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Myths & Facts
Israel’s Roots

By Mitchell Bard

The Jews have no claim to the land they call Israel.
Palestine was always an Arab country.
The Palestinians are descendants of the Canaanites and were in Palestine long before the Jews.
The Palestinians have aboriginal rights to Palestine.
The British promised the Arabs independence in Palestine.
The Balfour Declaration did not give Jews a right to a homeland in Palestine.
Arabs in Palestine suffered because of Jewish settlement.
Zionism is racism.
The Zionists could have chosen another country besides Palestine.
The Zionists were colonialist tools of Western imperialism.
Israel is a “settler-colonial” state.

MYTH

The Jews have no claim to the land they call Israel.

FACT

A common misperception is that all the Jews were forced into the Diaspora by the Romans after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the year 70 C.E. then, 1,800 years later, the Jews suddenly returned to Palestine demanding their country back. In reality, the Jewish people have maintained ties to their historic homeland for more than 3,700 years.

The Jewish people base their claim to the Land of Israel on at least four premises: 1) the Jewish people settled and developed the land, 2) the international community granted political sovereignty in Palestine to the Jewish people, 3) the territory was captured in defensive wars, and 4) God promised the land to the patriarch Abraham.

Even after the Second Temple’s destruction and the exile’s beginning, Jewish life in the Land of Israel continued and often flourished. Large communities were reestablished in Jerusalem and Tiberias by the 9th century. In the 11th century, Jewish communities grew in Rafah, Gaza, Ashkelon, Jaffa, and Caesarea. The Crusaders massacred many Jews during the 12th century, but the community rebounded in the next two centuries as many rabbis and Jewish pilgrims immigrated to Jerusalem and the Galilee. Prominent rabbis established communities in Safed, Jerusalem, and elsewhere during the following 300 years.

By the early 19th century—years before the birth of the modern Zionist movement—more than 10,000 Jews lived throughout what is today Israel.[1] The 78 years of nation-building, beginning in 1870, culminated in the reestablishment of the Jewish State.

Israel’s international “birth certificate” was validated by the promise of the Bible; uninterrupted Jewish settlement from the time of Joshua onward; the Balfour Declaration of 1917; the League of Nations Mandate, which incorporated the Balfour Declaration; the United Nations partition resolution of 1947; Israel’s admission to the U.N. in 1949; the recognition of Israel by most other states; and—most of all—the society created by Israel’s people in decades of thriving, dynamic national existence.

 

Nobody does Israel any service by proclaiming its “right to exist.” Israel’s right to exist, like that of the United States, Saudi Arabia, and 152 other states, is axiomatic and unreserved. Israel’s legitimacy is not suspended in midair awaiting acknowledgment…There is certainly no other state, big or small, young or old, that would consider mere recognition of its “right to exist” a favor, or a negotiable concession.

Abba Eban[2]

 

 

MYTH

Palestine was always an Arab country.

FACT

The Hebrews entered the land of Israel about 1300 B.C.E., living under a tribal confederation until being united under the first monarch, King Saul. The second king, David, established Jerusalem as the capital around 1000 B.C.E. David’s son, Solomon, built the Temple soon thereafter and consolidated the kingdom’s military, administrative, and religious functions. The nation was divided under Solomon’s son, with the northern kingdom (Israel) lasting until 722 B.C.E., when the Assyrians destroyed it, and the southern kingdom (Judah) surviving until the Babylonian conquest in 586 B.C.E. The Jewish people enjoyed brief periods of sovereignty afterward until most Jews were finally driven from their homeland in 135 C.E.

Jewish independence in the Land of Israel lasted for more than 400 years. This is much longer than Americans have enjoyed independence in what has become known as the United States.[3] Israel would be more than 3,000 years old today if not for foreign conquerors.

Though the definite origins of the word Palestine have been debated for years and are still unknown, the name is believed to be derived from the Egyptian and Hebrew word peleshet, which appears in the Tanakh no fewer than 250 times. Roughly translated to mean “rolling” or “migratory,” the term was used to describe the inhabitants of the land to the northeast of Egypt – the Philistines. The Philistines were an Aegean people with no connection ethnically, linguistically, or historically with Arabia.

The words “Palestine” or “Filastin” do not appear in the Koran. “Palestine” is also not mentioned in the Old or New Testament. It does occur at least eight times in the Hebrew concordance of the King James Bible.

