Levi Meir Clancy
Asian Jew fighting for Queer and Zionist liberation

Love, hate and Palestophilia

An employee of the Islamic foundation administering the Temple Mount stands guard, enforcing on a ban on Jewish pilgrims. The policy is based on an ancient Islamic tradition that Jews have been forsaken and corrupted, thus losing the right to enter Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem and Hebron.
An employee of the Islamic foundation administering the Temple Mount stands guard, enforcing a ban on Jewish pilgrims approaching the Dome of the Rock. The policy is based on an ancient Islamic tradition that Jews have been forsaken and corrupted, thus losing the right to enter Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem and Hebron. Photo by Levi Meir Clancy.

The inner conflicts within Palestophilia — the glorification of a “Free Palestine” based on the belief that this issue is the cornerstone of a better world — are not viewed as conflicts by Palestophiles themselves. Instead, they are embraced as leaps of faith.

To accept one leap of faith is a step towards accepting the next. And once they are all accepted, then — like any good conspiracy theory — they become a sort of worldview, an acid test on anything and everything. The rise of Palestophilia mirrors the rise of other global movements such as Christian nationalism, Islamic nationalism, and White nationalism, which have sought the extinction of the religious יהודי Yehudi (Jew), the historical יהודי Yehudi, or the ethnic יהודי Yehudi, respectively. Palestophilia seeks to destroy the political יהודי Yehudi.

Yet, from my perspective — and perhaps, the perspective of many יהודים Yehudim more broadly — the act of embracing the leaps of faith baked into Palestophilia seems like a ritual of self-humiliation. To not only make such leaps into a cornerstone of a movement but to also center those leaps around יהודים Yehudim means making a mistake that has been repeated for thousands of years. It is a disclosure of deep and unchecked bias, and of a mind and soul adrift in washed-up empires.

Banner of imperialism

The flag that Palestophiles rally around is not an original creation. It was a banner first used to represent collaboration between Arab imperialists and the British Empire, against the Ottoman Empire.

Today, various Arab states use it with only minor design changes ranging from a star here to a line there. Yet for Palestophiles, the same old British-Arab banner is used without any adulterations.

It is used to represent “resistance” to the “injustice” that only 99.8% of territory suggested for Arab mono-rule came to be, and not a solid 100% — the sole exception being ארץ ישראל Ereẓ Yisrael (the Land of Israel).

Boundaries without heritage

The borders claimed by Palestophiles do not stem from any unique, free-standing linguistic, cultural, or ethnic basis in non-Jewish history. The borders chanted by Palestophiles at rallies — the river and the sea — are the eastern and western edges of a boundary system defined by יהודים Yehudim, along with the northern snowy mountains, and the southern Negev-Sinai wilderness.

On a personal level, I cannot relate to hating self-determination by יהודים Yehudim so much that I chant for its total end , while insisting that the somewhat arbitrary boundaries of יהודים Yehudim specifically must be meticulously observed. Nor can I relate to a belief system that then says this meticulous observance is at the core of Palestophile morality.

Domination as legitimacy

The internationally recognized Palestine government and all its major competitors (Hamas, etc) consistently define themselves in two fundamental ways.

In their charters or basic laws, they are firstly representatives of a self-governing local Arab community that is part of one indivisible Arab nation. Secondly, they elevate Islamic law to the status of state religion and the source for legislation.

I cannot relate to the Palestophile’s belief in an “existential cause” which is already addressed by dozens of constitutionally defined Arab and Islamic states. This indicates to me that Palestophilia is ultimately about domination, rather than just a simple belief in sovereignty. However, the region is already dominated by a confederation of Arab and Islamic states.

The State of Israel is a tiny exception to the status quo along the Mediterranean, which is total domination by White, Arab, Christian, and Muslim majorities. However, for Palestophiles, the existence of the State of Israel is viewed as subversive, and its survival as vindictive.

The practical outcome of what a Palestophile desires is a West Asia and North Africa where the eyes of the highest political יהודי Yehudi are always below the feet of the lowest political Arab.

Thus, the only distinct aspect of Palestophilia is not what it seeks to bring politically, but rather what it seeks to remove. As it is now, there will always be at least one political יהודי Yehudi who can stand at eye level with political non-Jews. However, this is viewed by Palestophiles as an aberration in the natural order of things. In the words of Ruhollah Khomeini, the political יהודי Yehudi is a cancerous tumor that must be removed.

