Palestinianism is perhaps the most perilous system of thought to emerge since fascism and communism. But it is an ideology that has been nameless, as if designed to escape detection. But Palestinianism is real and it poses an enormous threat to Israel and the Jewish diaspora.
The Palestinianist ideology is particularly dangerous because it draws strength from a range of sources. You don’t have to be an Arab or a Muslim to be a Palestinianist. A large number of western socialists, liberals, conservatives and even neo-Nazis can be described as Palestinianists. Many Presbyterians, Methodists, Quakers, university academics, trade unions, NGOs and charities also deserve the epithet. All share an irrational hatred or distrust of Israel and/or Jews.
What is disturbing about Palestinianism is that it comprises many stripes of anti-Semitism. Christian and Muslim Palestinianists believe in replacement theology in which their respective faiths supersede or make obsolete the Jewish faith. Liberal Palestinianists dislike Israel because they perceive the Jewish state as exclusivist. Socialist Palestinianists abhor Israel because it is a military power with close links to the US.
All these beliefs are rooted in what is perhaps the biggest political fraud in history, that the Jews “stole” land that didn’t belong to them. The absurd notion that the “Palestinians” are the indigenous people of a country called “Palestine” is a fabrication designed to undermine the moral and legal foundations of the world’s only Jewish state. Unfortunately, the land libel, as I call it, is spreading like wildfire. In much the same way as Jews were accused of killing the Son of God or using the blood of Christian children for ritual purposes, the Jews are now accused of stealing land and committing genocide. Hence the detested chant: “Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea.”
It is ironic that the same people who spend their lives claiming Jews stole someone else’s land spend an equal amount of time trying to deny and falsify the Jewish people’s historical, legal and cultural ties to the land of Israel. Part of this approach involves the rewriting of history and appropriation of Jewish identity. Palestine usurps Judea, while Jerusalem is retitled al-Quds. Judea and Samaria – an ancient geographical term for the land west of River Jordan – is now the West Bank.
While Zionism is thousands of years old, Palestinianism is a recent invention. It was born out of the Arab defeat of the Six-Day War in 1967. The realization that the Jews would not be “driven into the sea” meant that the Arabs (and their left-wing sympathizers) had to find another way of destroying the Jewish inhabitants of the Holy Land. Yasser Arafat’s invention of the Palestinian people was the answer to the Arab dilemma. In other words, Palestinianism is the ideological response to the astounding success of Zionism.
If Zionism is an ancient concept, Palestinianism is a superficial construct built on a lie about stolen land. The fact that Palestinianism has no culture or history to build on may explain why Palestinians are unable to establish functioning institutions in Gaza and the West Bank. For how can a state be built on a lie? In reality, Palestinianism isn’t about building a Palestinian state. It is a propaganda tool designed to undermine Israel. As such, it is hysterical, irrational, disproportionate and explicitly anti-Semitic.
One can perhaps understand why Arabs and Muslims hate Israel. After all, Arab nationalism and Islamic imperialism gain much of their strength from anti-Semitic rhetoric in the Quran and Hadith literature. Several verses in the Quran describe the transformation of Jews into apes and pigs as punishment for breaking the Sabbath or “worshipping evil.” Before ordering that every adult male of a particular Jewish tribe be killed, Mohammed referred to the Jews as “brothers of monkeys.” So it is no surprise that today’s Islamists refer to Jews as the “descendants of apes and swine,” or why Hamas says that Jews are sub-human.
What is alarming is the fact that so many liberal-minded people in the West have bought into the Palestinianist myth. After all, Israel is a democracy, with equal rights for women, gays and ethnic minorities like Arabs and Druze, and is a world-leader in the innovation of medicine, irrigation and green technology. It is curious that liberals and socialists, who in other circumstances champion democracy and equal rights, are apologists for reactionary organization like Hamas and Hezbollah. The only explanation for this paradoxical behaviour is that such people are anti-Semitic.
The boycotting of Jewish shops in the UK and the Kristalnacht-type behaviour in continental Europe are manifestations of the Palestinianist ideology. And it is an ideology that must be named and defeated. Anti-Semitic boycotts and attacks on synagogues in the 1930s were clearly identified as acts of fascism or Nazism. Boycotts, sanctions and Jew-hatred in the 21st century must be seen for what they are – acts of Palestinianism.
And as we come face to face with those who hate us on the streets of Manchester, London and Paris, we must clearly identify such people as Palestinianists.