As early as 300 B.C.E., the term Judaea [Judea] appears, most likely to describe the area where the population was predominantly Jewish. In the 2nd century C.E., the Romans crushed the revolt of Shimon Bar Kokhba (132 CE), during which Jerusalem and Judea were conquered, and the area of Judea was renamed Palaestina to minimize Jewish identification with the land of Israel. The Arabic word Filastin is derived from this Latin name.[4]

According to Lewis Feldman, Rabbi Akiva testified in the second century that Diaspora Jews referred to the land as Eretz Israel. The rabbis never refer to it as Palestine.[5]

Following the Muslim conquest, place names used by the Byzantine administration generally continued to be used in Arabic, and “Palestine” became common in Early Modern English. It was used, for example, by the Crusaders in the Middle Ages.

Under the Ottoman Empire (1517-1917), the term Palestine was used as a general term to describe the land south of Syria; many Ottomans and Arabs who lived in Palestine during this period referred to the area as Southern Syria and not as Palestine.

Palestine was never exclusively Arab, although Arabic gradually became the language of most of the population after the Muslim invasions of the 7th century. No independent Arab or Palestinian state ever existed in the area.

When the First Congress of Muslim-Christian Associations met in Jerusalem in February 1919 to choose Palestinian representatives for the Paris Peace Conference, they adopted the following resolution:

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.[6]

Similarly, the King-Crane Commission found that year that Christian and Muslim Arabs opposed any plan to create a country called “Palestine,” because it was viewed as recognition of Zionist claims.[7]

Historian Bernard Lewis noted, “With the British conquest of the country in 1917-1918 World War I that Palestine for the first time since remote antiquity became a separate entity, this time in a mandate held by the British Empire and approved by the League of Nations. The name adopted to designate this entity was ‘Palestine,’ resuscitated from an almost forgotten antiquity.” [8]

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.” [9]

When the distinguished Arab-American historian, Princeton University professor 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.” [10]

Likewise, the Arab Higher Committee representative to the United Nations echoed this view in a statement to the General Assembly in May 1947, which said Palestine was part of the Province of Syria and the Arabs of Palestine did not comprise a separate political entity. A few years later, Ahmed Shuqeiri, later the chairman of the P.L.O., told the Security Council: “It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria.” [11]

MYTH

The Palestinians are descendants of the Canaanites and were in Palestine long before the Jews.

FACT

Palestinian claims to be related to the Canaanites are a recent phenomenon and contrary to historical evidence. The Canaanites disappeared three millennia ago, and no one knows if any of their descendants survived or, if they did, who they would be.

Over the last two thousand years, massive invasions (e.g., the Crusades), migrations, the plague, and other manmade or natural disasters killed off most of the local people. The entire local population has been replaced many times over. During the British Mandate alone, more than 100,000 Arabs emigrated from neighboring countries and are today considered Palestinians.

Sherif Hussein, the guardian of the Islamic Holy Places in Arabia, said the Palestinians’ ancestors had only been in the area for one thousand years.[12] Even the Palestinians acknowledged their association with the region came long after the Jews. In testimony before the Anglo-American Committee in 1946, for example, they claimed a connection to Palestine of more than 1,000 years, dating back no further than the conquest of Muhammad’s followers in the seventh century.[13]

By contrast, no serious historian questions the more than 3,000-year-old Jewish connection to the land of Israel or the modern Jewish people’s relation to the ancient Hebrews.

 

We know that some of those who live in our villages are Jews who converted to Islam after the Muslim conquests beginning in the 7th century, and most of us are the descendants of foreign workers who came to British Mandate of Palestine from the various Arab countries in the wake of the Zionist enterprise. By trying to trace our “ancestry” to the Canaanites, we lie to ourselves and demonstrate our silliness and self-deception to the world. And when we try to claim that Jesus was a Palestinian, we make ourselves an international laughingstock.

—Bassam Tawil[14]

 

MYTH

The Palestinians have aboriginal rights to Palestine.

FACT

Israel’s detractors often depict the Jews as newcomers to “Palestine” who are displacing the aboriginal Arab people. The truth is quite different, however, as it is the Jews who are the aboriginal tribe in the land based on their presence in the Holy Land for more than 2,000 years. Of all the people who lived in the area at that time, such as the Phoenicians, Moabites, and Philistines, only the Jews remain today.

