Saturday, December 30, 2017

Heritage Theft: A Response to Dani Ishai Behan

Michael Lumish

{Also published at the Elder of Ziyon, Jews Down Under and Vlaamse Vrienden van Israël.}
"We say to him [Netanyahu], when he claims that they [Jews] have a historical right dating back to 3000 years B.C.E.—we say that the nation of Palestine upon the land of Canaan had a 7,000-year history B.C.E. This is the truth, which must be understood, and we have to note it, in order to say: 'Netanyahu, you are incidental in history. We are the people of history. We are the owners of history.'" - Mahmoud Abbas, May 14, 2011.

Dani Ishai Behan has a blog post for the Times of Israel entitled, Jesus Was Not A Palestinian, Or Even An Arab in which he argues that Jesus was not a Palestinian... or even an Arab.

He is, of course, correct and the very fact that he feels it necessary to remind us is because many Palestinian-Arabs do make ridiculous claims such as that "Jesus was the first Palestinian shaheed" and do so as part of the larger project of heritage theft against the Jewish people.

They also do so out of a not unjustified assumption concerning the idiocy and ideological blinkertude of the humanitarian racist West that enjoys blaming Jewish people for the violence against us.

This is no small matter, but it is the kind of thing that travels beneath the awareness of typical mainstream reporters.

Those who are less familiar with the Long Arab / Muslim War against the Jews of the Middle East than is Behan might wonder why he feels it necessary to acknowledge the obvious? The reason that he does so is because the war against the Jews is as much a propaganda campaign - a campaign for delegitimization - as it is a campaign of violence, terrorism, and physical intimidation for the purpose of driving Jews back into diaspora and, thus, helplessness.

The Phases of the Long Arab / Muslim War against the Jews include:
Phase 1, 1920 - 1947: Riots and Massacres

Phase 2, November 1947 - April 1948: The Civil War in Palestine

Phase 3, 1948 - 1973: Conventional Warfare

Phase 4, 1964 - Present: The Terror War

Phase 5, 1975 - Present: The Delegitimization Effort
When Palestinian-Arabs claim the Jewish historical figure of Jesus as a "Muslim martyr" they are engaged in the process of heritage theft.

The purpose of this cultural thievery is to displace the indigenous Jewish population with Arab colonists, both physically and culturally and to do so as a matter of self-righteous "social justice."

This is the insidious irony of the entire project. They are seeking to turn Palestinian-Arabs into the New Jews while transforming the Jewish people into the New Nazis. But most importantly it is to sew confusion in the minds of interested and well-meaning outsiders.

Parisian intellectuals, for example, have about as much collective knowledge of the Long Arab / Muslim War against the Jews as I have about Parisian intellectuals. That is, although such people have no idea about the conflict they are constantly encouraged to view it as one between a racist, colonialist, imperialist, apartheid, Jewish, war-machine versus a small, bunny-like, native population that wants nothing more than to be left in peace to tend their sacred olive groves.

The enemies of the Jewish people, throughout the Middle East and Europe, therefore fabricated the propagandistic illusion that the Jews are interlopers on historically Jewish land while the Arab colonists are the persecuted indigenous population.

Heritage theft is part of this process.

Although transforming the historical figure of Jesus into a Palestinian-Arab is probably the most ridiculous and audacious of such examples, it is certainly not the only one.

After all, if the Arabs can abscond with Jesus they can certainly take Anne Frank which is why we sometimes see her in a keffiyeh within circles associated with antisemitic anti-Zionism.

Another obvious example, as Behan points out, is the obscuring of Jewish history on Jewish land through the widely accepted usage of "West Bank" for Judea and Samaria. The truth is that the tiny bit of land along the eastern Mediterranean was known as Judea and Samaria for millennia.

As Behan writes:
Judaea is the Roman/Latin cognate of Judah, which is itself the Anglicized version of the Hebrew name for the land: ‘Yehudah’. We are called Jews/Yehudim because we come from Judea/Judah. The languages spoken there – Hebrew and Aramaic – formed part of the basis for diaspora tongues such as Yiddish.
Yet another example - one that I find particularly toxic and obnoxious - is the effort to equate the "Nakba" with the Holocaust.

