, in spite of all this, there is another faith – a recent religion – that has far surpassed the surging wave of Islam.

I call it Palestinianism. This is not to be confused with Islam, neither Shi’a nor Sunni. To join the fast-swelling herd of Palestinianites, one does not need to learn the Quran or avoid pork and alcohol or wear a veil or grow a beard or even believe in Allah. You do not even have to care about the Arabs self-identified as Palestinians. There is only one thing required of you. You must hate the Jewish State of Israel with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.

Converts to Palestinianism usually start out as caring, sensitive, liberal and even altruistic individuals. They want to save the environment, defy the capitalistic Establishment, and stand up for the weak and downtrodden. Then, one day, whether on a street corner or a campus, they get a flier or hear a speech or see a demonstration against Israel. They are told that the few million Jews in Israel (about the geographic size of New Jersey) are the source of all wars and evil in the world. No, this is not a metaphoric phrase; the Palestinianites are literally convinced that tiny Israel is the evil giant Goliath and the Islamic world of 1.6 billion followers and over 600 times the land mass is the tiny defenseless David. Soon, the newly converted Palestinianites start attending rallies, speeches and demonstrations where no voice of dissension is permitted. They hear the tale of a peaceful, idyllic land called Palestine, where the wonderful ancient native culture thrived for thousands of years, until the evil Jews invaded in 1948 and stole this Garden of Eden from the indigenous, defenseless Palestinians. They never stop to ask why there are absolutely no historical or archeological traces of any of this homeland, or why the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Romans, the Gospels and even the Quran only talk about the Jews and Israel and Judea, but never mention any nation called “Palestine” or “Palestinians”.

[Note: In the year 135CE the mad Emperor Hadrian, in an attempt to expunge the memory of the rebellious Jews, came up with the artificial Latin name “Palestina” based on the Hebrew word for “philistine” to replace the name “Judea”. It would be devastating for Palestinianites to learn that “philistine” is a Jewish word that literally means “invaders”. They were originally Greek marauders who had invaded the Judean coast until the Assyrians – those masters of true genocide – completely wiped them out centuries before the birth of Christianity and Islam. Hadrian’s “Syria-Palestina” was never a sovereign state, just a minor military outpost until the fall of the Roman Empire.]

Speaking of genocide, the novice Palestinianites are told that Israel is wreaking a merciless genocide on the innocent Palestinians for over 65 years. They never stop to wonder why the few hundred thousand Arab refugees from 1948 could be currently several million strong if they are victims of genocide. They are taught that the Gaza Strip, completely Judenrein (the Nazi term for “cleansed of any Jewish presence”) since 2005, is still somehow occupied by nefarious invisible Jews. They are instructed to say that the plight of the poor Palestinians in Gaza is exactly like a concentration camp where the Jews themselves were starved and systematically slaughtered. They never wonder why UN studies show that the Arabs in Gaza are among the most obese populations on the planet, or ask if there were swank coffee shops, malls, markets, horse-riding camps, luxury cars and 5-star hotels in Auschwitz, just like the ones in Gaza City.

What is the successful appeal of Palestinianism? Why are politicians, journalists, media darlings and entire universities converting to its cause? One reason is that it automatically conveys the message that you are a liberal, highly sensitive person – so sensitive that you will support terrorist regimes and an atavistic society that stones women to death for being raped, that hangs homosexuals, that exploits its own populace as human shields to protect its weapons, that brainwashes its own children to hate and kill and to kill themselves. All you have to do is sling a kefiyyah around your neck, and you are suddenly a daring young rebel. Take part in a demonstration and shriek “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” (which means exactly the same as the flip side of that song, “Hamas! Hamas! Jews to the gas!”) and you are immediately a liberal and an intellectual.

Another reason is that it immediately makes you popular. Palestinianism is so widespread that wannabe media stars – journalists, bloggers, photographers – jump on the bandwagon as a calculated career choice. Performers with fading reputations will send out anti-Israel twitters or book a concert in Tel Aviv only to cancel it at the last minute in an epiphany of righteous fury, just to get a publicity boost. Lonely students feeling isolated and vulnerable on a big campus will convert to Palestinianism to feel as if they belong to something. Some Jewish students become Palestinianites to gain social acceptance and approval from their peers and professors, and sometimes to avoid the threat of verbal or physical assault at school. Many Israeli politicians, worn down by all the hatred, and craving for a pat on the head from the outside world, have converted to this new faith, hoping that they will be seen as “the Good Jews” and that they might get invited to all the best international non-kosher parties. Other politicos, either smelling the potential for grabbing the growing Muslim vote or fearing street violence at home, have been converting all over the Western world.

The third reason for converting to Palestinianism is money. That’s right, demonizing Israel and preaching Palestinianism has become a booming business. So-called “experts” on TV promote their latest book about the phantom “Jewish lobby” or the “Palestinian genocide”; professors get high-paying tenure for ranting revisionist history and conspiracy theories as long as they preach the Gospel According to Saint Edward Said and delegitimize the Jewish State. Academic Jewish lesbian Palestinianites now tour the world, supporting the anti-gay Hamas and Fatah while demonizing Israel for being too pro-gay – why? Because a highly promoted lecture tour can be very lucrative. Throw in a book-signing to go along with the lecture, plus the occasional talking head stint on television, and you’ve got a good deal going on. The biggest hogs at the money trough are the NGOs and political mouthpieces; they have made a literally bloody fortune attacking Israel nonstop, often with accusations that are later proven to be fabricated, while whitewashing or ignoring any heinous crimes of Hamas or Fatah. So far, the religion of Palestinianism, supported by the choir of anti-Israel NGOs, has guilted and strong-armed the US, EU and UN into donating 26 times the amount of the Marshall Plan that rebuilt all of postwar Europe. However, unlike the Marshall Plan, there is almost nothing to show for the investment – and still the money flow is unchecked and increasing. What other religion could do that, eh?