The Arabs, however, are not native to “Palestine;” they are aboriginal to Arabia. “Judaism, the Hebrew language and a self-identified ‘Jewish’ People had already been established in the Holy Land for about a thousand years before the 6th-7th century C.E. ethnogenesis in Arabia of the great Arab People.” It is “the Arab people,” who are “the interloping settler population, including newer waves of Arab immigration in the 19th and 20th centuries.” [15]

MYTH

The British promised the Arabs independence in Palestine.

FACT

During World War I, the central figure in the Arab nationalist movement was Hussein ibn ‘Ali, the Sherif of Mecca in 1908. As Sherif, Hussein was responsible for the custody of Islam’s shrines in the Hejaz and was one of the Muslims’ spiritual leaders.

In July 1915, Hussein sent a letter to Sir Henry MacMahon, the High Commissioner for Egypt, informing him of the terms for Arab participation in the war against the Turks. Subsequent letters between Hussein and MacMahon outlined the areas that Britain was prepared to cede to the Arabs in exchange for their help.

The Hussein-MacMahon correspondence conspicuously fails to mention Palestine. The British argued the omission had been intentional, justifying their refusal to grant the Arabs independence in Palestine after the war.[16] MacMahon explained:

I feel it my duty to state, and I do so definitely and emphatically, that it was not intended by me in giving this pledge to King Hussein to include Palestine in the area in which Arab independence was promised. I also had every reason to believe at the time that the fact that Palestine was not included in my pledge was well understood by King Hussein.[17]

MYTH

The Balfour Declaration did not give Jews the right to a homeland in Palestine.

FACT

On November 2, 1917, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration:

His Majesty’s Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

Emir Faisal, son of Sherif Hussein, the leader of the Arab revolt against the Turks, signed an agreement with Chaim Weizmann and other Zionist leaders during the 1919 Paris Peace Conference supporting the implementation of Balfour. It acknowledged the “racial kinship and ancient bonds existing between the Arabs and the Jewish people” and concluded that “the surest means of working out the consummation of their national aspirations is through the closest possible collaboration in the development of the Arab states and Palestine.” Furthermore, the agreement called for all necessary measures “…to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale, and as quickly as possible to settle Jewish immigrants upon the land through closer settlement and intensive cultivation of the soil.” [18]

Faisal had conditioned his acceptance of the Balfour Declaration on Britain fulfilling its wartime promises of independence to the Arabs. These were not kept.

Critics dismiss the Weizmann-Faisal agreement because it was never enacted; however, the fact that the leader of the Arab nationalist movement and the Zionist movement could reach an understanding is significant because it demonstrated that Jewish and Arab aspirations were not necessarily mutually exclusive.

“The Balfour Declaration was not the isolated act of one nation,” observed historian Martin Kramer. “It was approved in advance by the Allied powers whose consensus then constituted the only source of international legitimacy. Before Balfour signed his declaration, representatives of other democratic nations signed their names on similar letters and assurances.

The Mandate for Palestine, approved by the 52 governments at the League of Nations on July 24, 1922, expressly referred to “the historical connections of the Jewish people with Palestine” and to the moral validity of “reconstituting their National Home in that country.” The term “reconstituting” indicates a recognition that Palestine had been the Jews’ home. Furthermore, the British were instructed to “use their best endeavors to facilitate” Jewish immigration, to encourage settlement on the land, and to “secure” the Jewish National Home. The word “Arab” does not appear in the Mandatory award.[19]

The United States was not a member of the League of Nations; however, the U.S. Congress endorsed the Balfour Declaration on September 21, 1922, which President Warren Harding signed. President Herbert Hoover reiterated America’s support in 1932, as did President Franklin Roosevelt in 1937.

MYTH

Arabs in Palestine suffered because of Jewish settlement.