The effort is to always balance the historical claims of the Jewish side with the ahistorical claims of their Palestinian-Arab enemies.

As Bashir Bashir, professor of Political Science at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and co-editor, along with Amos Goldberg of The Holocaust and the Nakba: Memory, National Identity and Jewish-Arab Partnership tells us concerning their edited volume:
Zionism tries to treat the Holocaust as both universal and particular: it is supposed to be significance to all of humanity, but it is also the patrimony of Zionism, which has the right to decide how it is invoked and understood. Putting the Holocaust and the Nakba together in a common frame disrupts this exceptionalism and is meant to provoke new thinking that exceeds the rigid, dichotomous, and oppositional boundaries of ethno-nationalism.
To be clear, neither Bashir, nor Goldberg, seek equivalence between the slaughter of the millions of Jews in Europe and the fact that some Arabs fled Israel, and some were driven from Israel, after launching a war against the Jews in November of 1947.

But, nonetheless, they are walking an exceedingly tight rope and it is not the least bit obvious that "putting the Holocaust and the Nakba together in a common frame" does anything other than draw an ethical equivalence, despite their suggestions otherwise.

What Dani Ishai Behan very well understands, but what most observers of the conflict do not, is that there is not the slightest ethical correspondence between the Nazi slaughter of the Jews in Europe and the efforts among Jewish Holocaust survivors to save themselves and their families from the Long Arab / Muslim War that well preceded the existence of Nazis and that continues to this day.

Following the death of Muhammad in the seventh-century, the Muslims of the Arabian Peninsula conquered the Byzantine Empire and almost went forward to conquer the entirety of Europe.

I am afraid that in doing so they do not also get to conquer either Jewish or Christian history.

Jesus was a Jew and everyone knows it.

When Palestinian-Arabs claim otherwise they make themselves look like fools.


  1. So I was watching one of those pop sci documentaries on the Tower of Babel. Fun fact from The Smithsonian.......the Jews were invented (their word) by the Babylonians in the 7th century after 'people' (their word) were exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon....

    Hmmmm... fascinating. So we're all Babylonians now.

    1. Perhaps we are Babylonian, in a sense.

      The Jews are just one among many ancient tribal peoples from the Levant.

      There are no hard lines.

      The Jews... or the Israelites... or the Hebrews... emerged out of a mish-mash of competing peoples in what they used to call the Cradle of Civilization.

      {The West no longer uses that phrase because weak Euros are ashamed of it.}

      But those of us who are of Jewish extraction are also Jebusite and Hittite and Phoenician, among many other clans and groups and tribes.

      I am no expert on the history and traditions of the ancient Israelites, but we were one among many and we cross-fertilized with all of those people, physically and culturally.

      There are three major differences, tho.

      1) The Jews, as a self-identified group, survived.

      We are the only one among our old friends, or enemies, to do so.

      2) By giving the world The Book we influenced the entire future history of the world up to, and including, this very day.

      3) We still pay for it.

    2. Not so sure how many of the Israelites mixed, not counting the 10 tribes to the north that evaporated.

      This seems especially so in Babylonia, where Israelites started to be known as the Jews.

      For a cultural Jew without much knowledge of the Hebrew Bible, what it says and means, this series of videos is highly recommended:

  2. That paragraph on the Holocaust and Zionism is a bunch of gobbledygook. It evokes no clarity, it only muddies the waters, IMV.
    Putting the Holocaust and Nakba in a common frame, puts a square peg in a round hole. It is not to "provoke new thinking" or any other catchy, trendy phrases. It is to conflate separate, unequal, and non-analogous events with each other for some very unattractive political ends.

    1. I think that I am going to take a closer look at that book.

  3. Yes, everyone loves Ahed Tamimi.

    It seems to me that assaulting a soldier is maybe not such a small thing.

    Obviously throughout most of the rest of the world people do not generally survive even symbolic attacks on the power of the state.

    So, what should Israel's response be?

    In any case, thanks for the link to Israellycool.

    We are fans around these parts.

  4. Haven't Christians also engaged in heritage theft?

    Wonder what Jesus would say about whether what has happened in his name was according to his intent.

