Failure To Destroy Myths

“We all tend to judge others by our selves” [Bernard Lewis]

With all due respects to the great historian Bernard Lewis, the reference to “all” is clearly a misstatement given this trend largely applicable to liberals. One of the greatest testimony to judging others as ourselves lies in the western negotiations with the “wily oriental gentlemen”.The whole history of interaction between the western nations and Islam has led to one failure after another because of this tendency.

That those who were willing to sanitize the likes of Yasser Arafat, speaks volumes as to how they were accepted as professional statesman. As recently as 2014, Joshua Muravchik’s, “Making David into Goliath Goliath – How the World Turned Against Israel.” This extraordinary book fully explores the successful propaganda war following the Six Day War. By replacing the word “Arab” with “Palestinian”, it was a simple matter to portray Israel as Goliath and our enemy as David. Shame on us for not having mounted a world wide campaign to effectively destroy this myth.

There is yet another issue which enters into the equation, the matter of the reversal of causality. For the Arabs, the conflict which had arisen between them and the Jews was “not a by-product of wars in which the Arab states attacked Israel”, but in fact the cause of those attacks in the first place, was due to them.

The myth which has prevailed throughout the years is the Arab claim to their being indigenous to the Land of Israel from time immemorial. Nadav Shragai focused on this in his piece, “The Fabricated Palestinian history” which appeared in the February 7, 2014 edition of Israel Hayom. “Who would believe that the biblical Canaanites were Arabs, Jesus was a Palestinian who preached the virtues of Islam and not a Christian, and Moses? Well Moses was a Muslim, after all”. This is typical of the nonsense preached by Saeb Erekat, the head of the Palestinian negotiating team in his lecture to Justice Minister Tzipi Livni his Israeli counterpart. As noted by Shragai, Erekat claimed that he and his Canaanite forefathers lived in Jericho 3,000 years ago, before the arrival of Joshua and his sons of Israel; and is not the first Palestinian who has reinvented himself by drawing a direct line connecting the Canaanites from biblical days to the Palestinians of today. “Many Palestinians preceded him.”

Professor Rafi Israeli, a Middle East scholar and an expert on Islam from Hebrew University, has written over 20 books on Arabs and Islam. To him, the link that the Palestinians have tried to create with the the ancient Canaanites is “absurd”. He points to the early origins of the Arabs who came to the Land of Israel as being in the Arabian peninsula and not as they claim indigenous Canaanites. One can readily recognize their origin by merely considering their surnames.

Israeli notes the population transfers effected by the Ottoman Empire in order to “tighten its control over areas quoting as an example, the importation of Circassians, Muslims from the Caucuses. He states that the “Palestinians don’t have roots here [Israel]” and know it.”If we do not debunk this, it will be accepted as fact.” noting the well established dictum concerning repetition.

Professor Nissim Dana’s ninth book, which was release early in February, 2014, is devoted to Jewish competing religious narratives with the Palestinians. The title translated to English reads, “To Whom Does this Land Belong – a Reexamination of the Quran.”At the time, Professor Dana was head of the Multidisciplinary Department for Social and Humanities Studies at Ariel University. He instills surprise in most with his comment:
“In the Quran, which according to Islam is the word of God whose holiness cannot be minimized or exceeded, there are 10 passages which state that Allah bequeathed the land to the Jewish people” “In all of these instances, it is written that there is not only the right but the obligation placed on the Sons of Israel to inherit the land..” Further, there was no mention in the “Quran of bequeathing the land to Muslims, Arabs, Palestinians, or any other nation not called the Jewish people.”Dana asserts that there is no basis for the Palestinian claim which identifies them as descendants of the Canaanites. “The Muslims who live here in contemporary times and whose forefathers became Muslims in 622 originated in the Arabian peninsula.”

Dr. Shaul Bartal, a Middle Eastern scholar, who teaches at Bar Ilan University, co-author ef a research study with Dr. Rivka Shpak Lissak which shows that the four main clans that make up the population of Umm el-Fahn—-Makhagna, Jabrin, Mahamid and Aghbariya trace their roots back to families who immigrated to Palestine in the 17th century onward from South Arabia, Yemen and Syria. During the 19th century, many families from Egypt and Transjordan joined them.

