Palestinianism

Palestine – it’s not worth it

One of the most alarming experiences as a European is to see how our politicians and the media continue to criticize Israel but not the Palestinians, whose pseudo-national aspirations garner more attention than Syrian war casualties, Chinese human rights abuses and the plight of women and girls enslaved by Islamic terrorists.

It is strange that the Palestinians – who have no historical, cultural or legal rights to the land of Israel – are endowed with international and economic patronage by the US, the EU and the UN. How did the Palestinians and their Arabist-Islamist backers manage to achieve such a feat?

Firstly, the Palestinians have learnt that violence is rewarded. Acts of terror against Israelis have only strengthened the West’s belief that a Palestinian state is of paramount importance. The latest round of fighting in Gaza confirms this.

Secondly, the Palestinians have managed to convince most of the world that they are a landless and suffering people, whose plight is equal to that of the Jews in the 1930s and 1940s. This is has to be one of history’s biggest hoaxes. And it is a very dangerous hoax indeed. Why? Because the “Palestinian issue” has enabled Europe to reconnect with its Jew-hating past by blurring the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

The fact that Jewish businesses across the world are being boycotted is testament to the perverse success of the Palestinian movement. Jews in France have been murdered. Synagogues in Belfast and London have been vandalized. Anti-Semitic chants and references to the Holocaust are commonplace in Europe’s cities. Countries that pride themselves on their enlightened and liberal societies – such as Sweden, Germany and Norway – are all places where Jews no longer feel safe.

At last, the shocking rise in anti-Semitism in Europe is garnering some media attention. But the issue is still not taken seriously by the liberal-left, the police and most politicians. This is because much of the anti-Semitic abuse is carried out by Muslims who claim it is retribution for their “brothers” in Gaza. And the liberal elite either agrees or looks the other way.

The situation cannot continue. It is incomprehensible that Jews are suffering the same hatred as they did during the 1930s and 1940s. The curse of anti-Semitism is once again strangling Europe’s hard-won freedoms. The post-1945 consensus that Jews will never again be made to suffer at the hands of fascists is falling apart.

Perhaps Europe’s leaders should be asking themselves one simple question: is the creation of a Palestinian state really worth the aggravation? After all, the people who call themselves Palestinians have had at least seven opportunities since 1937 to establish a state alongside Israel and each time they have refused. Since it is clear that the Palestinians are not interested in peaceful co-existence, it is surely incumbent on the international community to focus on more important matters (such as the liberation of the Kurds from Islamist imperialism).

Will Europe listen? Or will it continue to advance the Palestinian issue until not a single Jew is left in Europe? Only time will tell. But in the meantime don’t be surprised if the number of Jews making Aliyah continues to rise.

 

 

 

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The real danger facing Jews

In a new op-ed for Arutz Sheva, Moshe Kempinski warns of the creeping tide of Hellenism (non-Jewish practices) or a “sea of political correctness” which threatens to overwhelm Jewish identity.

He has a point, although I think the situation is more complicated. Plus, there is a far more dangerous threat to Jewishness than the “new Hellenism.”

It’s true that diaspora Jews face a struggle to retain their religious and cultural identities due to legal rulings and cultural prejudices. Only recently, the Council of Europe described circumcision as a “violation” of children’s human rights. In Switzerland, a Geneva city councilman warned his municipality against allowing a public Hanukkah event, which he said would infringe Swiss law. In Poland, ritual slaughter has been suspended on the grounds that Jews (and Muslims) are not exempt from animal protection laws.  And in Britain, some Jews are being denied unemployment benefits because they refuse to work on the Sabbath.

Throughout their long and painful history, Jews have struggled hard to maintain their religion and cultural practices. Anti-Semitic attitudes, pogroms, terrorism, assimilation, forced conversions and legal restrictions have all frayed the tapestry of Jewish identity.

However, the dividing lines between Jewishness and non-Jewishness are not always easy to define. Scholars believe that the Sadducees and even some Pharisees (two of the Jewish sects active in Judea in the Second Temple period) were willing to incorporate Hellenism into their lives. The most notable product of Hellenistic influence was the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures.  Philo and Josephus considered the Septuagint to be as reliable as the Hebrew Masoretic text. Interestingly, Septuagint manuscripts have been discovered among the Qumran Scrolls in the Dead Sea.

Jewish places of worship owe much to Hellenism. The word “synagogue” comes from Koine Greek, a language spoken by Hellenized Jews in southeast Europe, the Middle East and north Africa after the 3rd century BCE. Many synagogues were built by the so-called Hellenistai. These were adherents of a type of Hellenistic Judaism in the Greek Isles, Syria and northern Israel in the first century BCE.

And let’s not forget that there are many good things about Hellenistic culture. The world would be a poorer place without the writings of Homer, Aristotle and Plato or the mathematical discoveries of Pythagoras and Euclid.

On the flip side of the coin, non-Jewish cultures have absorbed many Hebraic ideas. Thanks to Judaism, westerners experience time as linear rather than cyclical. This has fostered a belief in material and social progress. The notion of a monotheistic personal God is thoroughly Hebraic, of course. Ethical imperatives such as justice for the oppressed and sustenance for the poor are derived from the Hebrew prophets. Yes, some of these ideas have been propagated by Christianity and Islam, but neither of these religions would exist without the parent religion of Judaism.

Hebraism and Hellenism are not enemies. The problem when arises when one culture tries to force its beliefs on another as when Antiochus IV Epiphanes (174–163 BCE) tried to impose Hellenic cults on Judea.

