The “Palestinians”: The Post I Had to Have

Some guy named Andrew Schamess writes on his blog:

Speaking (unfortunately) of hate speech… I knew it was a mistake to reference David in my post on Remembrance yesterday. He came through today with a post on the nonexistence of the Palestinian people that’s not even worth refuting rationally – it’s just the most vicious and uninformed sort of racism. Certain Jewish sources like to call out anti-Semitism in the Arab media – but some of the stuff published on the Jewish side is every bit as bad.

Bring on the boycott!

But seriously, I take issue with the accusation of “racism.” More than that, I take issue with its characterization as “uninformed,” since my position on the matter comes from my extensive reading on the subject. So, Andrew, this post’s for you.

Firstly, what is “racism”?

1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

Given that the “palestinians” are not a “race”, I can hardly be racist. Furthermore, I do not advocate views regarding any “differences in human character or ability and that anyone is superior” to them, nor do I discriminate or show prejudice against them based on any racial arguments. Quite simply, I speak out against the lies and terrorism emanating from their ranks. And even then, I never generalize about all of them.

So what is a “race”?

1. A local geographic or global human population distinguished as a more or less distinct group by genetically transmitted physical characteristics.

2. A group of people united or classified together on the basis of common history, nationality, or geographic distribution: the German race.

3. A genealogical line; a lineage.

The “palestinians” are nothing more than Arabs who moved to the land of Israel, and are not distinguishable from Arabs in surrounding countries. As Arab-American journalist Joseph Farah has written:

There is no language known as Palestinian. There is no distinct Palestinian culture. There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians (another recent invention), Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc.

If the words of this Arab-American are not enough for you, here are some more examples:

“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, because it is in the interest of the Arabs to encourage a separate Palestinian identity in contrast to Zionism. Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity is there only for tactical reasons. The establishment of a Palestinian state is a new expedient to continue the fight against Zionism and for Arab unity.”

- Zuheir Mohsein, Member of the Supreme Council of the PLO, Dutch newspaper Trouw, March 31, 1977

One always finds in Palestine Arabs who have been in the country only a few weeks or a few months…Since they are themselves strangers in a strange land, they are the loudest to cry: ‘Out with the Jews!…Amongst them are to be found representatives of every Arab country: Arabs from Transjordan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Egypt, the Sudan and Iraq.

- Ladislas Farago, Palestine at the Crossroads (New York: Putnam 1937) p17

Jordan is linked to Palestine by a national relationship and a national unity forged by history and culture from earliest times. The creation of one political entity in East Jordan and another in Palestine would have no basis either in legality or as to the elements universally accepted as fundamental to a political entity.

- Declaration of the 8th Palestinian National Congress (R. Hamid (ed.) Muqararat al-majlis al-watani al-filastini 1964 Resolutions of the PNCs 1964-1974, Beirut, PLO Research Centre, 1975, p178 Declaration of the 8th Palestinian National Congress)

“There is no such country as ‘Palestine’; ‘Palestine’ is a term the Zionists invented!”

- Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi to the Pell Commission in 1937

“It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria.”

- Ahmed Shuqeiri, to the UN Security Council in 1949

“There is no difference between one Palestinian and another. We are all Palestinians and we are all Syrian Arabs.”

- Arab MK, Abdul Darawshe (Jerusalem Institute of Western Defence, Bulletin 3, August 15, 1997)

You can view other such statements here.

No wonder Mr Schamess is not willing to refute me rationally – he can’t, without ignoring history.

Having provided evidence that the “palestinians” are not a race, nor a distinct nation of people (except for the purposes of being used as a tool against Israel), there is also evidence disputing the “fallback” position; namely that there were “native” Arabs who owned the land for centuries before the Jews started coming around 1880, and uprooted them. However, there is evidence that this was not the case. For instance, the famous author Mark Twain wrote of the Holy Land (which he visited in 1867):

“…[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.”

As Alan Dershowitz (proponent of a two-state solution) writes in The Case for Israel:

..the small and decreasing Arab-Muslim population of the area was also a transient and migratory population, as contrasted with the more stable, if smaller, Jewish population. The myth of a stable and settled Palestinian-Arab-Muslim population that had lived in villages and worked the land for centuries, only to be displaced by the Zionist invaders, is simply inconsistent with the recorded demographic data gathered not by the Jews or Zionists but rather by the local authorities themselves.

Furthermore, there were Jews who had lived in the land for centuries. As Reverend Parkes writes in his book Whose Land?, A History of the Peoples of Palestine (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, Great Britain: Penguin Books, 1970), p. 266.]:

It was, perhaps, inevitable that Zionists should look back to the heroic period of the Maccabees and Bar-Cochba, but their real title deeds were written by the less dramatic but equally heroic endurance of those who had maintained the Jewish presence in The Land all through the centuries, and in spite of every discouragement. This page of Jewish history found no place in the constant flood of Zionist propaganda…. The omission allowed the anti-Zionists, whether Jewish, Arab, or European, to paint an entirely false picture of the wickedness of Jewry trying to re-establish a two thousand-year-old claim to the country, indifferent to everything that had happened in the intervening period. It allowed a picture of The Land as a territory which had once been `Jewish’, but which for many centuries had been `Arab’.”

Now Mr Schamess is free to ignore the evidence, whether it be historical accounts, demographical data, or the like. He can also ignore the biblical account of the Jewish presence in the land. But accusing those of us who have taken the trouble to research the topic, as being racists, sounds to me like intellectual dishonesty.

I challenge Mr Schamess to provide me with more than name-calling.

Update: The Elder of Ziyon applies another test to determine whether a distinct “palestinian” Arab people ever existed.

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About Aussie Dave

An Aussie immigrant to Israel, Aussie Dave is founder of Israellycool, one of the world's most popular pro-Israel blogs (and the one you are currently reading) He is a happy family man, and a lover of steak, Australian sports and girlie drinks