Beware of A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing – Part Two

Olive trees as guardians of Jewish history, Jerusalem (photo credit Levinsky)

This Gets Better By The Minute

This is long, so read it in a few installments, but whatever you do, do not miss the part that I have captioned “A Mathematical Equation.” In case you did not read Part 1, here’s my excuse for writing this article: Mohammed Hadid is an LA-based real estate developer who drapes his posts with eye-popping images of riches for the elite, and celebrates the beauty of his daughters who are world-famous models, Gigi and Bella Hadid. But mostly he loves to decry the loss of his beloved Palestine, a passion he has passed on to his children and together, as a family, the Hadids have a herd of close to 100-million followers who fawn at the lifestyles of the rich and famous and swallow up with zeal Mohammed’s political discourse that centers around the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, with an extra special focus/obsession on his displacement and pining after all things Palestinian – god forbid you associate olive oil, falafel, or hummus with Israeli food because there ain’t no such thing according to Hadid. Here’s what he said in a recent post (Instagram, July 25, 2020, accessed on August 3, 2020, https://bit.ly/3iFc7z) that featured olive oil :

The @ahmadawad4u family Olive Oil that started it .. All …hand pressed today with the same hands that turned the soil and planted the Olive Trees that cared for them watered them with sweat and tears and jars of water on their fragile heads 6000 years ago .. the same families. The same Palestinians and generations of them still .. doing it as I write this note. Don’t let any one cut your trees as to kill our roots . A single tree can Re root 1000 new trees .. the rolled dried ‏ لبني Strained and dried and hand rolled from Khair The mother of @Waelelsaadi.

 Shtuyot

Nonsense. Uch . . . look, of course, yes, sure, there are Arabs whose families have grown olive trees for a few generations. And? So? Does that also give them exclusivity to the olive oil industry in Israel? Are Palestinians the moral and legal heirs of olive tree history in Israel? What about the symbolism of the olive tree and olive oil in Judaism?

The olive tree is mentioned more than any other tree in the Bible – it’s one of the seven species, and I think that everyone is familiar with the passage that describes the dove that returned to Noah’s Ark carrying an olive branch in its beak to let everyone know the Great Flood had ended (Gen 8:11). Olive oil is pretty much embedded in every layer of ancient Jewish history, also known as the “land of olive and oil” (Deut 8:8). Olive oil was used as a currency and olives were also used as a measurement; King David appointed special ministers to supervise the harvesting of his olive groves. Our ancient kings and priests were anointed with olive oil and the Bible goes into specific details of how the oil was used in various religious rituals. In Hebrew, the equivalent of the word “anoint” is “lim’shoach” meaning to smear with oil, also the word “Messiah” is “Mashiach” – the one anointed with oil.

Look – the Levant is a mosaic of rich civilizations; it does not have a monolithic identity, it’s not synonymous with Islam, but Hadid insists on a model of history that erases Jewish presence or multiculturalism from the region, and places his people at the forefront of civilization. It’s funny and maybe borders on lunacy when you consider rudimentary knowledge of Christianity and Islam, both religions using Judaism as a blueprint for their belief systems.

Beit Guvrin-Maresha, witnessing the remains of an ancient Jewish civilization (photo credit Levinsky)

Hadid’s narrative is a complete falsification of history, and another example of Islamic revisionism, for we know that Arabs were the most recent addition of all the Semitic people who occupied the Middle East, and Arabic was the most recent of all Semitic languages (emerged between the first and fourth centuries CE), and Palestinians are the newbies on the block. Islam is 1,400 years old; it developed around 610 CE, while Jews began to self-identify in the 10th century according to a few monumental archeological finds, and by virtue of the Merneptah stela (vertical tablet), an inscription by the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Merneptah, we learn of the Israelites in 1208 BCE. If you follow the Bible, Abraham lived around 1800 BCE, and if you don’t, well, the text still provides an echo of our past that helps us gain more insight on where to dig next. So much for Hadid’s 6000-year-old version of Palestinian history in Israel.

An underground olive press, Maresha (photo credit, Levinsky)

On a recent trip to Israel, we toured Beit Guvrin and Maresha – a city in the kingdom of Judea during the time of the First Temple. The city is mentioned in the book of Joshua and the Zenon papyri, and like any other place in Israel it was later taken over by the Romans and a succession of foreign conquests that led to a tapestry of cultures that inhabited the area for the next two thousand years. Among the many relics unearthed in both towns, archeologists found batei bad – olive oil production facilities with 22 olive presses, crushing mills, as well as trenches and cisterns that drained and stored olive oil. Taking into account that each press would have handled about 15 acres of olive trees, this was a significant operation in towns that sat on trade routes between Mesopotamia and Egypt. Oil pressing techniques improved over the years, and between the Hellenistic and Byzantine periods, the industry flourished. Most of the facilities that were found belonged to Jews or Christians, so Hadid would have a hard time proving that Palestinian hands were responsible for cultivating all of those trees.

A crushing mill with a trough, Maresha (photo credit Levinsky)

In fact, ancient olive oil technology is scattered across the Galilee, Jerusalem, and the Negev, with olive presses that date back to the tenth and eighth centuries BCE. In the Bronze Age town of Ein Zippori, archeologists unearthed the remains of 22 storage vessels that contained traces of olive oil. This means that in the Levant olives had already been cultivated 8000 years ago. Another olive find in northern Israel had the largest collection of ancient olive pits dating back to 7000 years ago; this too verifies a harvest that was already cultivated. Today, the oldest olive trees in Israel are believed to be 800 years old, and some of them can be visited in the groves just outside the Gethsemane Church in Jerusalem. Their trunks are massive, with twists and grooves and sprawling limbs hanging over ancient worlds – our guardians of history, venerable and grand.

My father entering one of the caves in Maresha (photo credit Levinsky)

These days, a number of leading agronomists are trying to pinpoint the wild species of olive trees that were used to cultivate the olives that appear in the jars that we purchase today, the very ones that date back to biblical times, and they have already narrowed it down to three types of trees. Olive trees not only decorate Israel’s rugged landscape, but they also continue to provide a passageway into early civilization in the region. And because of its prominence in Jewish culture, olive branches are part of Israel’s emblem – the menorah is flanked by two olive branches. Hadid would like you to believe that this too is another example of cultural appropriation – Baaaa Baaaa Baaaa.

Hadid the Canaanite 

Part of the Palestinian PR is the claim that they are direct descendants of the Canaanites. They will grasp at nonsensical ideas and declare them as facts if it helps cement their link to Israel or rather cancel the Jews’ link to their ancient homeland. In his address to the United Nations on Feb 2018, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority said this:

“We are the descendants of the Canaanites that lived in the land of Palestine 5000 years ago and continuously remained there to this day.” Abbas has also said that Palestinians were in Jerusalem before the Jews, he says a lot of things – at this stage, we are a figment of our own imagination.

Entrance gate, Canaanite Megiddo (photo credit Levinsky)

A new study suggests that we share some of the same genetic makeup of the ancient Canaanites and since they were dispersed across Canaan in city-states mixed with many different migrations, it’s no surprise that the same genetics may appear in Arabs as well. However, Canaanites had developed into coastland Canaanites also known as the Phoenicians and the Israelites evolved from mountain Canaanites, while Arabs developed from another branch of ancients I will soon discuss.