In the words of Nadav Shragai:
“In 1939, then US President Franklin D. Roosevelt said that the immigration of Arabs to Palestine since 1921 was outpacing the immigration of Jews during the same period. Winston Churchill, who would later become Prime Minister of Britain, commented on the massive waves of Arab immigration into the country during that time.’ Despite the fact that they were never persecuted, masses of Arabs poured into the country and multiplied until the Arab population grew more than what all of world Jewry could add to the Jewish population.’” Curiously, he forgot to mention the White Paper of 1939 which made Jewish immigration illegal, nor the severe limitations on Jewish immigration during the preceding years.

Joseph E. Katz, a Middle Eastern Political and Religious History Analyst of Brooklyn, New York contributes further useful information on “Politically motivated mythology of ‘Palestine’ “through the web site Eretz Yisroel.Org.His objective was to fill in the chasm between the documented facts and the Arab claims.

Addressing the Paris Peace Conference in February, 1919, the Muslim chairman of the Syrian Delegation proclaimed, “The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 AD hardly lasted, as such, 22 years.” According to Bernard Lewis, the eminent history authority, “The word Palestine does not occur in the Old Testament—-Palestine does not occur in the New testament at all.”

Zuheir Muhsin, late Military Department Head of the PLO and member of its Executive Council is reported in the March 1977 edition of Dutch daily Trouw as saying, “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.”

David Bukay’s “The Origin and Essence of ‘Palestine’ and ‘Palestinians’ as political entities” published in Modern Diplomacy of August 12, 2016 superbly covers the period from Temple Times to the date of its publication. It is as complete as can be in demonstrating the chronology and history of the given time period. Bukay demonstrates the non appearance of a people by the name Palestinian until after the Six Day War. Cleverly, he injects the words “There was no mentioning of a ‘Palestinian’ people” at the end of many paragraphs.

In the body of his paper, Bukay notes that Kedourie was right in his brilliant study pointing out that if there had been fraud, and if “manipulations were performed, it was precisely the Arabs, masters at negotiating, who tried to change the circumstances of political history—–so as to make reality turn in their favor.”

Interestingly, the Arab representatives who appeared before the UN General Assembly in 1947—-asserted that asserted that the ‘Palestinians’ did not constitute an entity separate from the Syrians. All international decisions spoke of Arabs. The “refugees” were referred to as Arabs in the 1950s and 1960s. “Even Security Council Resolution 242 spoke only of Arab ‘refugees’ and , not of ‘Palestinians’”.

Over the years, questions have been raised as to the intent of the Allies concerning Palestine. This was simply because of the words “in Palestine” as recorded in the Balfour Declaration. History demonstrates British concerns over the reaction of the Arabs and the need for a Jewish majority. The answer is to be be found in the historical record of how the leaders expressed their thoughts.

The British Royal Commision: “The field in which the Jewish Home was to be established was understood at the time of the Balfour Declaration to be the whole of historic Palestine—–” [LoneWolf P820].

The Times: “The Jordan will not do as the eastern frontier of Palestine—-Palestine must have a good military frontier east of Jordan—–Our duty as Mandatory is to make Jewish Palestine not a struggling state but one that is capable of vigorous and independent national life—-[Lone Wolf P822].

Winston Churchill: “—itis manifestly right that the scattered Jews should have a national centre and a national home to be re-united and where else but in Palestine with which for 3,000 years they have been intimately and profoundly associated? We think it will be good for the world, good for the Jews, good for the British Empire, but also good for the Arabs who dwell in Palestine and we intend it to be so; ——-they shall share in the benefits and progress of Zionism.” [A Peace to End all Peace P519].

Lloyd George: “——It was not their idea that a Jewish State should be set up immediately by the Peace Treaty without reference to the wishes of the majority of the inhabitants.—-it was contemplated that when the time arrived for according representative institutions to Palestine, if the Jews had meanwhile responded to the opportunity afforded them by the idea of a National Home and hadbecome s definite majority of the inhabitants, then Palestine would thus become a Jewish Commonwealth.” [The Question of Palestine P315].

Winston Churchill:”There should be created in our own lifetime by the banks of the Jordan, a Jewish state under the protection of the British Crown which might comprise three to four million of Jews.” [British Pan-Arab Policy 1915-1922 P322].

Lloyd George:” No race has done better out of the fidelity with which the Allies redeemed their promises to the oppresed races than the Arabs. Owing to the tremendous sacrifices of the Allied nations, and more particularly of Britain and her Empire, the Arabs hve already won independence in Iraq, Arabia, Syria and Trans-Jordan, although most of the Arab races fought throughout the War for their Turkish oppressors.”Arabia was the only exception in that respect. The Palestinian Arabs fought for Turkish rule.”[From Time Immemorial P328].