Palestinianism, when practiced in its most traditional form, can remove from its followers all capacity for critical analysis or doubt, all sense of guilt or proportion, all need to care for any other truly oppressed people on Earth. There is no need to protest or boycott to support Cyprus, its northern half under illegal Turkish military occupation since 1974; Tibet, invaded and culturally/religiously “cleansed” by China for over 50 years; kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls turned into sex objects; Western journalists and aid workers kidnaped and beheaded; Christians, Yazidis, Kurds and independent-thinking Muslims being hunted to extinction in Syria and Iraq; homosexual women and men being tortured, imprisoned and butchered in Iran, Egypt, Russia, and all over the Arab/Muslim world. Certainly, Palestinianism has no time for defending any Jews under attack anywhere in the world. Palestinianites will never even protest the oppression and slaughter of Palestinians, if the violence cannot be blamed on Jews.

Palestinianism is a great comfort, since its faithful know that they are always correct in their views, and always hold the high moral ground in any discussion. Once they have been in this religion enough time, they can take their children on Palestinianite holidays: interrupting concerts and film festivals if there is any Israeli participation, trashing supermarkets accused of selling Israeli products, or waving signs equating the Star of David with the Nazi swastika while blocking stores to keep customers from buying things “from those evil people”. For fresh air and exercise, they will unquestioningly shuffle along with the crowd in supposed peace marches that just happen to display the flags of Hamas, Fatah, Hezbullah and now even ISIS.

With all these wonderful gifts of Palestinianism, it’s no wonder that it’s attracted almost as many people as McDonald’s. However, any successful religion must demand something in return from its faithful, and Palestinianism is no exception. Its tenets dictate that you can no longer perceive any gradations of gray when the subject is Israel; in the entirely black and white world of the faithful, Israel is always evil and guilty while the innocent Palestinians are always the victims, and no middle ground is ever permitted. When internal Arab/Muslim polls show that over 80% of Palestinians wildly support Hamas and sharia law, you must ignore the facts and insist that the violent fundamentalists are only a tiny fringe. In Palestinianism, no other human rights cause can be allowed to compete. If you are a feminist or gay rights activist, you are obliged to put that goal aside in order to support the one worthwhile cause of cheerleading for the misogynous, homophobic regimes of Fatah, Hamas and Hezbullah. In Ferguson in the USA, the protests against the killing of an African-American teen were hijacked by professional anti-Israel agitators and their Palestinianite minions faster than you can say “intifada”.

Speaking of phobias and racism, this new religion demands that you drown out and gag any rational discourse on Israel or Palestinianism by screaming “Islamophobe!” and “Racist!” This also requires total acceptance of incoherent dogma, since Palestinians and Muslims are not a race, and Palestinianism is not a part of Islam or its Five Pillars. In spite of all this, I am sure that this article will attract its fair share of these parroted Pavlovian accusations.

If you think I am just trying to be facetious by calling this knee-jerk hatred of Israel a religion, think again. Even the rabidly anti-Israel Norman Finkelstein declares that “the BDS movement is a cult.” The former Israeli professor Ilan Pappe, whose fervent embrace of Palestinianism guarantees him a place of honor in UK academia, declared in an interview with the Belgian paper Le Soir:

“I am not as interested in what happened as in how people see what’s happened… I admit that my ideology influences my historical writings… Indeed the struggle is about ideology, not about facts. Who knows what facts are? We try to convince as many people as we can that our interpretation of the facts is the correct one, and we do it because of ideological reasons, not because we are truthseekers.”

Historians who disdain and distort historic truth, feminists and gays willingly serving as mouthpieces for misogynous and gay-killing regimes, liberals who use storm-trooper tactics to shut down any open discussion, sensitive Moms and Dads who support those who brainwash children and purposely put them in harm’s way, church groups who provide political and financial succor for anti-Christian regimes, African-Americans and South Africans who subvert the term “apartheid” by misusing it to slander the one country in the Middle East where there is none – this Orwellian nightmare cannot be simply called a political movement. It certainly does not promote any specific system of government or any sort of just and balanced peace. Palestinianism is beyond any logic, any facts or sense of fairness. It is a leap of faith, an acceptance of a credo, a total fanatical belief system that permits you to hate the Jewish nation in public.

I am not denying that there is poverty and suffering in the Arab communities under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas – but most of that is from failed wars of aggression against Israel, two failed intifadas, their own elected thuggish kleptocracies, and choosing to focus on destroying the Jewish state instead of trying to build up one of their own.

Just as many Jews bowed down to Hellenistic idols in the time of the Maccabees, today there are many Israelis who accept the Palestinianite mythology while demeaning their own historical truths. The Torah specifically warns about this in D’varim (Deuteronomy) 32:21:

They have roused Me to jealousy with a non-god; they have provoked Me with their vanities; and I will rouse them to jealousy with a non-people; I will provoke them with a senseless nation.

By all means, we must have a dialogue and seek peace with our neighbors. Just as 
the great sage Bruria did in the Talmud, instead of praying for the destruction of our enemies, we should pray for the end of their hatred and evil inclination. A real dialogue and a true peace, however, can only be built on a foundation of facts and not by blindly bowing down to the senseless non-god of Palestinianism.