This essay originally appeared in Israel National News and is reprinted by permission of the author.
How many really big lies can fit into two articles in the official Palestinian Authority daily newspaper? At least seven, to judge by this year’s Balfour Day outburst from Ramallah.
Balfour Day, November 2, is the anniversary of England’s Balfour Declaration of 1917, which promised to help create a “Jewish national home” in Palestine. Palestinian Arabs consider it a day of mourning, and usually mark it by trying to stone Jews to death in Judea-Samaria and elsewhere.
Now, if the Palestinian Arabs were truly moderate and peace seeking-as State Department Arabists and Jewish left-wingers are always claiming-they would have no problem with Balfour Day. After all, Balfour did not define the borders of the future Jewish state. The declaration said only that there would be a Jewish “national home” of some size, someday, somewhere in the country. But the existence of a Jewish state of any size is what enrages the Palestinian Arabs-hence the mourning and violence and hysteria.
By hysteria, I am referring to two foaming-at-the-mouth essays which appeared on November 3 in the Palestinian Arab newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida. (All translations courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch.)
Note that Al-Hayat Al-Jadidais not some fringe publication. It is the official newspaper of the Palestinian Authority. It is the authorized voice of the ruling regime of Mahmoud Abbas.
Also note that the articles in question were not written by some unknown, one-shot, un-vetted freelancers. They were written by two of the newspaper’s regular columnists, Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul and Muwaffaq Matar. The number of insane fabrications that Al-Ghoul and Matar managed to cram into their articles is almost breathtaking.
Lie#1: First, let’s have a look at Al-Ghoul. He started by claiming that the “beginning” of the “theft of Palestine” was “the Campbell-Bannerman conference” of 1907. That conference of leaders of the United Kingdom and prime ministers of some British colonies discussed calling those territories “dominions” instead of “colonies” and debated self-rule in Ireland and India. It had nothing to do with Palestine, which would not come under British rule until more than a decade later.
Lie #2 from Al-Ghoul was his description of the Jewish community in pre-Israel Palestine as a “foreign colonialist body.” Jews, of course, have been living in the country continuously for more than 3,000 years, while the Arabs arrived from the Arabian Peninsula only in the 7th century CE. So, who, exactly, are the real foreigners?
Lie #3 was his claim that the British “planted” the Jewish state “in the land of the Palestinian people.” In other words, that the British created Israel. In reality, the British allowed modest Jewish immigration in the 1920s, and then severely restricted immigration and Jewish land purchases in the 1930s. Anybody remember the notorious White Paper of 1939? And there was no Palestinian people.
All the while, the British authorities allowed unchecked illegal Arab immigration into Palestine. And in 1948, British officers led the Arab invasion of the newborn state of Israel and British weapons filled the Arab armies’ arsenals.
Lie #4: Al-Ghoul’s fourth big lie was the one which attracted the most attention last week, because it was so bizarre that it has not even appeared previously in the usual Arab propaganda outlets. The reason that the British “created” Israel, he wrote, was that Europeans wanted to “settle historical accounts with the Arabs and Muslims in response to the defeats of the Crusaders.”
For the record, those Muslim defeats of the Crusaders took place in late 1200s and early 1300s. In other words, about 700 years before the establishment of Israel. After seven centuries, how many Englishmen do you suppose could even name the leaders, years, or locations of the Crusades, much less care enough about them to want to avenge them?
Now we turn to Matar, for Lie #5: To find the truth about the historical background to the conflict, he declares, one needs to read Mahmoud Abbas’s book on “The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism.” That’s where Abbas claims that the Zionist movement collaborated with the Nazis to kill Jews, so that it could gain sympathy after the war.
Lie #6 reeks of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. According to Matar, “Zionism has control over tools of leadership, money, communications, security, and intelligence in large states and world powers.”
And, finally, we have Lie #7, which both Al-Ghoul and Matar trotted out: the weird claim that “the believers of the Jewish religion” are peace-loving anti-Zionists who have been “exploited” as “pawns” by the evil Zionist movement. We all recall, with horror, how Yasir Arafat used to promote this argument by holding meetings with the leader of the tiny fanatical anti-Zionist “Neturei Karta” sect. Arafat would declare that Neturei Karta was the real representative of Judaism. He couldn’t understand why the world refused to take his insane claim seriously.
Reasonable, rational people don’t take any of these seven big lies seriously. Yet even while everyone acknowledges that these are all insane fantasies and fabrications, the international community continues to demand that Israel agree to the establishment, in its back yard, of a sovereign Palestinian Arab state headed by these delusional hate-mongers. That is the real problem.
Stephen M. Flatowis a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, an attorney in New Jersey and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is the author of “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror.”