The unvarnished truth (and yes, there is such a thing), is a rare commodity in the political realm: Most of the time it is sacrificed to political purposes, or at best obscured.
But it does exist.
MK Bezalel Smotrich (Chair, Religious Zionists) is one member of the Knesset (there are a few others) who is capable of eschewing what is politically correct. With his direct and forceful style, he speaks out without varnishing the facts.
Thus he makes many uncomfortable.
However, there are those – myself included – who find much to applaud in his statements.
See here what Smotrich recently had to say to the plenum of the Knesset with regard to the fact that there is no such thing as a ”Palestinian people.”
What Smotrich says is that the notion of a “Palestinian people” was a construct invented in recent times to counter the Jews’ ancient historical claim to the Land of Israel. It’s that simple, and that accurate.
Before Israeli independence, it was the Jews who lived in Palestine who were referred to as “Palestinians,” while the Arabs referred to themselves as belonging to “Greater Syria.” Early legal/diplomatic documents made no reference to “Palestinians.” You will find no reference either to a Palestinian people or a Palestinian state in UN Security Council Resolution 242, drafted right after the Six Day War.
The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded in 1964 by an Egyptian, Ahmad Shukeiri. That inveterate terrorist Yasser Arafat – the leader of the “Palestinian people” who took over as head of the PLO in 1969 – was Egyptian as well. The PLO was not founded to help the “Palestinian people” secure a state, but to take down Israel.
Before 1967, when Gaza was in Egypt’s hands, and Jordan controlled Judea & Samaria, the PLO put a statement in its charter declaring that it did not claim Gaza or Judea & Samaria: they were seeking only the land that the Jews controlled for their state. After Israel liberated Gaza and Judea & Samaria, the PLO changed its charter and laid claim to those areas too. This perhaps says it all.
Smotrich refers to the parameters that define a “people,” including language. In point of fact, the “Palestinians” who live in Gaza speak an Arabic more like Egyptian Arabic, while, of course, those in Judea & Samaria speak more of a Jordanian Arabic.
One definition of a “people” that I have discovered is that it is a “social entity possessing a clear identity and its own characteristics.” Obviously this is not the case with the people referred to as “Palestinians,” whose identity was created in recent times.
And yet, this political construct of a “Palestinian people” has been embraced internationally. So much so, and so passionately, that there are cries for the “right” of this “people” to a sovereign state. An incredible phenomenon so totally based on myth that I have long since concluded it is essentially a function of anti-Semitism. All of the bleeding hearts who cry out for the “Palestinians” to have their own state say not a word, for example, about the rights of the Kurds to have a state, in spite of the fact that they truly are a people.
I have written about all of this before, and likely will again. But a reminder about this from time to time is helpful, for we should never forget.
I do not refer to “Palestinians” in my writing, but to “Palestinian Arabs.” (There are some readers who think I should not even do that.) It is my intention to identify them essentially as Arabs, but as a subset of Arabs who politically self-identify as “Palestinians,” a point that is relevant for my discussions.
But let us return to the question of a “Palestinian people” from another perspective.
One might hope that in the academic realm there would be less political bias, but that would be wishful thinking: Academia is rife with mind-blowing political correctness. And yet, there are academics, as there are political figures, who rise above that bias and tell it as it is.
Here I return to Dr. Gerald Steinberg, professor emeritus at Bar Ilan University and founder and president of NGO Monitor (pictured), whom I wrote about in my last posting.
Editor-in-chief of JNS (Jewish News Syndicate) Jonathan Tobin does a weekly podcast, “Top Story,” during which he explores a significant issue of the day. His last podcast was with Steinberg because of the hullabaloo about Defense Minister Gantz’s decision to identify six PA so-called “human rights” NGOs as terror organizations.
What Steinberg says is of critical importance: “There is no Palestinian civil society. It’s all fiction.”
The international community is mobilizing anti-Israel elements in Palestinian (Arab) society.
The relationship between the European nations and the PA NGOs is symbiotic. The Europeans, who provide funding for these NGOs, also serve as consultants to them. Then there is further overlap as European organizations cite PA NGOs (as if they were an independent source).
While the PA NGOs are ostensibly “human rights” organizations, they don’t work primarily within Palestinian Arab society, for example, in the case of Defense for Children International, attending to securing better situations for Palestinian Arab children. Rather, these NGOs work internationally in capitals such as Washington DC and Brussels, providing “information” on what damage Israel Is doing.
They function as purveyors of propaganda. The goal is delegitimization of Israel, promotion of BDS.
Not for a second can we afford to forget this, as we work to defend Israel. It sets into a broader context what we are seeing now, as European nations claim that Israel has provided no evidence regarding terrorist associations in the NGOs that have been charged.
I will add here that Steinberg said leftist US NGOs such as IfNotNOw have a relationship with the PA NGOs. No surprise. Human Rights Watch is a real problem.
You can hear with JNS “Top Story” podcast with Gerald Steinberg here:
I hope many of you will listen to at least some portion of it. Steinberg’s information and perspective are powerful.
There is a great deal more to write about – including the passing of the budget. I will get this out now before Shabbat and pick up next week.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.