The discoveries in Tel Dan and Khirbet Qeiyafa are most significant in terms of helping us understand when Jews had begun to self-identify and live separately from their neighbors. Tel Dan is a site on the base of Mount Hermon (first mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 14:14); it has been a gold mine of discoveries, such as a stela from the ninth century that mentions a king from the “House of David.” In Khirbet Qeiyafa, which sat in the Elah Valley, a strategic location in the biblical Kingdom of Judah during the time of King David (10th century BCE), we see a blueprint for Judean architecture that has not been found in any other Canaanite or Philistine city, only in Judean cities. Among the many finds, archeologists uncovered purification basins, sacred vessels, an altar for sacred offerings, and two empty model Arks, all of which demonstrate the beginning of Jewish monotheism. The inscription on the Merneptah stela describes the Egyptian victories in Canaan “. . . Israel is laid waste and his seed is not . . .”

Khirbet Qeiyafa, the old fighting ground between David and Goliath (photo credit Levinsky)

Archeologists explain that after the name “Israel” there’s a symbol that usually denoted an ethnic group, this time it highlights the Israelites who resided in Canaan in the 13th century BCE. The mention of their seed reveals an organized group of people; this too can then be corroborated with evidence of large storage buildings that were found in the center of settlements that necessitated structured planning and organization as was the case in Khirbat Qeiyafa.

Try Tipp-Ex

No? That hasn’t worked either. Aw, I know, it’s impossible to get rid of us when there is just so much evidence of our existence. Ana aasefa (Arabic), so sorry.  Other inscriptions dating to the seventh century have demonstrated the Judeans practice of Henotheism – they acknowledged a few deities but worshipped one central deity they identified as “YHWH” (Yahweh). More definitive evidence of Jewish life comes from the Elephantine papyri, one of the most ancient collections of Jewish documents dating back to the fifth century BCE when Jewish refugees (from Babylonian exile) joined an older community of Jewish mercenaries that had manned the island since the seventh century BCE.  These legal documents of marriages, divorces, wills, and property disputes serve to shed light on the portrait of an entire Jewish community. We also learn about their temple and sacrifice rituals.

If you consider these three disciplines together: history, archeology, and genetics you see that the Israelites eventually evolved into a separate nation, albeit monotheism took a little longer to establish but they also developed Proto-Hebrew from Proto-Canaanite. The language that we speak today has been in existence for thousands of years and evolved from ancient Canaanite, the name Israel is also found on ancient coins from different periods. Remind me again, what language do Arabs speak?

Nabatean History Ain’t Too Shabby Either

We have learned that early historians described the Nabateans as Arabs and they first appear at the end of the fourth century BCE and first century CE. They left dramatic monuments but no written narrative of their history other than what others had said about them. At first, they were nomadic tribes who attained their prosperity through caravan trade in aromatic products, precious stones, and textiles from southern Arabia and the Indian world until they settled down. Their trade route links them to the Nabatean city of Petra that lies in the southern and eastern Arabian Peninsula. Diodorus Siculus was a first-century (BCE) historian who placed the Nabateans at the beginning of the Hellenistic period, near the site of Petra. Flavius Josephus described Arabs as Nabatu, and the area they inhabited between the Euphrates and the Red Sea as Nabatene. The Zenon papyri that date back to 259 BCE mention the Nabatu as traders of frankincense; Nabatu means people who draw water and considering their reign over the spice and incense route, they are credited with a unique method of transporting their goods by camel caravans through the harsh desert climate and developing their own water collection systems that enabled them to circumvent other tribes undisturbed. Later on, they evolved into a distinct political power and settled down. They crossed paths with the Maccabees and struggled against the Seleucid Empire; they also inhabited the Negev region in 486 BCE during the Babylonian occupation. They built a rest stop in Avdat on a hilltop plateau along the trade route, and by the third century BCE it was already an established city. UNESCO has turned this area into a World Heritage site as it’s part of the 15,000-mile-long incense trade route that defined the Nabateans.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project (photo credit Levinsky)

A Better Spade Perhaps

He said, she said, ugh – so petty. But I have not seen anything in Hadid’s posts that brings anyone closer to peace. In many respects, Palestinian identity is entwined in ours, but Hadid’s words do not convey coexistence and he invokes the triple D’s: delegitimize, double standards, and demonize. As deep as he may try to burrow in the soil, Hadid’s Palestinian roots are just not as deep as my Jewish roots. During my childhood years in Israel, we visited many archeological sites together with family and friends, and that was how I developed a keen interest in Jewish history and understood my identity as a Jew. We would crawl into caves, explore crumbling cities, and unearth many stories that have always prodded me to go back and acquire more knowledge. This past December, while visiting Israel with the family, I wanted my son to experience some of that magic that intrigued me as a youth; he participated in the Temple Mount Sifting Project to look for artifacts that would help preserve some of that historical integrity, and what do you know, he was hooked.

Digging into our past has everything to do with our present and future, and if we are continuously told that our past has all been a lie then who are we? Apparently, olive oil has no Jewish provenance, neither does the color blue, same with respect to pomegranates, or dates, or figs, and our love of halva, hummus, za’atar, and shakshuka – yalla right. Psst. Darn it Hadid, you’ve managed to expose us – Baaa Baaa Baaa.

More proof of our existence: Odysseus and the Nile, Mosaic floor found in Beth Shean (photo credit Levinsky)

A Land of Milk and Honey and Arabs Only

When diaspora Jews had started migrating back to Palestine, the region was not the fertile, tranquil land that Hadid would like you to believe. There are many portrayals of Palestine by travelers who reported their findings during their sojourns in the region, but their accounts have been relegated to “nonsense that Zionists like to use in order to justify their colonial intervention.” Palestinians like to imagine that Jewish immigrants found a thriving society and a well-developed landscape, this account is so far from the truth that I don’t understand why they are not called out on this fable the minute they start to rehash the past.

Of course, dotted around Israel you will find evidence of aqueducts, colorful mosaics, coins, pottery, ancient buildings, and technology that confirm an array of ancient civilizations, Jewish too! But centuries later those were coated with layers of dust. So, let’s ignore the anti-Israel drivel and read at least one such report from Mark Twain’s travel book (1869) The Innocent Abroad:

There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent [valley of Jezreel] — not for 30 miles in either direction… One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. … For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee … Nazareth is forlorn … Jericho lies a moldering ruin … Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation… untenanted by any living creature… A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds … a silent, mournful expanse … a desolation … We never saw a human being on the whole route … Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country … Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery Palestine must be the prince. The hills barren and dull, the valleys unsightly deserts [inhabited by] swarms of beggars with ghastly sores and malformations. Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes … desolate and unlovely …

Had Palestine been a booming metropolis at the advent of modern Zionism, the halutzim (Jewish pioneers) would have had an easy time acclimating to their new surroundings, and the Arab influx, which occurred only after Jews had cultivated the land and built new infrastructure, would have taken place decades or centuries before the Jews arrived on the scene. Census data collected from those years indicate a dramatic rise in the Arab population. However, just because many Arabs had immigrated to Palestine in those years of opportunity, does not negate their prior history in Palestine or their contribution to farming. After all, Palestine was 65% agrarian when the British began their mandate, but the reality was that rural solvency had always evaded these farmers.

