Tuesday, October 17

Just what is Palestine?

I wish I had paid more attention in History and Geography classes at school. If you asked me to draw an outline of Israel, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Jordan . . I would get none of them right. I might have got them in about the right area on that eastern bank of the Mediterranean Sea but that's about as good as it gets and I have no idea where Palestine is. Here's a map to help anyone as poorly informed as I am. 

This is a bad area and seems to be where trouble has always been brewing. I can't remember a time when something bad wasn't happening in this area. Now things really are looking grim after the most awful attack by Hamas terrorists from Gaza which killed over 1400 people in Israel, shocking, deliberate execution of civilian men, women, children and even babies which breaks every rule in the book of decency. Unsurprisingly, Israel has hit back and, as I write, everyone seems to be saying they should be careful not to overreact, start a regional conflict, World War III and so forth. No-one appears to have suggested that Hamas might have given some warning of their proposed attack or consider whether it was reasonable to shoot people who were simply having a meal with friends or celebrating at a music festival, or chop down someone running away, or take children hostage, parading mutilated bodies of girls in the back of trucks as they drove through town almost unchallenged. 

There seems to be an underlying dislike of Jewish people and, whilst I don't think Israel is home to Jewish people alone, this translates to simply disliking Israel. I read about this in places far and wide - from Labour Party troubles with historic antisemitism in its ranks to bad treatment of Jewish people in some neighbourhoods of London, to say nothing of some organisations which appear to believe that Israel shouldn't even exist and, of course, we should all be aware of the appalling atrocities carried out by Germany's Nazi forces and sympathisers in World War II. Following recent events, many national leaders have made it clear that they 'stand with' Israel and some of us are committed to support Israel militarily too but I sense a reluctance, much as we have remained on the side-lines, watching what happens in Ukraine, we remain conveniently distanced from that strange area where we are not entirely sure about who belongs where and whether Israel has been mean to Palestinians in the past.

There is, however, also a far more disturbing hatred of 'Israel' which appears to have been fomented by external forces but nevertheless appearing as big demonstrations in British towns and cities. I don't see many Israeli flags being waved and some institutions even seem to be nervous about displaying the Star of David for fear that they'll be attacked. A casual observer on the streets of most of Europe would take the view that the world takes the Hamas side and whatever they did was bad but somehow kinda justified by something in the past and that Israeli forces now need to be very careful and would they please give notice of whatever they're thinking of doing and maybe we'll be charging them with war offences if they don't behave well and are not nice to people in Gaza. It's extraordinary. Have we all been conned by the very clever Hamas-supporting international groups who feed the media and twist the story. Read the BBC accounts of events to date and these are hugely sympathetic of the plight of Palestinians and how worried everyone is that the Israeli IDF will 'overreact'. After the first day's reporting and subsequent quotes from carefully-worded statements by politicians left, right and centre we read very little now of any sadness or loss or pain that the Israeli people may be suffering. You do get the feeling that even the BBC are not very keen on Jewish people.

I need some better context for all this in order to have confidence in saying more. I want to say that I believe that Israel has every right to seek out every single supporter of Hamas, and Hezbollah while they're at it, put them on trial and lock them away somewhere for many years. If some innocent civilians get hurt in the process because the cowardly terrorists hide amongst civilian families, in schools and by hospitals then that is a price that Palestinians must accept for permitting terrorist organisations to flourish and take control of so much of their lives there. After all, Hamas supporters were, I think, elected by Palestinians at the last election for government. Presumably voters were aware of their views then so maybe cannot be regarded as totally innocent after all.

I am still not well-enough informed, though, and so turned to this excellent article by Roger Kimball in The Spectator's US edition yesterday.

It’s so cute when politicians like AOC and Rashida Tlaib, to say nothing of hysteric undergraduates and ill-informed lefties across the country, complain that Israel is an “apartheid state” that is illegitimately “occupying” the land West of the Jordan River from the Golan Heights down to the border of the Sinai Peninsula. 

Responding to the murderous attacks on Israeli civilians by Hamas on October 7, AOC decried “the occupation of Palestine” while Tlaib urged “ending the occupation, and dismantling the apartheid system” that can “lead to resistance.”