The decadence and privilege of that mindset is hard for me to imagine.

Conflicting national identity

To this day, Arab nationalism cannot fully decide about ארץ ישראל Ereẓ Yisrael. On an ongoing basis, the PLO expels parties who believe that Syria includes all of the Levant, based on how Damascus’ authority traditionally extended south beyond Yafo.

In addition, the PLO continually expels parties who want to resurrect the Arab empires and believe North Africa and West Asia should be dominated by a centralized, singular United Arab Republic. Today, ארץ ישראל Ereẓ Yisrael remains squished between two countries — the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Syrian Arab Republic — which both already carry “Arab Republic” in their name for that reason.

Simply put, Arab nationalists — whether Palestophiles or not — are insecure about fundamental questions of localized self-governance or broad neo-imperialism.

Denial, denial, denial

Imagine the Palestophile’s struggle to constantly reassure people that their movement is not about יהודים Yehudim.

Sure, their borders are based on a belief in supersession from Jews. And yes, the state religion also claims in its holy book that it is a perfection of what Jews have corrupted. Even the folklore of Arab ethnogenesis is ultimately about Jews, by making a contradistinction from יצחק Yiẓḥak (Isaac) and claiming Arab descent is from ישמעאל Işmaél instead.

But wait, it gets worse. According to the Palestine government’s legal system, specifically Jews are banned from owning real estate in ארץ ישראל Ereẓ Yisrael. And to find the root of such policies, one must turn to the first Palestophile nationalist, Amin Al-Husseini, who explicitly recorded in his memoir that his nationalism was, indeed, about a joint fight with Hitler against “International Jewry” — a claim echoed by modern groups like Hamas, which quoted the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in their founding charter or Fatah, whose chairman focused his doctorate thesis on supporting Holocaust revisionism.

עברית Ivrit (Hebrew) in the soil

In the mental map of the Palestophile, almost all the major place names come from עברית Ivrit, except for a few in Greek or Latin and a few in Arabic. Imagine having to reckon with the יהדות Yahadut (Jewishness) inscribed on the map itself, while wanting to wipe out the יהודים Yehudim living and breathing it.

And the phrase “wipe out” is not an exaggeration — there are no protections against the policies that caused over 99% of יהודים Yehudim to be expelled or flee from Arab states. In fact, the Palestophiles embrace the same “antizionist” policies that, when put into practice, aborted thousands of years of יהדות Yahadut from Rabat to Baghdad.

Palestophilia: by the billions, for the billions

After all of that, imagine being a White middle aged person in Santa Rosa, or an Arab teenager in Tunis, or a Muslim mother in Tehran — and feeling that not only the destruction of the State of Israel (i.e., an atonement) but the adoption of Palestophilia in its place (i.e., a redemption) is a means of perfecting the world.

However, for a lot of people, that view of atonement and redemption may just come naturally.

Billions of people decorate their places of worship with statues and symbols of the mutilated corpse of a Judean Jew, believing that focusing their prayers in that direction offers a path to salvation. On top of that, billions more people have a book that says figures like Moses were in fact “good Muslims” because of the notion that Jewish people have supposedly accumulated so much “corruptness” that it would be wrong to describe a spiritual hero as simply Jewish.

This made me think about the Palestophilia of my neighbor, who raised Christmas lights and a Palestine flag at about the same time. I reflected on the overlap between the two symbols, and the connection between decorating one’s home in symbolism linked to the death of the religious יהודי Yehudi as well symbolism linked to the death of the political יהודי Yehudi. For my neighbor, this made their house into a home.

If I were to look back fifty or more generations ago and meet my ancestors, they would recognize my name, my language, my identity, my spirituality, and my sense of homeland as their own. On the other hand, if my neighbor looked back even just a few generations, they would meet an ancestor who finds them unrecognizable, or even rejects them. However, there would be one thing my neighbor and their ancestor would almost certainly have in common. It would not necessarily be a language, a peoplehood, a faith, or even a sense of home: it would be prejudice towards יהודים Yehudim.

About the Author
Levi Meir Clancy lives in California, and is the founder of Foundation of Ours, which supports Jewish expression and Israel education. He was born in Venice Beach into a multiracial Jewish, Ryukyuan, and White family. He started university in 2004, when he was thirteen years old. in 2014, he moved to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and lived there until 2022, when he was detained as a security threat due to his Jewish identity. He was repatriated to the United States, where he works for Jewish causes.
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