    1. Did not assert that any such claim was made, but only that Christians also committed heritage theft, organic derivation or not, with tragic consequences for Jews.

    2. School, do you draw no distinction between the degree and quality of Christian heritage theft and Islamic heritage theft? For that matter, it is not as if Judaism did not have religious predecessors that were borrowed from, either.

      But Christian heritage theft - or supersessionism which would be the main type - represents no threat to either Judaism or the Jewish people today... at least not compared to the rise of political Islam and the efforts among the enemies of the Jewish people to rob us of our history.

    3. There are different aspects, past and present.

      In the past, at the beginning, the creation of Christianity itself was heritage theft, especially if one looks at Constantine's role, taking the good, but intentionally creating something that Jews could never accept.

      Today's threat is no longer heritage threat, but more in the form of mainline churches growing adoption of Palestinian narrative.

      Just because militant Islam is more pronounced today does not mean Christians have not tried to rob Jews of their history or their lives.


  6. Michael Lumish, you correctly accuse Muslims of heritage theft against the Jewish people.

    But you are just as bad as they are, when you falsely slander the Jewish people by saying that they “emerged out of a mish-mash of competing peoples”.

    This super-ignorant remark totally ignores and denies everything that is written in the Jewish Bible, also known as the Tanach or the OT (Only Testament).

    I also feel demoralized by your refusal to stop using bad language on this blog, despite my best efforts to persuade you to stop. You may find this hard to believe, but there are still decent and spiritually-sensitive people alive today, who are offended by the incessant and relentless use of bad language that surrounds us 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.

    The Jewish claim to the Land of Israel, and the reason why Jews want it, are both based on the Jewish Bible. By not believing in the Jewish Bible, and by not obeying its teachings, you undermine the Jewish claim to the Land of Israel.

    Last but not least, there is more wisdom in the Biblical Book of Proverbs than there is in 5,000 Harvard PhDs.

    1. The Jewish Bible is disbelieved by the majority of those we want to convince. Worse, it's a shaky foundation even for Jews, because it makes our right to the Land of Israel conditional.

    2. I am not anti-religious, but surely you would agree that the Jewish people were one tribe among others in the Land of Canaan and that, ultimately, we emerged from that land as a distinct people from within the various tribes and groups that made up that land.

      I hardly think that this is a controversial statement.

    3. Israelites differentiated themselves as a distinct people before they returned to Canaan, and some Canaanites were not conquered, but assimilated.

      As for the comment that the Hebrew Bible is a shaky foundation for Jews, what nonsense.

    4. Well, the Bible is a primary source and therefore is used by historians, among other primary sources, to piece together ancient history.

      It is not, however, a history text.

      It is that from which history, as a field of knowledge, along with the works of Herodotus and Thucydides, is ultimately derived in the West.

      It is also the most significant primary source that establishes the Jewish people as the people indigenous to the Land of Israel.

      In fact, now that I think on it, when Abbas claims that the Palestinian-Arabs are the "owners of history" even that is a form of heritage theft.

      The Jewish people, along with the ancient Greeks, developed history as an academic and objectively-inclined field of knowledge.

      Much of this is due to the historical aspects of the Bible.

      The Arabs who call themselves "Palestinian" had nothing to do with it.

  7. Another thing:

    If you delete my comment or ignore it, then I will become your enemy and start attacking you on other blogs.

    1. Delete your account?

      Become my enemy?

      Attack me on other blogs?

      Jesus Christ, Mr. Cohen, I am sorry that you feel this way.

    2. You can say that again, brother.

  8. Trudy, I hear you, but I am not convinced that we should just ignore the delegitimization campaign against Israel and, thus, against the Jewish people as a whole. It is due, at least in part, to the delegitimization campaign that the EU and the US and the UN continue to fund Arab efforts to murder Jews.

    Sharp elbows and fists I am good with, tho.

  9. Trudy,
    The whole "those people were there first" narrative has resonated with people, and has therefore been used as a justification for seeing the Jewish State as illegitimate, born in sin. It used to be the first thing people would say to me whenever the subject was brought up.
    This is the PLO's entire strategy in a nutshell.