Hermeneuts of the world, unite! What does Tlaib mean by “resistance” here? Slaughtering innocent partygoers? Incinerating and beheading babies? Indiscriminately raping then murdering hostages? And what is the force of “lead to”? Is it meant to suggest that Israel is somehow to blame for such acts of “resistance” because — because why? Because the Jewish people occupy the place that was 1) their ancestral homeland and 2) with which they were reinvested by the Balfour Declaration of 1917, by the victorious Brits after World War One and and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, explicitly to provide a “national home for the Jewish people,” and 3) by the creation of the state of Israel in 1948?

What group of people do they think belongs there?  

“Palestinians” is the usual answer.  

But who or what are the “Palestinians”?

“People from Palestine,” you say.  

But what is Palestine?

From time immemorial, Jews occupied the spot history knows as “Judaea.” What happened to that? Gibbon said that Hadrian, who ruled from AD 117 to 138, was one of the “five good emperors.”  Maybe so, but there is a reason that the Jews proverbially accompanied any mention of Hadrian with the imprecation, “May God crush his bones.” 

Hadrian brutally put down the Bar Kokhba revolt of AD 132-136 and, in an effort to stamp out any remnants of Jewish nationalism killed, or exiled the entire population and renamed “Judaea” “Syrian Palestine.”  

The “Palestinians” that we know and love today were an invention of the KGB and their puppet Yasser Arafat, an educated, middle-class Arab of Egyptian origin who devoted his life to murderous anti-American mischief. (Among other things, he arranged for the murder of Cleo Noel, the US ambassador to Sudan.)

Ion Mihai Pacepa, the former chief of Romanian intelligence, defected to the US and wrote about the links between Arafat and the KGB: “Arafat was an important undercover operative for the KGB,” Pacepa wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

Right after the 1967 Six Day Arab-Israeli war, Moscow got him appointed to chairman of the PLO. Egyptian ruler Gamal Abdel Nasser, a Soviet puppet, proposed the appointment. In 1969 the KGB asked Arafat to declare war on American “imperial-Zionism” during the first summit of the Black Terrorist International, a neo-fascist pro-Palestine organization financed by the KGB and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. It appealed to him so much, Arafat later claimed to have invented the imperial-Zionist battle cry. But in fact, “imperial-Zionism” was a Moscow invention, a modern adaptation of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” and long a favorite tool of Russian intelligence to foment ethnic hatred. The KGB always regarded antisemitism plus anti-imperialism as a rich source of anti-Americanism.

Somehow, those details are omitted by the “pro-Palestinian” lobby in their pursuit of ecstatic antisemitism, as is the inconvenient fact that “prior to the PLO Charter being released in 1964, no one referred to Palestinians with the same intent as used today. There is a reason no mention exists prior to that moment. The KGB had not created the fictitious people until that time.”

Don’t believe it? How about this statement from Zuheir Mohsen, a senior PLO leader, in 1977:  

"The Palestinian people do not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity… Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism. Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity exists only for tactical reasons."

The history of the Levant makes for a complicated story, not least its recent history. I will not try to tell it all here. But the idea that the Jews are illegitimately occupying territory that really belongs to “the Palestinians” is a politically-motivated historical falsehood that only an unhappy terrorist or a half-educated Western leftie, could believe. 

Maybe you know this already. I certainly was not aware of such a Palestinian state. It explains why I couldn't find 'Palestine' on a map. It doesn't help solve any of this crazy conflict, of course, but I can speak now with a little better understanding and try to argue with all those people waving Palestinian flags and shouting bad things about Israel. 

Lastly, with all this woke stuff from the last few years going on, you really do have to wonder that it is entirely OK to rant and rave publicly about how bad the jews are or how much you might hate Israel or Israelis or those people you see in North London with long sideburn hair, odd black hats and often a beard but dare to criticise Black Lives Matter or object out loud to kids getting treatment to reassign their gender or just feel uncomfortable peeing next to a man in a frock and you're in big trouble. Does any Pride supporter really think that gay, lesbian, queer or whatever people would last more than five minutes in Hamas-Hezbollah Land? If anyone's backing the wrong side then they are. But so too are an awful lot of ordinary British people and I can only assume that it is because they're either stupid or just ill-informed. Like I have been.

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