FACT

Palestine was a sparsely populated, poorly cultivated, and widely neglected expanse of eroded hills, sandy deserts, and malarial marshes for centuries. As late as 1880, the American consul in Jerusalem reported the area continued its historic decline. “The population and wealth of Palestine has not increased during the last forty years,” he said.[20]

The Report of the Palestine Royal Commission quotes an account of the Maritime Plain in 1913:

The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts…no orange groves, orchards, or vineyards were to be seen until one reached [the Jewish village of] Yabna [Yavne…Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen…The ploughs used were of wood…The yields were very poor…The sanitary conditions in the village were horrible. Schools did not exist…The western part, towards the sea, was almost a desert…The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants.[21]

While some Arabs objected to Jews settling in Palestine and objected to the Balfour Declaration, others argued that Jews would improve the condition of Palestinian Arabs. Dawood Barakat, the editor of the Egyptian paper Al-Ahram, wrote: “It is absolutely necessary that an entente be made between the Zionists and Arabs, because the war of words can only do evil. The Zionists are necessary for the country: The money which they will bring, their knowledge and intelligence, and the industriousness which characterizes them will contribute without doubt to the regeneration of the country.” [22]

Even a leading Arab nationalist believed the return of the Jews to their homeland would help revitalize the country. According to Sherif Hussein, the guardian of the Islamic Holy Places in Arabia:

The resources of the country are still virgin soil and will be developed by the Jewish immigrants. One of the most amazing things until recent times was that the Palestinian used to leave his country, wandering over the high seas in every direction. His native soil could not retain a hold on him, though his ancestors had lived on it for 1000 years. At the same time, we have seen the Jews from foreign countries streaming to Palestine from Russia, Germany, Austria, Spain, [and] America. The cause of causes could not escape those who had a gift of deeper insight. They knew that the country was for its original sons (abna’ihi-l-asliyin), for all their differences, a sacred and beloved homeland. The return of these exiles (jaliya) to their homeland will prove materially and spiritually [to be] an experimental school for their brethren who are with them in the fields, factories, trades, and in all things connected with toil and labor.[23]

As Hussein foresaw, Palestine’s regeneration and population growth came after Jews returned in massive numbers.

 

A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds—a silent mournful expanse…A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action…We never saw a human being on the whole route…There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of the worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.

—Mark Twain’s description of Palestine in 1867[24]

 

MYTH

Zionism is racism.

FACT

In 1975, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution slandering Zionism by equating it with racism. Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, which holds that Jews, like any other nation, are entitled to self-determination in their homeland—Israel.

For many Jews, author Howard Jacobson observed, Zionism “was a liberation movement, an escape from the massacres of Eastern Europe, from the anti-Jewish sentiment building in Western Europe, from the demeaning status of second-class citizenship that was the best they could expect in Arab countries, and from the confined life of servitude and superstition to which centuries of contempt and cruelty had reduced them.” Rather than racism, it was a “flight from racism” (emphasis in the original).[25]

Zionism recognizes that Jewishness is defined by shared origin, religion, culture, and history. More than seven million Israeli Jewish citizens from more than 100 countries, including Jews of color from Morocco, Yemen, and India exemplify the realization of the Zionist dream

The presence of thousands of black Jews in Israel is the best refutation of the calumny against Zionism. In a series of historic airlifts—labeled Operations Moses (1984), Joshua (1985), and Solomon (1991)—Israel rescued almost 42,000 members of the ancient Ethiopian Jewish community.

 

For the first time in history, thousands of black people are being brought to a country not in chains but in dignity, not as slaves but as citizens.

 

William Safire writing after “Operation Moses” rescued black Jews from Ethiopia[26]

 

 

Israel’s Law of Return grants automatic citizenship to Jews, but non-Jews are also eligible to become citizens under naturalization procedures similar to those in other countries. For example, Germany, Greece, Ireland, and Finland have special categories of people who are entitled to citizenship.

Arab states define citizenship strictly by native parentage. It is almost impossible to become a naturalized citizen in many Arab states, especially Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. Several Arab nations have laws that facilitate the naturalization of foreign Arabs, except Palestinians. Jordan instituted its own “law of return” in 1954, offering citizenship to all former residents of Palestine, except for Jews and Gazans.[27] In 2004, however, Jordan began revoking the citizenship of Palestinians who lacked Israeli permits to reside in the West Bank.[28]

Zionism does not discriminate against anyone. More than one million Muslim and Christian Arabs, Druze, Baha’is, Circassians, and other ethnic groups also are represented in Israel’s population. Israel scrupulously protects the religious and political rights of Christians and Muslims. Moreover, anyone – Jew or non-Jew – Israeli, American, Chinese, Indian, black, or white – can be a Zionist.