The Wild West in the Middle East

There is truth to the claim that Arab peasants were dispossessed from their land, but their fellow Arabs had much to do with this state of affairs before the rise of modern Zionism encouraged Jewish immigration to Palestine. Let’s not forget that Jews were not allowed to own land under Turkish law (until they were, for a minute), and lawlessness pretty much pervaded Palestine in spite of Turkish rule.

Arab-Palestinian falachim (peasants) struggled to keep their heads afloat due to periods of drought, malaria, and rapacious taxes imposed on them by an empire that was also besieged by economic decline. Legal titles to land parcels did not exist; it was one man’s word against the other’s, and this was the status quo for centuries – a reality that created blood feuds between families, clans, and villages. Bedouin tribes posed a continuous threat as they encroached on their land, drove out the falachim, and destroyed their falacha – crops. At the drop of a hat, the Bedouins would amass a large army to fight anyone who stood in their way. When the Turks enacted the Tansimat reforms in 1839, the politics of notables enriched the wealthy, elite population even though the main focus of the reforms was to usher in modernization, extend civil liberties to non-Muslims and hopefully begin to reverse the declining state of their empire. The farmers were obliged to register their land and pay more taxes, and there was also conscription. The way the Turkish would assess the tax was by counting trees on their land, thus began a widespread operation of chopping down trees in order to avoid their rising taxes. The Ottoman Land Code of 1858 opened up sales of land in Palestine to non-Muslims and to foreigners, and under the Sublime Porte Decree of 1881 Jews were permitted to migrate to any part of the Ottoman Empire, yay!

But not to Palestine, and land sales were also limited to certain areas and then stopped altogether. Apart from that trivial detail, the falachim were persuaded to collaborate with effendis (wealthy landowners) many of whom lived in places like Beirut, Cairo, or Damascus. The land was then registered in the names of these wealthy men, although usually a smaller parcel was recorded in order to avoid more taxes, and the farmers became owner-occupiers who retained the right to work the land while the notables paid their taxes. This scheme resulted in less profit and mounting debt and misery for the farmers. The landowners were the ones who benefitted from renting, cultivating and selling land – the farmers were bound to them as they were to the land because other work was scarce.

The Sarsuks were a Lebanese, Christian family with many land holdings in the region; they also purchased 800,000 dunams (dunam=1 acre) in Palestine. They had grand plans of profiting from their acquisitions, but things did not go according to plan and they were one of many families that happily freed themselves of their assets in Palestine. The problem was that once the British governed Palestine and insisted on proof of tithe payments, the farmers could not produce such records and when the land was later sold by effendis, they were denied compensation even for their relocation.

Palestinian pomegranates?

Legal Land Purchase

Article 2 of The League of Nations had stipulated that:

The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.

A few years later, a 1931 report by Mr. Lewis French, the Director of Development during the British Mandate (Moshe Aumann, Survival of a Nation, “Land Ownership In Palestine, 1880-1948”) said this about the Beit Shean region:

We found it inhabited by fellahin who lived in mud hovels and suffered severely from the prevalent malaria. . . . Large areas of their lands were uncultivated and covered with weeds. There were no trees, no vegetables. The fellahin, if not themselves cattle thieves, were always ready to harbor these and other criminals. The individual plots of cultivation changed hands annually. There was little public security, and the fellahin’s lot was an alternation of pillage and blackmail by their neighbours, the Bedouin.

The truth is that Arabs would charge the Jews exorbitant prices for arid, uncultivated land, and the Palestine Royal Commission Report estimated that in 1937, Arabs had accumulated more than $20 million from land sales to Jews ( according to the prevailing rate of exchange). Hadid and every single Palestinian who was alive back then already know that the very people who were guilty of exploiting them were their own, and blame cannot be placed entirely on the Yishuv.

Palestinian baguette or Basher Formagerie? Machaneh Yehuda, Jerusalem (photo credit Levinsky)

Super Refugees

Hadid struggles with a sense of social belonging and identity; he’s a foreigner in America and an outsider among Arab-Palestinian refugees unless he somehow inserts himself into the broad social construct of the Palestinian conflict, which intrinsically promotes his status in his adoptive country too. For most of us, the word refugee conjures up images of people, young and old, fleeing traumatic war, violence, or terrorism dressed in scraps, and roaming aimlessly or stuck in camps – spending months or years without steady income, housing, and schooling. Article 1A (2) of the Refugee Convention says that a refugee is a person who:

owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, or nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.

There is nothing fair or normal about displacement but I have my doubts whether Hadid actually meets any of these criteria. He calls Israelis “fake Jews,” but maybe he’s a “fake refugee.” Though we all know that condemning Israel is a guaranteed success and pledging to free Palestine and resettling 5-million refugees makes you an instant hit. After all, if the UN managed to adopt a resolution that equates Zionism to racism, psst, the rest is child’s play. And the facts? Nobody cares, as long as the present narrative continues to promote the largest, most important refugee problem in the world today, one that was caused by the “1948 war” then aggravated further by the “1967 war,” which created even more refugees. There are many organization and committees that support Palestinians: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the UN Commission on Human Rights, UNRWA, the Division for Palestinian Rights and in addition to that there are governments, educators, authors, journalists, and many celebrities who have turned this into their private crusade – a cause celebre – and elevated Palestinians into Super Refugees.

My grandfather and his parents, the day they arrived in Palestine (photo credit Levinsky)

What about Jewish refugees from Arab lands? About one million Jews had lost their homes and livelihood; Arab governments seized more than $1 billion dollars in communal and private property; today this would amount to 100-billion dollars. How strange that their plight has been purged from the consciousness of human rights activists, UN committees, and organizations that care for refugees. The Farhoud, for example, took place in Iraq (on Shavuot 1941) when thousands of armed Iraqi Muslims carried a savage pogrom against the Jewish community that had a history of 2,600 years in the region. Their front doors were marked with red hamsas before the killing began. The British ambassador ignored orders from Churchill to intervene; instead, he enjoyed a candlelit dinner in the safety of his home. As for the rest of humanity – they just don’t give a damn – the very existence of Israel, a country they believe is responsible for creating the Arab-Palestinian refugee problem, automatically negates their plight.

The UN ignored the hundreds of thousands of Jews who flooded Israel in the ‘50s and lived in deplorable conditions; their resettlement in Israel was a mammoth undertaking by the nascent Israeli government. Some Jews fled to North America but the majority ended up in Israel and despite many flaws and criticism in its execution, with the aid of Jewish donations from abroad, Israel rehabilitated the refugees, and they were slowly absorbed into the mosaic of Israeli society that comprised of 650,000 people at the time.

There would not be one Palestinian refugee to speak of if Arab leaders had accepted the UN’s 1947 Partition Plan and if Israel were not attacked by neighboring Arab states, that were trying to realize their pan-Arab designs in the region, the day after becoming an independent nation. The truth is that the defense for Israel’s survival took place months before the war when Arab leadership was vying to exterminate all Jews from Palestine, and Jewish leadership was consumed with keeping its local population safe and preparing to lead the Jews to independence after 2000 years of subordination in Palestine and in foreign lands. The Jews’ victory was the Palestinian’s “catastrophe” but without this victory, we would be talking about another Jewish Holocaust and I doubt that there would have been an independent Palestinian state for Arab-Palestinians, certainly not if you consider the way in which Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, and Kuwait had dealt with Palestinians over the years.