Winston Churchill’s approval in 1922 for the hydr-electric schemes to Pinhas Rutenburg: “I am told that the Arabs would have done it for themselves. Who is going to believe that? Left to themselves, the Arabs of Palestine would not in a thousand years have taken effective steps towards the irrigation and electrification of Palestine. They would have been quite content to dwell – in the wsted sun-scorched plai9ns, letting the waters of the Jordan continue to flow unbridled and uhharnes into the Dead Sea.. [A Peace to end all Peace P523].

Smuts and Samuel: “General Smuts was confient that Britain ‘would redeem her pledge—-and a great Jewish state would ultimately rise’ . Herbert Smuel, in a speech on 2 November 1919, pointed out the diificulties involved in the ‘immediate establishment of a complete and pyrely Jewish State in Palestine’, but in the same breath recommended that ‘with minimum of delay, the country may become a purely self-governing Commonwealth under the auspices of an established Jewish majority.’”[The Question of Palestine P314].

Richard Meinertzhagen and Balfour:” Meinertzhagen – Do you regard this Declaration as a charter for ultimate Jewish sovereignty in Palestine or are you trying to graft a Jewish poulation to an Arab population? Balfour: My personal hope is that the Jews will make good in Palestine and eventually found a Jewish State—-” [Th Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel under International Law P84].

For too many years now, Israeli governments have allowed Arab propaganda and outight lies to dominate. Military gains have been offset by failures in the war of ideas. Our enemies have become masters at the art of spreding ambsolute myths. Utilizing international law can at all times serve our interests, whether the issue at hane is “occupation”, “settlements”, human rights and who is indigenous to Palestine. Indeed, the fabrication of a “Palestinian” people should have been fully exposed many years ago.The well known reformed liberal editor of the New York Times, A.M. Rosenthal is on recoed stating the “Truth cannot guarantee success in a search for peace, but lies can guarantee failure. When it comes to decade after decade of murder and torture, silence is a lie.”[March 25, 1990].

With worldwide turmoil, destruction and death at the hands of Islamic savages the very suggestion that Israel is the source of instabilty in the Middle East begs a harsh respone. Israel’s security is no small matter. And memory? Israel Kasnettt’s “Learning the lessons” published on September 14, 2012 drives home the alert, “Eleven years after the 9/11 tragedy, the West still doesn’t understand the dangers of radical Islam.” Five years later, his paper is as topical as it was then. Kasnett notes that “The resulting 9/11 Commission Report stated that ‘the 9/11 attacks were a shock, but they should not have come as a surprise. Islamic extremists had given plenty of warnings that they meant to kill Americans indiscriminately and in large numbers.’”

At the time despite all that was known about Iran, Hillary Clinton and Victoria Nuland were informing the world that they “had no intention of putting either red lines or deadlines in front of the Iranians.” And yet, as Netanyahu pointed out they had no right to put a red light before Israel.Kasnett issued a warning to the US and other Western countries. They “should take heed of Shakespeare’s words in Henry VI, Part 1:’Delays have dangerous ends.’” The core lesson had not been learn then or now., “Stop being afraid of Islam.” He also quotes the famed historian Bernard Lewis;”Ever since Osama bin Laden declared war on America, the resumption of the struggle for religious dominance of the world that began in the seventh century, the West has completely misunderstood the true intentions of radical Islam.”

In “The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror”, Lewis writes ‘For most of the 14 centuries of recorded Muslim history, Jihad was most commonly interpreted to mean armed struggle for the defense or advancement of Muslim power. In muslim tradition, the world is divided into two houses; the House of Islam [Dar al-Islam] in which Muslim governments rule and Muslim law prevails, and the House of War [Dar al-Harb], the rest of the world, still inhabited and, more important, ruled by infidels. The presumption is that the duty of Jihad will continue—until all the world either adopts the Muslim faith or submits to Muslim rule.” The Western world is afraid of Islam, cowed by Islamist aggression.

About the Author
Alex Rose was born in South Africa in 1935 and lived there until departing for the US in 1977 where he spent 26 years. He is an engineering consultant. For 18 years he was employed by Westinghouse until age 60 whereupon he became self-employed. He was also formerly on the Executive of Americans for a Safe Israel and a founding member of CAMERA, New York (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and today one of the largest media monitoring organizations concerned with accuracy and balanced reporting on Israel). In 2003 he and his wife made Aliyah to Israel and presently reside in Ashkelon.
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