The 1975 U.N. resolution was part of the Soviet-Arab Cold War anti-Israel campaign. Almost all the former non-Arab supporters of the resolution have apologized and changed their positions. When the General Assembly voted to repeal the resolution in 1991, only some Arab and Muslim states, Cuba, North Korea, and Vietnam were opposed.

 

When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism.

Martin Luther King[29]

 

MYTH

The Zionists could have chosen another country besides Palestine.

FACT

In the late nineteenth century, the rise of anti-Semitism led to a resurgence of pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe, shattering promises of equality and tolerance. This stimulated Jewish immigration to Palestine from Europe.

Simultaneously, a wave of Jews immigrated to Palestine from Yemen, Morocco, Iraq, and Turkey. These Jews were unaware of Theodor Herzl’s political Zionism or European pogroms. They were motivated by the centuries-old dream of the “Return to Zion” and fear of intolerance. Upon hearing that the gates of Palestine were open, they braved the hardships of travel and went to the “Land of Israel.”

The Zionist ideal of a return to Israel has profound religious roots. Many Jewish prayers speak of Jerusalem, Zion, and the land of Israel. The injunction not to forget Jerusalem, the site of the Temple, is a central tenet of Judaism. The Hebrew language, the Torah, laws in the Talmud, the Jewish calendar, and Jewish holidays and festivals all originated in Israel and revolve around its seasons and conditions. Jews pray toward Jerusalem and recite the words “next year in Jerusalem” every Passover. Jewish religion, culture, and history make clear that the Jewish commonwealth can be built only in the land of Israel.

In 1897, Jewish leaders formally organized the Zionist political movement, calling for restoring the Jewish national home in Palestine, where Jews could find sanctuary and self-determination and work for the renascence of their civilization and culture.

Due to the urgency of the plight of Jews in Russia, at the Sixth Zionist Congress at Basel on August 26, 1903, Herzl proposed the creation of a Jewish state in Uganda as a temporary emergency refuge. While Herzl made it clear that this program would not affect the ultimate aim of Zionism, a Jewish entity in the land of Israel, the proposal aroused a storm of protest at the congress that nearly led to a split in the Zionist movement. The Uganda Program, which never had much support, was formally rejected by the Zionist movement at the Seventh Zionist Congress in 1905.

MYTH

The Zionists were colonialist tools of Western imperialism.

FACT

The Palestinians and some of their supporters portray the conflict with Israel and Zionism as an anti-colonialist struggle rather than a clash of rival nationalistic movements. Characterizing Israel and Zionism in this way reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of colonialism, which means living by exploiting others. “What could be further from colonialism,” Professor Yehoshafat Harkabi has written, “than the idealism of city-dwelling Jews who strive to become farmers and laborers and to live by their own work?” [30]

Moreover, as British historian Paul Johnson noted, Zionists were hardly tools of imperialists given the powers’ general opposition to their cause. “Everywhere in the West, the foreign offices, defense ministries and big business were against the Zionists.” [31]

Emir Faisal also saw the Zionist movement as a companion to the Arab nationalist movement, fighting against imperialism, as he explained in a letter to Harvard law professor and future Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter on March 3, 1919, one day after Chaim Weizmann presented the Zionist case to the Paris conference. Faisal wrote:

The Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement…We will wish the Jews a hearty welcome home…We are working together for a reformed and revised Near East and our two movements complete one another. The Jewish movement is nationalist and not imperialist. And there is room in Syria for us both. Indeed, I think that neither can be a real success without the other (emphasis added).[32]

In the 1940s, the Jewish underground movements waged an anticolonial war against the British. The Arabs, meanwhile, were concerned primarily with fighting the Jews rather than expelling the British imperialists.

“According to the rules of postcolonial discourse,” historian Alexander Yakobson notes, “the Palestinians are in the right by definition and are never responsible for anything.” Moreover, he observes, the “anti-colonialist blindness” created an imprudent expectation that Israel would “crumble from within” since “this wasn’t a real people and a real nation-state, but some ‘invented’ artificial entity.” [33]

 

Our settlers do not come here as do the colonists from the Occident to have natives do their work for them; they themselves set their shoulders to the plow and they spend their strength and their blood to make the land fruitful. But it is not only for ourselves that we desire its fertility. The Jewish farmers have begun to teach their brothers, the Arab farmers, to cultivate the land more intensively; we desire to teach them further: together with them we want to cultivate the land—to “serve” it, as the Hebrew has it. The more fertile this soil becomes, the more space there will be for us and for them. We have no desire to dispossess them: we want to live with them.

