Sunday, December 11, 2011

Palestinian Identity and the Holocaust


Elsewhere in the progressive-left Jewish blogosphere, a liberal Jew is screaming at another liberal Jew that the second liberal Jew is a vicious racist for daring to wonder about the origins of Palestinian national identity. As I have noted on this blog there is a long laundry list of things that one must not be allowed to discuss lest that discussion undermines the "Palestinian narrative" of total victimhood:

Anonymous said...

Just as Holocaust deniers raise "questions" about historical facts, and just like antisemitic opponents of Israel "question" whether Jews are truly a people, you and your ilk try to undermine the legitimacy of the other side by raising "questions" about the Palestinians as a people. Your motive is just as obvious as are the motives of holocaust deniers. You fool no one.

December 11, 2011 6:34 AM

The problem with "anonymous" is that he or she thinks that truth is a function of politics rather than something unto itself. What is true for anonymous is what promotes his or her political worldview and if something contradicts that worldview then the person doing the contradicting must be a "racist" or some immoral person, which is what is indicated above with the word "ilk." Only immoral people have an "ilk." Everyone else has colleagues and partners and friends, and so forth. If one is accused of having an "ilk," however, than obviously one is being accused of a low moral character, which is a standard response to anyone daring to encroach upon the "Palestinian narrative."

Anonymous, of course, is clearly suffering from a significant case of Jewish Stockholm Syndrome. He thinks that merely questioning the "Palestinian narrative" represents "racism" whereas the truth of the matter is that the "Palestinian narrative" itself is entirely racist against Jews and promotes the view that the Jewish residents of the Middle East are racist, colonialist, imperialist, monsters. In this way the "Palestinian narrative" contains the blood-libel directly within it, but if anyone points that out they are accused of "racism."

It's a very sick game, but there is one simple way of getting around it. Stick with the truth. If what the other side has is propaganda and lies, than what we have is a truthful understanding of history. This is why anonymous' correlation between Holocaust denial and the question of Palestinian national identity is little more than so much anti-Jewish nonsense.

The Holocaust happened. Around 6 million Jews were slaughtered for the crime of being Jewish. The problem with Holocaust denial is that it seeks to undermine our understanding of an actual historical event. It is in this way anti-historical.

Questioning Palestinian national identity is just the opposite. It is not anti-historical to do so, but an attempt to understand the actual historical truth. When did the Palestinians begin to identify themselves as a people? When did the majority of Palestinians begin to do so? These are questions that professional historians ask themselves when they want to understand the origins of any people, including the Palestinians. So long as we actually stick to the historical record, there is no reason why not to question either Palestinian national identity or, for that matter, the Holocaust.

But stick with what we know. We know for a fact that around 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust and we know for a fact that the great majority of the local Arab population did not consider themselves "Palestinian" until very recent decades. If saying so is "racist" then the historical record is, itself, "racist." And if the historical record is racist then this says much more about the accuser than the accused.

The fact of the matter, of course, is that the Palestinians are a brand-spanking new people and claiming otherwise flies in the face of the truth. But, hey, if you think that truth is a function of politics then the historical record probably does not mean a whole lot to you.

Clearly it means nothing to "anonymous."



  1. Some more truth from various Arabs:

    "Princeton University Prof. Philip Hitti, testified against partition before the Anglo-American Committee in 1946, he said: "There is no such thing as 'Palestine' in history, absolutely not." In fact, Palestine is never explicitly mentioned in the Koran, rather it is called "the holy land" (al-Arad al-Muqaddash).Prior to partition, Palestinian Arabs did not view themselves as having a separate identity. When the First Congress of Muslim-Christian Associations met in Jerusalem in February 1919 to choose Palestinian representatives for the Paris Peace Conference, the following resolution was adopted:We consider Palestine as part of Arab Syria, as it has never been separated from it at any time. We are connected with it by national, religious, linguistic, natural, economic and geographical bonds.In 1937, a local Arab leader, Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, told the Peel Commission, which ultimately suggested the partition of Palestine: "There is no such country [as Palestine]! 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented! There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria."The representative of the Arab Higher Committee to the United Nations submitted a statement to the General Assembly in May 1947 that said "Palestine was part of the Province of Syria" and that, "politically, the Arabs of Palestine were not independent in the sense of forming a separate political entity." A few years later, Ahmed Shuqeiri, later the chairman of the PLO, told the Security Council: "It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria."Palestinian Arab nationalism is largely a post-World War I phenomenon that did not become a significant political movement until after the 1967 Six-Day War and Israel's capture of the West Bank."


    Too long to quote but some interesting history here.