Look, My Driver’s License Proves I’m a Palestinian

Hadid says that he was born before the war into a well to do, educated family with ties to Sheik Daher al-Omar as well as the Prophet Mohammed. He describes a charmed life that came to a sudden end when their house guests, Jewish-Polish refugees, decided to kick them out into the street – launching their refugee status and leaving them homeless and stateless.

Notice the reference to Hadid’s date of birth in the following post (Instagram April 14, 2020, accessed August 4, 2020, https://www.instagram.com/p/B–ouPBHLmV/) where he reinforces and normalizes classic European antisemitic canards of thieving Jews, deceiving Jews, and ruthless Jews who would stop at nothing in order to achieve their goals.

These are documents from 1945 and 1946 regarding my Father, Anwar Mohamed Taleb Hadid. These documents should serve as more proof that both the state of Palestine and Palestinians existed prior to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Our history has been erased and our existence is in dire straits. Please pay attention to my father’s salutation prior to his signature in the second photo — he was a Palestinian man of honor. #palestine #weexist #safad #nazareth #jerusalem #hadidfamily #1945 #1946 and more info that my dad 1946 went to Haifa and picked up a Jewish family refugees from Poland and moved them into our hadid quarters in Safad Palestine and needless to say that the ( our guests) locked us out of our home and made us all refugees… and one more piece of history. My Great grand father (Daher al Omar) the king of Gallalie and the prince of Nazareth. Invited the Grand Rabi of Izmir Turkey to Tabarias and he build a Synagogue for him. And if you go into it you will see his name is at the entry. Thanking him for his Gesture of goodwill by the Rabi and his family and that’s in the 18th century. Google the facts. And yes I mohamed Hadid older than the state of israel. I was conceived in Nazareth Palstine in 1948 and I was born that month before the creation of Israel. We are who we are .. I would say my father would have done it again and my great grand father as well,, We are all here now. Don’t take our culture food and dignity. And yes. I am unapologetically proud Palestinian Muslim Arab American

A Mathematical Equation

Who doesn’t like the victim-turned-perpetrator take on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, even better when the Israel-bashing is done by a rich and famous celebrity who spends every single day spewing a unilateral version of history, and romanticizing the life that was, while pledging to free Palestine from oppression. Is there any other context in which Israel is mentioned these days?

But I have to ask you to do the math: His driver’s license says that he was born on November 6, 1948, in Palestine. I’ll say it again, November 6, 1948. And in this post, as in all other posts, he was born a month before Israel’s creation. Well? Get your calculators out, whatever you need to do in order for the penny to drop – aaaaand – well? I’m listening. If you need a visual reference here’s a link to the actual post featuring his driver’s license (Instagram 7.1.2020, accessed 8.10.2020, https://www.instagram.com/p/CCHqUFFnKvq/) where he said this: “United States of America PASSPORT. Place of Birth. Palestine. 11. 6. 1948.”

Hallelujah

Hadid could not have been born in “Palestine” on November 6, 1948, because Palestine had already become Israel six months earlier on May 14, 1948. Both towns which he has asserted as his place of origin, either Safed or Nazareth, were de facto Israel on November 6, 1948. I don’t know what this means in terms of the DMV issuing a driver’s license with misinformation. Also, in many of his convoluted stories about his past, he said that he left Palestine a month after he was born, and while they were away in Damascus “Israel happened.” Uh-uh, no such thing, Israel had already happened six months before he was born. I admit that it’s a detail that had eluded me until writing this part. The only explanation I have for these discrepancies is that Hadid must be a wolf in sheep’s clothing – Baaaa Baaaa Baaaa.

Hadid Has a Future in Fiction Writing

In another rendition of his past, Hadid showed a series of black and white photos (Instagram, May 16, 2020, accessed July 28, 2020, https://bit.ly/30v46a2) and said this:

Yes I was in these Trucks and donkeys and the tents. I was just few months old. We had to flee after our Polish Europeans guest locked us out out of our home .. while ( the Safad massacre (google it ) my sister was just less than two years old ..happened just outside the Hadid moslem arabs quarters .. Al sabagh family Arab Christian ..Al khoury family Arab Christian. We all got locked out ..of our homes.

The whole point of this post is to establish his status as a refugee and set a precedent from which to always judge Israeli actions, based on a specific incident that occurred in the village of Ein Zaytun, I assume. He wants to draw attention to one of those dark episodes perpetrated by Jewish fighters in the days leading up to the war of Independence – a time that too many people perceive as a pre-planned Jewish onslaught of innocent peace-loving Palestinians. The killing in Ein Zaytun, an Arab village, was not the norm but rather a diversion from “fair” war practices which was called out by a number of Jewish fighters. I cannot in good faith say that this was the only calamity that occurred on the Jewish side, but at least these are incidents that are still openly discussed in Israeli society as opposed to written out of our consciousness.

Boo!

Hadid would like his readers to believe that Jews had driven his family out of Safed, when the reality may have been a little different. Due to ongoing incitement and threats imposed by their own leadership, most of the Arab population had already fled Palestine in the months preceding the war.

There were villages and mixed-population cities that refused to take part in any military operations against the Yishuv, in spite of the scaremongering, and a peace agreement was reached between many Arab villages and the Hagana. There was still a type of coexistence that ignored the violence, both communities also having mutual economic interests in mind. However, after months of hostilities in neighboring villages and ongoing threats imposed on them by their Arab leadership, the olive branch had finally withered and fighting ensued with some of those former allies. The Arab Liberation Army (ALA) had marched into Arab villages and turned them into military strongholds, many people were forced out of their homes in order to accommodate their arrival. In villages such as Ein Dor and Shuna in the Galilee, most of the villagers were evicted by the ALA before Israel’s independence. What a mess – and when word of Jewish victories had made waves across the country, this too sent the Arabs fleeing.

Foreign Arab leaders were perplexed and angered by this reaction. Here’s the difference though, Jews had a different fight on their hands, and they were united, completely, while Arab countries were deliberating how to end the Palestinian problem on their hands, but there was a general lack of Pan-Arab commitment to the Palestinian-Arab cause. Transjordan’s King Abdallah had designs over the territory as did Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, and Iraq. In the end, it was the Jews’ will to survive that made all the difference. On May 2, 1948, the explosion of “David’s mortar” in the Arab quarters of Safed did not cause much harm, only noise, and yet this was enough to kick start the mass exodus of Safed’s Arabs. A British intelligence report dated April 1948 said this:

“Jewish victories in Tiberius, Haifa, Jaffa and Qatamon have reduced Arab morale to zero and following the cowardly example of their inept leaders, they are fleeing from the mixed areas in thousands” (Efraim Karsh, Palestine Betrayed, p. 176).

When the British pulled out of Safed on April 16, 1948, there were 1000 Hagana fighters against 4000 armed Arabs. The Arabs managed to gain control of strategic positions once the British had left. However, a British intelligence report said this:

“Such is their state of fear [that] Arabs are beginning to evacuate Safed although the Jews have not yet attacked them.”