Martin Buber[34]

 

MYTH

Israel is a “settler-colonial” state.

FACT

Israel’s detractors have shifted mainly from accusing Israel of being an outpost of colonialism to asserting it is a “settler-colonialist” state. Jews are portrayed as “the ‘white settler colonialists, and the Palestinians are given the role of the ‘black’ indigenous” people.” [35] Donna Robinson Divine and Asaf Romirowsky noted this “is the linguistic warrant for bringing an indictment against Israel for denying Palestinians the freedom and justice presumably due to them.” [36]

“Settler colonialism is an ongoing system of power that perpetuates the genocide and repression of indigenous peoples and cultures.” [37] Suggesting this describes Israel, however, ignores the Jewish connection to the land, the history of Israel and Zionism, and the international role in establishing a Jewish state.

Unlike settler colonialists, Alan Johnson notes, “The Jews were returning to a land that had been theirs, in which their religion was born, their temple built, and their Matriarchs and Patriarchs walked. A land that was at the absolute center of Judaism and Jewish peoplehood. The land from which they had been forcibly expelled.” [38]

Upon their return, the international community recognized the land of Israel was the Jewish homeland. This was written into the Balfour Declaration and ratified by the League of Nations. The United Nations subsequently called for the partitioning of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. The only reason the Palestinians do not share the anniversary of statehood with Israel is that they rejected the offer of independence in 1947. They have turned down multiple opportunities since then to achieve statehood.

Following the establishment of Israel, hundreds of thousands of Jews came to Israel from Arab countries that expelled them. This was not an invasion of white Europeans displacing Palestinians. Until the mass immigration of Jews from the former Soviet Union, most of the Israeli population was non-white. Even today, only about 30% of Israeli Jews are of European descent.[39]

Thousands of Palestinians were not indigenous to the land. Many Arabs came to Palestine to take advantage of the conditions created by the Jews in the 1920s and 30s. Moreover, rather than be expelled, more than two million are Israeli citizens, and nearly five million live in the disputed territories (2022). If you add the Palestinians in Jordan, which was originally part of Palestine, roughly 75% of the world’s Palestinian population lives in “Palestine.” [40]

Furthermore, Israel has done something no colonizer has ever done, withdraw from territory it captured in a defensive war. Israel evacuated the entire Gaza Strip and roughly 40% of the West Bank. Israel offered to withdraw from more than 90% of the West Bank in various peace plans rejected by the Palestinians. In the meantime, about 98% of the Palestinians in the territories are governed by the Palestinian Authority or Hamas.

The view of Israel as colonialist predated the capture of the disputed territories in1967; hence, the proponents of this idea fuel Israeli fears that “withdrawal from the territories will only result in a continuation of the anti-colonialist struggle to be waged mere kilometers from Ben-Gurion airport.” [41]

The root of the conflict is the unwillingness to accept the validity of Zionism; that is, the Jewish people are a nation entitled to self-determination in their homeland, Israel. The perpetuation of the colonialist myth ensures its continuation.

 

[1] Dan Bahat, ed., Twenty Centuries of Jewish Life in the Holy Land, (Jerusalem: The Israel Economist, 1976), pp. 61–63.

[2] Abba Eban, “The Saudi Text,” New York Times, (November 18, 1981).

[3] Max Dimont, Jews, God, and History, (NY: Signet, 1962), pp. 49–53.

[4] Yehoshua Porath, The Emergence of the Palestinian-Arab National Movement, 1918–1929, (London: Frank Cass, 1974), p. 4.

[5] Louis H. Feldman, “Some Observations on the Name of Palestine,” Hebrew Union College Annual, 1990, Vol. 61, (1990), pp. 1-23.

[6] Randall Price, Fast Facts on the Middle East Conflict, (Harvest House Publishers: 2003), p. 25.

[7] Allen Z. Hertz, “Aboriginal Rights of the Jewish People,” American Thinker, (October 30, 2011).

