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June 11, 2015: Sharing

June 11, 2015

We mourn his passing of David (Dudu) Rotem, who suffered a fatal heart attack on Monday.

Rotem – a lawyer – had served as a Member of the Knesset for Yisrael Beitenu from 2007 until the most recent elections. The Legal Grounds Campaign found him to be solidly committed to issues of Israel’s rights in the land. 

May his memory be for a blessing.


Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90
I have long felt that Brig. Gen.(res.) Yossi Kuperwasser was one of the good guys.  Now retired from his position as Director General of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, he gave a candid interview to Arutz Sheva on the sidelines of the Herzliya Conference on Monday.  One point he made – which is rarely if ever mentioned – seems to me particularly important:
Those utilizing BDS against Israel have two goals, he said.  One is to delegitimize Israel. This we hear all of the time. But the other is to engender guilt feelings in Israelis. Bingo! 

Our first task then, is to rid ourselves of those pangs of guilt. We cannot fight delegitimization until we thoroughly believe in the rightness of our position.
You can see a brief video of his interview here, with mention of guilt at about 1.5 minutes.



Geoffrey Clarfield (an anthropologist from Canada) and Salim Mansur (Indian born, today an associate professor of political science in Canada) recently wrote a piece entitled, “There can be no peace in Jordan until the world appreciates the country’s true ethnography” for the (Canadian) National Post.

Quite a mouthful for a title, but it’s quite an article, sent to me by a number of my readers, all of whom I thank. All emphasis has been added:

Arab nationalism is dead. It lasted for 100 years and it has suddenly disappeared. In the former states of now war-torn Libya, Syria and Iraq, speaking Arabic now means nothing. However, being a member of a family, lineage or clan of either the Shia, Sunnis, Christians, Druze, Yazidi, Tuareg or Bedouin means everything. The “Arab League” is now totally dysfunctional.

“From Morocco to Malaysia, Islamic jihadis go from one place to another in support of recently created political entities like the Taliban, al-Qaida, or ISIL. Nations and their borders now count for nothing. Yet the new Pope has just recognized yet another Arab state, ‘Palestine.’ Perhaps this is because he has critically misread how Arab entities really rise and fall.”


The authors then track the modern history of the region: the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent establishment of Arab nationalism in the Middle East, which mirrored the nationalism of Europe.

“In this new ideology, an ‘Arab’ was someone who spoke Arabic. The largely Christian Arab proponents of this ideology hoped that as citizens of newly created secular states, they would finally be given the legal and political equality denied to them for centuries under Islamic law and Muslim rulers. And so, after the First World War, a number of ‘Arab’ states were created by the League of Nations, such as Lebanon, Syria and Iraq…

“Among these newly created states, there arose the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which became formally independent in 1946. Until then, it was legally part of the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, implemented on trust from the League of Nations by the British government…

“The people who reside in Jordan live on the east side of the Jordan River…

Three thousand years ago, what is now northern Jordan was the territory of the Israelites: specifically the tribes of Dan, Manasseh, Gad and Reuben. Later, the area became part of the second Jewish Commonwealth under the Maccabees, before the Romans conquered the whole area…


“Who are the Jordanians? Until the second decade of the 20th century there had never been a Jordanian people, ethnic group or tribe by that name, or a group of diasporic exiles who thought of themselves as ‘Jordanian.’ Jordan is a 20th-century British invention, dreamed up in the 1920s, for the peoples living in what Britain illegally hived off from the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine in 1923. Until 1946 its British administrators called it just that — Eastern Palestine.

No one reads the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine document anymore. But according to international law, it is still valid. It is the legal basis for the creation of the Jewish state of Israel. Its provisions still stand…

“In 1923 the British arbitrarily violated the Mandate, morally and legally, by creating the ‘Emirate of Jordan’ in Eastern Palestine…

“The Hashemis rule Jordan today…with the connivance of the British, who unilaterally lopped off 70 per cent of mandated Palestine, and gave it to them as their compensation for their tribal revolt against the Turks during the First World War…

“…the Hashemis were and continue to be a usurping Bedouin tribal elite in Eastern Palestine

“Clearly, the Bedouin tribes that were there before the Hashemis invaded had a hard time understanding why they should give up their independence and be ruled by these British imports. The Hashemis put down [their] ‘rebellions’ with the active aid and military support of thinly disguised British mercenaries, in an army that was ironically named The Arab Legion, trained and led by British officers…


“Today the majority of the country’s inhabitants are largely Muslim Arabs who now think of themselves as Palestinians. Before the Mandate, they had no national identity and like that of Jordan, there is no record of a self-defined, self-declared Palestinian national identity in any historical document before the early to mid-20th century.

Palestinian Arab identity seems to have developed quite recently, as a contrary movement and mirror image to that of the Jews, who were returning to their ancient homeland by right, and whose physical, religious and cultural connection to the land had never been severed, or questioned, and which was formally recognized by the League of Nations after the First World War. This is the essence of that strange and paradoxical ethnogenesis of what is now called the Palestinian nation.

Once the British established the Mandate, and Jewish immigration began to create a mini-industrial revolution, both Western and Eastern Palestine attracted waves of Muslim Arab immigrants from Egypt and Syria. These new immigrants found it convenient to make common cause with the non-Bedouin residents of Jordan and much later, specifically after 1967, called themselves and their children Palestinians

The great historical irony of this period is that all of the ancestors of today’s Muslim Arab Palestinians, now living in Mandated Eastern Palestine [Jordan], all of a sudden stopped being thought of as Arabs of Palestine by the British, and then by the members of the United Nations after 1948, and even more so since the Oslo process began in 1992. This has been and remains one of the great disappearing acts of modern history, for Jordan is clearly a Palestinian Arab State.

“The political and ethnographic disappearance of the Palestinian nature of the Arabs of Eastern Palestine (Jordan), has largely been a tactic used by the Arab League, and its allies on the left, to put Israel and its supporters on the defensive…


“…in 1977, speaking to a Dutch newspaper, PLO representative Zouhair Muhsen said, ‘For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.’

“Perhaps the most revealing public quote by Muhsen was when he bluntly stated that ‘There are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. We are all part of one nation. It is only for political reasons that we carefully underline our Palestinian identity. … The existence of a separate Palestinian identity serves only tactical purposes. The founding of a Palestinian state is a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel’…


The world has been living with a two-state solution for decades. No matter what the faux King of Jordan may say or do, his country and his people are not Jordanian. Jordan is what anthropologists call an ‘ethnographic fiction.’ The majority of Jordanians are Palestinians living in Mandated Palestine. There can be no peace without the recognition of this simple ethnographic truth…”



I chose to feature this article today, because of the wealth of historical, ethnographic and political information it provides.  Please, read it in its entirety, bookmark it, and share it broadly. 

In my next posting I will turn back to one or more of the current crises that we are confronting.


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.



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