Arab leadership preferred to see their people in exile rather than coexist with their Jewish neighbors, and staying in Palestine would have meant accepting Jewish statehood, an antithesis to the Arab cause. Though, here’s something to consider, in the months prior to the war, Arab-Palestinians who applied for UN relief and registered as refugees were not all refugees. Among them were families that relocated to other cities within Palestine, and some left because they did not wish to live under the new independent Jewish state despite Ben Gurion’s invitation to remain in the country and become citizens, and despite the 1917 Balfour Declaration, and the 1947 UN Partition Plan that took into account the wellbeing of Arab-Palestinians and promised them half of the territory in question. Even in the midst of heavy fighting, after years of conflict and attacks by Arabs, here’s what the British district superintendent of police had to say on April 1948:

“Every effort is being made by the Jews to persuade the Arab populace to stay and carry on with their normal lives, to get their shops and businesses open and to be assured that their lives and interests will be safe” (Efraim Karsh, Palestine Betrayed, p. 124).

Did the Hadids Flee Nazareth?

If Hadid’s family hailed from Nazareth, they were not expelled and there was no massacre or any other horror that followed the Israeli invasion of Nazareth, which was part of Israel according to the Partition Plan. It was one of four towns in the Galilee whose residents were not affected by the War of Independence. Before the war, there were 16,000 Christians and Muslim-Arabs residing in Nazareth, and after the war the number had climbed to 22,000 because Arabs from other parts of the Galilee flooded the city. They crowded monasteries, lived with relatives while others succumbed to price gouging by the local Arab population that rented out properties.

Another account by Benjamin Dunkelman, a Canadian volunteer who took part in Operation Deckel, stated that the day after the mayor of Nazareth had surrendered, he received an order from his superior, General Haim Laskov, to evacuate the civilian population. Shocked and horrified, he did nothing of the sort, and when Laskof turned to Ben Gurion, his orders were also shot down. Critics of Israel have recalled that the only reason for Nazareth’s unique status was because Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, had to avoid an international fiasco by not expelling Muslims from a place that had developed into their political and cultural center during that period of time. Then again we have also have records of Ben Gurion’s appeals towards the Palestinian population, urging them to remain in Israel and become citizens.

Bearing this history in mind, we are left to ponder whether Hadid is a real refugee. It would also help if we knew whether he was actually from Nazareth or Safed.

A New Type of Hero

An incontestable fact is that for years, the Yishuv had taken a defensive stance to combat the violence perpetrated by Arabs, and we’re talking about systemic violence that made life miserable and caught everyone by surprise. They had placed villages and towns under siege, Arab gangs would ambush vehicles on the roads – convoys of vehicles had to be chaperoned and the drivers became national heroes. Nissim Dorani was my mother’s uncle; he worked as a driver in the Drom Yehudah Co-op on the Tel-Aviv-Jerusalem route. On January 25, 1938, he drove a truckload of citrus fruit to Jerusalem, there was a second driver on board, and next to the Arab village of Lifta they were attacked by a number of Arabs. They threw a bomb onto Nissim’s truck and opened fire. A few hours later their bodies were found punctured with bullets and covered in blood.

The Arab onslaught on the Jewish community included pogroms, massacres, and destruction of property. The new strategy was to burn fields and chop down orchards. Farmers would work the land by holding a shovel in one hand and a rifle in the other. Life was never the same. Moshe Beilinson was a doctor-turned writer whose articles, dating back to 1920, expound on the frustration of the Yishuv in light of the useless response by the British and Jewish leadership to non-stop murder of Jews. The Battle of Tel-Chai on March 1, 1920, had rattled the community. Arab villagers together with fighters from Irregular Arab Armies surrounded the village of Tel-Chai; among the dead was Joseph Trumpeldor, the commander of the Jewish defenders. The Arab’s mission was to scare the Jews out of Palestine, and to a certain extent they succeeded; after the attack residents of all surrounding villages escaped and their villages were destroyed by the Arabs.

The Riots

The 1921 riots began in Jaffa and spread to other towns; Arabs engaged in murder, rape, and destruction of Jewish property, and to complicate matters, Arab policemen joined the killing spree. There were 16,000 Jews living in Jaffa at the time, but after the riots only 7,000 remained. Needless to say, the country was in shock, morale was low, even the Arab newspaper el-anasiyah denounced these riots ( Daliah Karpel, Haaretz, “What really happened in the 1929 Riots,” 10.24.2013).

During the riots, Arabs were also killed and many were injured, but as long as Hadid forces a partial recollection of events, he encourages indignation and rage towards Israel no matter what the case may be. In the eyes of the public, Israel is forever guilty regardless of the time or circumstances because Israeli nationalism is a criminal concept, while the fight for Arab nationalism has always been justified. There is such fatigue in this type of discourse that neglects mutual recognition of the other. Apart from Hadid’s creative manipulation of information, I am left wondering how on earth was Hadid, the baby, included in that photo when the incident after which all the Arabs of Safed had left, occurred on May 1, 1948, yet he was only born 6 months later? – Baaaa Baaa Baaaa

Mmm, loads of aromatic za’atar (photo credit Levinsky)

Look, I have a Certificate That Proves Everything

I think that many foreigners can empathize with the dynamics of identity in a new land. Hadid’s obsessive engagement with his background and refugee status plays a central role in how he defines himself, as though he can only find meaning in his life, which translates into social belonging, and acceptance, by directly inserting himself into the paradigm of a suffering refugee.  There’s nothing fair or normal about displacement and dispossession, the nightmare of being ripped out of your surroundings and having to carve out an existence in a place other than your home and living the rest of your life in a nostalgic haze.

My grandfather was six years old when his family fled Yemen in order to lead a safer, better life in Palestine. For years he would describe to us the life that he remembered from his youth in Yemen, but Hadid was a month old when his family left Palestine, so really, his recollection of a paradise lost is through his own family’s nostalgic renderings, not his own. He spent his formative years in Syria, Lebanon, Cairo, and Tunisia before immigrating to the US at age 15 where his father had secured a job with Voice of America in Washington. I too am a nostalgic woman; I understand when someone says they miss the county of their birth or where they had spent a considerable amount of time, or even a brief amount of time in a place that was so unique it becomes synonymous with paradise – the reason I want to go back to the Caribbean where I love swimming in warm, crystal-clear water. But the more meaningful nostalgia stems from my formative years that were spent in England and in Israel, so my memories of early comfort food oscillate between fish and chips and falafel sandwiches, pita with za’atar and crumpets with Marmite, sambusak with feta and cheese and onion pasties. I can’t ignore my sweet tooth which includes many more cuisines, but my very favorite treats have always been pink coconut rolls, halvah, and nougat bars dotted with pistachios. So who should take credit for those treats? Who cares.

Rolled coconut bars in Acre’s Arab market (photo credit Levinsky)

In my first installment of this article, I included a quotation from Enigma magazine where Hadid claimed to be related to Muhammed. I explained how this sort of revelation would help endear him to his public and give his claims a level of credibility that he desires without doubting anything that he says. However, as we’ve seen with other Palestinian notables, one need not be related to the Prophet in order to make a career out of displacement and false refugee claims.