[8] Bernard Lewis with Buntzie Ellis Churchill, Notes on a Century: Reflections of a Middle East Historian, (NY: Penguin Books, 2012).

[9] Moshe Kohn, “The Arabs’ ‘Lie’ of the Land,” Jerusalem Post, (October 18, 1991).

[10] Ibid.

[11] Avner Yaniv, P.L.O., (Jerusalem: Israel Universities Study Group of Middle Eastern Affairs, August 1974), p. 5.

[12] Al-Qibla (March 23, 1918), quoted in Samuel Katz, Battleground-Fact and Fantasy in Palestine, (NY: Bantam Books, 1977), p. 126.

[13] British Government, “Report of the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry, 1946, Part VI,” (April 20, 1946).

[14] Bassam Tawil, “Muslim Blood and Al-Aqsa,” Gatestone Institute, (October 31, 2015).

[15] Allen Z. Hertz, “Aboriginal rights of the Jewish People,” Times of Israel, (February 18, 2014).

[16] George Kirk, A Short History of the Middle East, (NY: Frederick Praeger Publishers, 1964), p. 314.

[17] Report of a Committee Setup to Consider Certain Correspondence between Sir Henry McMahon and the Sharif of Mecca in 1915/1916,” U.K. Parliament, (March 16, 1939).

[18] Howard Sachar, A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time, (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1979), p. 129.

[19] Ben Halpern, The Idea of a Jewish State, (MA: Harvard University Press, 1969), p. 108.

[20] Melvin Urofsky, American Zionism from Herzl to the Holocaust, (Bison Books: 1995), p. 29.

[21] Palestine Royal Commission Report, p. 233.

[22] Neville Mandel, The Arabs and Zionism before World War I, (University of California Press: 1976), p. 8.

[23] Al-Qibla (March 23, 1918), quoted in Samuel Katz, Battleground: Fact and Fantasy in Palestine, (NY: Bantam Books, 1977), 126.

[24] Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad, (London, 1881).

[25] Howard Jacobson, “Advice to a Jewish Freshman,” Sapir, (Autumn 2021).

[26] William Safire, “Interrupted Exodus,” New York Times, (January 7, 1985).

[27] Jordanian Nationality Law, Article 3(2) of Law No. 6 of 1954, Official Gazette, No. 1171, (January 1, 1954).

[28] Michael Slackman, “Some Palestinian Jordanians Lose Citizenship,” New York Times, (March 13, 2010).

[29] Seymour Martin Lipset, “The Socialism of Fools—The Left, the Jews and Israel,” Encounter, (December 1969), p. 24.

[30] Yehoshafat Harkabi, Palestinians and Israel, (Jerusalem: Keter, 1974), p. 6.

[31] Paul Johnson, Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties, (NY: Harper & Row, 1983), p. 485.

[32] Naomi Comay, Arabs Speak Frankly on the Arab-Israeli Conflict, (Printing Miracle Ltd., 2005), p. 8.

[33] Alexander Yakobson, “If Zionism Were Colonial It Would Have Ended Long Ago,” Haaretz, (October 20, 2018).

[34] From an open letter from Martin Buber to Mahatma Gandhi in 1939, accessed at GandhiServe.com.

[35] Alan Johnson, “‘Can’t You See He’s Fooled You All?’: An Open Letter to Peter Gabriel et al explaining why Israel is not a ‘Settler Colonial’ society,” Fathom, (November 2021).

[36] Donna Robinson Divine and Asaf Romirowsky, “Settler colonialism backfires,” JNS, (July 23, 2021).

[37] Alicia Cox, “Settler Colonialism,” Oxford Bibliographies, (July 26, 2017).

[38] Alan Johnson, “‘Can’t You See He’s Fooled You All?’: An Open Letter to Peter Gabriel et al explaining why Israel is not a ‘Settler Colonial’ society,” Fathom, (November 2021).

[39] Hen Mazzig, “Op-Ed: No, Israel isn’t a country of privileged and powerful white Europeans,” Los Angeles Times, (May 20, 2019).

[40] “Palestinian diaspora,” Wikipedia; Palestine in Figures 2020, Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, (March 2021); The World Fact Book, CIA, (2021); Ofer Aderet, “On Jewish New Year’s Eve, Israel’s Population Reaches 9.4 Million,” Haaretz, (September 5, 2021).

[41] Yakobson.