In the following post he showed a photo of his parents dressed in their wedding attire and looking exceptionally elegant (Instagram, July 10, 2020, accessed July 14, 2020,  https://www.instagram.com/p/CCelKCFnbAa/):

My parents ANWAR HADID and HRH Princess KHAIRIAH DAHER HADID Nazareth Palestine 1941 Safad Palestine.. Modern, Elegant, educated, This is my parents that invited a Jewish family into their home 1946 or so. And they took their home away furnished .. and we became refugees… 1948 And I was one month old or less … and I don’t have any hatred toward the Jews. Because our parents Taught us not to hate.

So his mother is “HRH”? Keep the title in mind as we look at the next post that shows an official certificate with Arabic writing that “confirms” Hadid’s lineal connection to the Prophet Mohammed (Instagram July 14, 2020, accessed July 14, 2020, https://www.instagram.com/p/CCmspZfnarz/):

“My family tree from my mothers side #daheralomer Daher Al Omar al Ziadani”

So it’s true, he is a descendant of the Prophet – an Ashraf – a most honorable one, a descendant from Muhammad. Waaaa. I’m humbled. Well, in that case this certificate that was issued to him in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2017, must be solid proof of his family tree. It confirms that a certain person whom Mohammed Hadid claims to be his maternal ancestor, Daher al-Omar, is in fact related to the Arabian Muhammad. Throughout Islamic history, descendants of the Prophet Muhammad have been worshipped; they’ve also enjoyed many privileges in the Islamic world. You can understand the prestige involved in being part of the “People of the House” (ahl al-Bayt), which conferred wealth and social hierarchy. This is the reason that many commoners as well as rulers had claimed this familial relationship to the Prophet.

Turkish delight and nougat at the Arab market in Acre (photo credit Levinsky)

Turkish Delight

It must have been delightful and a privilege to receive such a distinguished certificate. The Turkish religious authorities began distributing these certificates in the sixteen hundreds; for the right amount of money, anyone could join Muhammad’s growing brood. They were also issued for political gain, and there is much discussion revolving around the issue of false claims dating back to the time they were first issued when thousands of Ottoman subjects had claimed a familial connection to the Prophet’s House – some buying or stealing certificates, others bribing officials, or forging genealogies. The sixteenth-century mühimme (Important affairs registry) raised the issue of “favoritism of the grandees” but this did not stop the Turks from issuing even more certificates, which further provoked the problem of false claims in the years 1545-74 (Hülya Canbakal, The Ottoman State and Descendants of the Prophet in Anatolia and the Balkans (c. 1500-1700) p. 542, https://bit.ly/2X5gN9q).

The Hashemites of Jordan are also Ashraf and so is the Moroccan Royal Family. Hadid is in good company; he’s as rich as Croesus, boasts a string of beautiful exes comprised of wives and girlfriends; he has genetically-blessed children, the biggest homes, most expensive cars and – a title! If his mom was indeed a princes then he must be a prince – he already has subjects/followers and with evidence of his lineage to the Prophet, well, who’s to dispute any of his claims for he is “the most honorable one.” If I were to take into consideration the adulation that he receives for every post, I’d say that this certificate has served to satisfy both, Hadid and his followers. Well worth the money.

Have I told you already that I’m related to King David? I bet you’d like to see a certificate that proves that I’m not a bissle meshugana (Yiddish for crazy).

My grandfather was a driver for Mantacheff which employed both, Arabs and Jews (photo credit Levinsky)

The Guests Who Never Left

Similar to conflicting information that Hadid provides with respect to the location of his family home and departure from Israel, I am just as confused about the story (Instagram, June 7, 2020, accessed July 8, 2020, https://bit.ly/30SDfog) of the Polish-Jewish refugees that his family hosted in their home between the years 1946-1948:

My Family’s Home in Safad .. when we lived in Tunisia .. I asked my Father,, But why father you took a Jewish family from a boat full of refugees from Poland in Haifa, Into our Home in SAFAD Palestine? . . . But we became refugees in 1948 . . .

When one of his followers asked why they “willingly gave up their home to Jews,” Hadid explains: “no not willingly. . [sic] they locked us out of our house. We couldn’t enter. We we [sic] not even allowed in to get our most private articles and or clothing.”

There’s no question that Jews and Arabs had helped each other and there were many instances of goodwill and true friendships that transcended the conflict. My grandfather worked for a British company that transported gasoline from one facility to the next, he had many Arab colleagues during the most volatile years in Palestine. In that respect, I believe that most people just wanted to get on with their lives – their priorities were finding work and putting food on the table, and we’ve already learned that there were many villages that refused to take part in the violence against the Yishuv. A commission of inquiry led by Lord Peel had this to say (Efraim Karsh, Palestine Betrayed, p. 12):

The general beneficent effect of Jewish immigration in Arab welfare is illustrated by the fact that the increase in the Arab population is most marked in urban areas affected by Jewish development. A comparison of the Census returns in 1922 and 1931 shows that, six years ago, the increase percent in Haifa was 86, in Jaffa 62, in Jerusalem 37, while in purely Arab towns such as Nabulus and Hebron it was only 7, and at Gaza there was a decrease of 2 percent.

Incitement Got in the Way

The Arab leadership was unhappy with the slow change in demography and the constant arrival of new Jewish immigrants to Palestine; by the mid-‘30s there were approximately 400,000 Jews in Palestine. At the helm stood Haj Amin al-Husseini who instigated the 1920 pogroms in Jerusalem that resulted in the murder of five Jews and wounded over twenty others. He was sentenced to ten years in prison but the High Commissioner, Herbert Samuel, pardoned him. He was then appointed to head of the Supreme Muslim Council, the most prominent religious post. His position allowed him the freedom to reign over all religious appointments in Palestine; his family members were handed key positions, naturally. Arabs who engaged in selling land to Jews were persecuted or murdered but the Husseini clan managed to profit handsomely as did other prominent Arabs including Awni Abdel Hadi – scion of a distinguished family in Nabulus (Efraim Karsh, Palestine Betrayed, p. 16).

At first, Emir Faisal ibn Hussein of Mecca (leader of the Great Arab Revolt against the Ottomans) had welcomed the Jews to Palestine. Though other leaders worried about the possibility of Jewish nationhood in a territory they saw as an extension of their pan-Arab designs for the region; they believed that Palestine was Arab land and exclusive to Arab culture. And most Arab-Palestinians, before they developed a new sense of nationhood, saw themselves as part of Greater Syria and Faisal as their leader. Photographs of riots in the ‘20s, show them holding signs that said that Palestine belonged to Greater Syria, there was no demand for a separate, autonomous Palestinian-Arab State.

British Love

Once pressured by their Arab subjects, the British drafted the infamous White Papers which restricted Jewish immigration to Palestine. They went back on their word and betrayed the Jews at a time when Nazi leadership was gaining power, and Jewish persecution had reached new heights. The White Papers of 1946 were the most draconian of the lot, they limited immigration as well as land sale to Jews. The truth is that for the British, the creation of a Jewish state had always been part of a greater strategy to have control of the Suez Canal, and nothing to do with morality and the need to alleviate the Jews from systemic prejudice, murders, and pogroms worldwide. Letters between Bevin and Attlee make for some compulsive reading; those two remained resentful of the idea of Jewish statehood. Secretly, they expressed their desire for the creation of an Arab state that would be controlled by Transjordan where Jews would remain a minority. Attlee always referred to Israel as Palestine behind closed doors says Efraim Karsh, author of Palestine Betrayed.

A maapilim boat at the entrance of Herzliya (photo credit Levinsky)

Illegal Immigration Begins

The British were always on the hunt for illegal Jewish immigration, even before they enforced a special policy that restricted Jewish immigration. The new policy meant that the rest of them resorted to illegal immigration, and those who entered without certificates were known as maapilim. The British were ruthless with their persistent targeting of Jews during the war.

If caught by the British, the maapilim were sent to a camp in Atlit where they sat for months awaiting their certificates of entry. Usually, the arrival of an illegal refugee ship was a complex, clandestine operation that was run by specific organizations, the Revisionists on one end and Mossad LeAliyah Bet was operated by the Hagana, and there were also a few private initiatives. The first phase took place between 1934-1942, the second phase between 1945-1948.  The Vilnius had arrived undetected – the second ship was already caught.

Natan Alterman was an Israeli poet and activist who also had a column in the newspaper where he expressed his anguish over the British policy towards maapilim. One of his inspirations was a woman he had met him on the shore in Nahariya, she urged him to be careful, stating that her life wasn’t worth saving – she had a tattoo that said “For German use only” – she was used as a sex slave by German officers, and she made it to Palestine on board the Hana Senesh Ship.

The refugees would set sail from Italy and France; the voyages were costly and needed careful planning. Guides were employed to help the refugees across foreign terrain until they reached collection points. They bribed officials, paid for forged documentation, and strategized how to circumvent British destroyers. Hamosad LeAliya Bet purchased ships because it was difficult to find shipowners willing to sacrifice their property for the cause and any captain who agreed to take on-board Jewish refugees was at risk of being detained as well. Harboring the vessels at ports around the world was also a costly feat. Chaperones in charge of the voyages were Palmach volunteers; the Gidonim was a secret organization that specialized in transmissions from the ships in order to better coordinate their arrival to Palestine. The British relied on intelligence to find out where gasoline was purchased, which routes were taken – the reason they were able to trap almost every one of the ships that arrived in 1946.  During the blockade, they had fourteen vessels that patrolled the coastline to prevent any ships from entering the waters. In 1946 there were about five patrol boats on Haifa’s coast alone and police patrolled the beaches and arrested anyone assisting the immigrants. At this stage, the British were losing their propaganda war in Palestine as “the Zionists were able to portray the conflict as not Arab-Jewish but an Anglo-Jewish one between a Zionist liberation movement and a colonial power” (Meir Zamir, Haaretz,  9.14.2014).

The year that Hadid’s family hosted Jews in their home, only 13 out of 65 ships made it to Palestine. Operation Igloo mobilized the new plan to send all of the captured illegal immigrants to internment camps in Cyprus and Mauritius. The British used intel to sabotage their efforts; they engaged in heavy propaganda to ensure that nobody would dare collaborate with illegal Jewish immigration so they imposed an embargo on any company that assisted the refugees. They lied about the entire operation and dubbed the ships “slave ships” and the Zionists involved were described as money-hungry criminals.

Thanks England!

Can you imagine being a Holocaust survivor, breathing the fresh sea air, inhaling freedom after years of hell, only to have to face the terror on board the ships, and then the reality of ending up in a displaced persons camp in Germany of all places?

If Hadid’s father had actually helped Jews, we don’t know whether Mohamed is talking about legal or illegal immigration, but most likely illegal if the year was 1946, he doesn’t say. What about the name of the ship that carried their guests to freedom? Every ship had a unique name in order to inspire the rest of the Yishuv. What was the name of the family – after all, they were the guests who never left.

Since Hadid mentions Safed and Nazareth interchangeably as his place of residence in Palestine, just for the sake of argument, let’s say that the Jewish immigrants were then hosted in their Nazareth home, that would instantly raise the issue of demographics. A 1922 census conducted by the British found that only one percent of the residents in Nazareth were Jews, 33% were Muslims, and 66% were Christians. By 1946, 60% were Christians and 40% were Muslims and no Jews at all. Additionally, Nazareth became the hub for Arab nationalism, not sure how easy it would have been for the Hadids to hide Jews in their home (from the British as well as other Arabs).

Hadid talks about these Jews with such ambiguity, without any deeper context or proof to his claim; his message is one that easily aligns itself with the way Palestinian Authority newspapers have described Jews as Shylocks of the land (Robert. S. Wistrich, A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Gihad, p. 722).

Safed’s tranquil blue, the color that once protected the Ark of the Covenant (photo credit Levinsky)

Today I’m from Safed

Let’s assume (as per some of his posts and interviews) that his family hailed from Safed, as such, what was it like in the years preceding the war? Benjamin Gaiger, an elder from Safed,(edited by Orly Amit) is an interesting memoir that does not necessarily concentrate on the Arab-Jewish conflict but it exposes the reader to everyday life in one of Israel’s most sacred cities, before Israel’s independence and when Jews were a majority until violence had driven them out.  In hindsight, they should have known that something was about to happen because a week earlier a mob of Arabs stormed the Jewish quarters; they were led by a flag-bearing man, to his side a drummer and together they incited the crowds with this chant: “saiif aladin hag amin,” which is a metaphor that means that in the name of the Haj, we can kill (p. 163 chapter 13). They smashed windows and doors; at first, no lives were lost, and the Jews hoped that it was the worst of the violence they would experience.  A week later on August 29, 1929, an Arab mob stormed the narrow alleys, this time they came swinging knives, axes, and bats. Abed el-Rachman was in charge of the riot, he worked at a local, Jewish bakery belonging to the Eisenbergs. What followed was a bloody aftermath, and the city of blue went up in flames.

Popcorn with Za’atar Please

A few years later, the narrator recalls the evening when they were at the local cinema and how strange it felt without one Arab in sight – a harbinger of bad things to come. The next day, they found out that the Arabs had announced a boycott of all Jewish business, and in order to keep every single Arab in line with this policy, groups of young men would roam the city, holding bats and threatening anyone who intended to interact with a Jew  (p. 172). The 1936 riots spread from town to town and the perpetrators had one goal in mind, canceling the 1917 Balfour Declaration that supported a national home for the Jews in Palestine. This riot lasted for three years and it was unique in nature because the wider Arab population was willing to sacrifice their livelihood as well as their lives. There was no precedent for this type of behavior.

Italy was directly involved in the riots; they funded the Arab boycott of Jewish business and supplied them with weapons. They helped with anti-Jewish propaganda and founded a radio station called Bari to help spread the message; Nazi Germany also contributed to anti-Jewish incitement and funded their battle against the Jews. But this riot was also directed against the British, the Arabs wanted them out of Palestine. What followed was years of terror and more bloodshed.

At this point Jews in the northern region of Israel were reluctant to work with Arabs, they were relieved of their guarding duties and that was the genesis of the notrim, Jewish guards. By 1946 those Arab-Jewish relations were deeply fractured and there was a general mistrust of Arabs even though an economic co-existence still persisted in some parts of the country.

This early interview in The Washington Post (Sharon Warren Walsh and David S. Hilzenrath, “Who is Mohamed Hadid?” April 24, 1989) says this:

Hadid was an infant when his family left Palestine. His father, Anwar Hadid, said he did not want the family ‘to live under the Israeli occupation.’ The parents walked for two nights to reach the Lebanese border – with Hadid’s mother carrying her oldest son. The family finally settled in Damascus, where Anwar Hadid went to work as a translator for Voice of America and traveled widely.

Years after that interview Hadid posted this (Instagram, June 7, 2020, accessed July 20, 2020, https://www.instagram.com/p/CBKX9-qnvI3/):

. . . I asked my Father,, But why father you took a Jewish family from a boat full of refugees from Poland in Haifa, Into our Home in SAFAD Palestine? . .. I would never forget what he said .. He reminded me that Jewish people and their destiny mattered to Him.. did that mean. Jewish life Mattered to my father then in 1946 .. and his friends that took other families into there homes as guest. But we became refugees in 1948. 1949 to Syria to labanon to Tunisia To The USA. Jewish life mattered to us then .. hope one day will see the light to Have Palestinian life matters .. the day will come for coexistence In peace, respect .. Love you Babba Anwar Hadid ..

It seems that Hadid’s father was not interested in Jewish destiny after all; perhaps all of those attestations of love towards Jews are a legacy that is embedded in Hadid’s fantasy world. Also, one cannot ignore the mythical undertones of Hadid’s story of valor if taking into account the tension between Arabs and Jews of Safed in the years that followed the riots, and the complex nature of illegal immigration. But then again it makes complete sense because Hadid is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Not One Complaint Against Jordan

According to a Human Rights Watch report, since 1988, the Jordanian government has been arbitrarily withdrawing Jordanian nationality from people of Palestinian origin. Over half of Jordan’s population is of Palestinian origin, and this move has rendered thousands of Palestinians stateless. This has been a political maneuver to delay any designs Israel may have in the West Bank and increase the number of Palestinian refugees. It also means that these people can no longer benefit from free elementary and secondary school education, or higher education, or easy access to healthcare, and there are limitations on the occupation of non-nationals just to name a few of the obstacles they must endure.

Jordan is in direct violation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as well as the Convention on the Rights of the Child which spell out the right to education and health. In addition to the prohibition on arbitrary deprivation of nationality, the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness provides additional guidance on situations in which nationality must not be withdrawn: states must not “deprive a person of his nationality if such deprivation would render him stateless” (Human Rights Watch, “Stateless Again Palestinian-Origin Jordanians Deprived of the Nationality,” Feb. 1, 2010).

I wonder whether Queen Rania of Jordan, also a Palestinian and the champion of many charities and causes, has ever agonized over her own country’s policies towards Palestinians.

Egypt, for her part, refused to annex the Gaza Strip after the 1948 war of independence. Gaza was fenced off and a military force controlled its Arab-Palestinian population. The Egyptians were not interested in the Palestinian’s welfare and never extended Egyptian citizenship to the people of Gaza either. They would conduct arbitrary arrests of thousands of Gazan residents and take them to military prisons in Egypt. As for the rest of the population, they were not allowed into Egypt without further hardships. Today, Egypt still controls the border and decides how often and how many Arab-Palestinians may cross over.

Missing from the conversation is the fact that by 1967 about 9,000 Arab-Palestinian families were reunited, and in 1971, 40,000 refugees were readmitted into Israel.

My food, our food, everyone’s food, Esther and Jonathan’s restaurant, Safed (photo credit Levinsky)

So We took Your Food?

When Hadid is not promoting his Caviar brand, he posts food photos that he attributes to Palestinian cuisine, which is fine and dandy, but as usual, he politicizes the palate as well.

Hummus, for instance, already appears in ancient Hebrew writings as himtza or hamitz, specifically when Boaz offered Ruth to “. . . eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar . . .” (Ruth 2:14).

Savoring the delicacy of Yemenite falafel, Badra’s Kitchen, Rehovot (photo credit Levinsky)

The truth is that nobody has the right to claim anything with regard to food origin, most foods that we enjoy today are the result of many influences — people settling in a new region and sharing their culinary influences with locals, or just passing through and slowly adapting their way of cooking to suit a new climate, different produce, and dietary laws.

Personally, I prefer Yemenite falafel; Yemenite Jews, like all other ethnic groups in Israel, had contributed to the very exotic mix that became Israel’s newly founded cuisine. Among many doughy concoctions, spicy salsas, delectable curry-style dishes, and soups they also made great falafel. They were the first falafel-stand owners, and it’s their recipe that I pine after when I crave Israeli falafel. You know what Hadid, why don’t you keep your falafel balls to yourself, we have our Jewish-Yemenite crispy garbanzo balls instead — ahuwei!

A typical Israeli breakfast of shakshuka, cheese, and olives, Derech Hagefen, Bit Zayit, Jerusalem (photo credit Levinsky)

Hadid’s posts are incendiary towards Israel, his main goal is to indoctrinate his followers with the idea that Israeli society has claimed Palestinian identity and dispossessed them of their patrimony. He adopts a passive-aggressive tone to undermine the notion of peace by presenting half-truths, myths, and conspiracy theories, while conveniently shutting a blind eye to radical Islamic ideology and he always ends his posts with a standard peace cliché that even a Miss World/Miss Universe beauty pageant contestant will avoid at all cost. His words have juxtaposed Arab exclusivity of the Levant with Israeli appropriation of Palestinian land, food, and culture. His all-consuming attachment to territory and identity excludes multicultural ethos in the region, as though Judaism is an unnatural presence that threatens the existence of an Arab construct in Israel. For Hadid, Israel is the disaster in the middle of a perfect Arab Word. Why? Because Hadid is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Baaa Baaa Baaa

About the Author
Ilana was born in London, England, and currently resides in Camarillo, California. She graduated from Manchester University with an LL.B in 1991. Her writings include the play “A Recipe for Hummus,” and her novels "The Diary of a Wrinkle" and "East End Dreams." "Age Schmage" is a little book intended to help women in their moments of doubt; "A Cookbook for the Woman Who Hates Cooking" is an honest, yet funny approach to cooking; "What if I Had a Different Name?" is a collaboration with her son Jack and it’s a fun exploration of some of the weird and fantastical names that Jack imagines as his own; "The Cloud That Covered My Head" is a whimsical story about a boy who preferred to stay in bed and dream rather than go to school, and "Rotten Tooth Ruth" brings to life T. Brush, Minty Paste, and Floss who must think of a way to befriend Ruth; "Bobby B. Sprout Meets a Bunch of Rotten Veggies" is an allegory for anyone who's felt like the "other," it's all about racism/antisemitism. Her latest work includes "My Best Friend Shadow," when no one else wants to play with Ash Shadow teaches that life can be bigger, better and fun, available for purchase on Amazon. "Diary of a Wrinkle" is her blog where she muses on the topic of aging and beauty, and @wrinklerevolution is her corresponding Instagram account. You can follow her on Instagram @soletseat for her daily culinary creations and for daily inspirational thoughts scroll through @insanelyfemale. "A Yemenite Bride" (a screenplay) tells the story of Ilana's great-grandmother Saida, and sheds light on the life of Jews in Yemen during the early 20th century.
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