I completely understand the concerns of Jews who are afraid that assimilation or modern-day Hellenism will swallow up Jewish identity, particularly in America. And I sympathize with Jews who are pained by the banning of ritual slaughter and the attack on circumcision in Europe. But the real problem facing Jews today is not Hellenism. The real problem is actually something far more pernicious and life-threatening. It is Palestinianism.

II

In Europe, physical attacks on Jews receive little attention in the media because much of the abuse is carried out by Arabs who are under the political protection of some liberals who accuse critics of Islamophobia or racism. Given the European media’s irrational hatred or suspicion of Israel, this is not surprising. You only have to look at the biased news coverage and the vitriolic editorials in publications like The Guardian.

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.

The totalizing effect of this confluence of prejudices is the fetishization of Arab revolutionary violence (“We are all Hamas now”) and the denial/falsification of the Jewish people’s historical, legal and cultural ties to the land of Israel. This approach involves the appropriation of Jewish identity. Hence, Israel is recast as ‘occupied Palestine’ and Jerusalem is al-Quds. Judea and Samaria – an ancient geographical term for the land west of River Jordan – is now the West Bank. The Palestinians are the ‘new Jews’ and the Shoah is sidelined to make way for the Nakba.

Some Palestinianists hold the strange belief that the Temple in Jerusalem never existed. Others use the Bible or the Quran to ‘prove’ that God has rejected Judaism in favor of Christianity or Islam. Some Palestinianists deny the Holocaust or are calling for another one. And of course, many Palestinianists simply use violence to inflict physical and psychological damage on Jews – not just in Israel, but also in France, Sweden, Bulgaria, the UK and elsewhere.

I respect Moshe Kempinski’s concerns about assimilation and “Hellenistic” political correctness. He is certainly right to highlight these issues. But I would offer the view that Palestinianism – not Hellenism – poses the more immediate threat to contemporary Jews. Today’s challenge is not about the survival of Judaism as a religion or cultural tradition but about the survival of Jews and of Israel. This challenge does not come from Athens but from Mecca, Tehran, Brussels and Moscow.

Or to put it another way: if the Maccabees were alive today, they would be fighting Hezbollah, not the Greeks.

 

Moshe Kempinski’s article can be read here: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/14178#.UpySp8RSixJ

Europe’s Jews and the Palestinian obsession

In the past few days, two very high-profile figures have spoken out about the dangers of anti-Semitism. Both Prince Charles and Pope Francis have expressed concern that Judeophobia is a growing problem in Britain and Europe.

In a speech praising the outgoing British chief rabbi, Lord Sacks, the Prince of Wales warned that Britain was suffering from an “apparent rise in anti-Semitism, along with other poisonous and debilitating forms of intolerance.”

Meanwhile, Pope Francis has condemned anti-Semitism, calling it unchristian. “Because of our commons roots, a true Christian cannot be anti-Semitic,” he said at a meeting with representatives of the international Jewish community at the Vatican.

These comments come at a time when anti-Semitism is running high in Britain and Europe. A new report, conducted on behalf of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, found that 26% of Jews in Europe have suffered anti-Semitic harassment at least once in the past year, while 34% experienced harassment in the past five years.

According to the study, around half of all Jews living in France, Belgium and Hungary are considering emigrating because they no longer feel safe in their respective countries. And it seems a safe bet that many of these frightened people will seek sanctuary in Israel.

Making Aliyah is a testament to the success of Zionism but it is also a sad indication that Europe has still not learnt to cherish its Jewish communities, even after the horrors of the Holocaust. But the decimation of European Jewish life will continue as long as the security situation remains precarious.

Over the past decade and a half, Europe’s Jews have witnessed a disturbing rise in the number of anti-Semitic attacks, often by Arabs who use their irrational hatred of Israel to justify their attacks. Assaults, murders, death threats, cemetery desecrations, firebombings, graffiti and even the bullying of Jewish children by their Muslim peers are all too frequent in contemporary Europe.

The rise in anti-Semitism in Europe has received little attention or sympathy because much of the abuse is carried out by Muslims under the protection of liberals who accuse critics of Islamophobia or racism. Far too often, universities, political institutions, charities, churches and media outlets provide a platform for radical Muslims and other anti-Semites to disseminate their hatred of Israel and Jews.

And there are many people – politicians among them – who are simply afraid to condemn Islamic violence because of fear of retribution. Left-wing officials in Bulgaria, for instance, have been reluctant to blacklist Hezbollah following the infamous bus bombing because of concerns that condemning the Shia militants will lead to a terrorist backlash.

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The driving force behind contemporary anti-Semitism is the unhealthy obsession with the Palestinians. This fixation usually involves prejudicial, stupid and sometimes vitriolic condemnation of the Jewish state, with absurd characterizations of Israel as an apartheid nation that tortures Palestinian children. This is little different from accusing Jews of poisoning wells or using the blood of Christian children to make Passover bread.

I suspect that Prince Charles and Pope Francis are both aware of the link between anti-Semitism and Israel-bashing but are reluctant to become entangled in a political row concerning Israel and the Palestinians. But perhaps they ought to say something because it is an inescapable fact that Palestinianism, which seeks to divorce the Jewish people from the land of Israel, is the driving force behind contemporary anti-Semitism.

Indeed, it is Europe’s Jews who are bearing the brunt of the disproportionate focus on the Palestinian issue. The majority of Jews identity with the State of Israel, so they must be horrified when the Church of Scotland denies the biblical injunction that Israel was promised to the Hebrews, or when university campuses hold their annual hatefest known as Apartheid Week, or when The Sunday Times prints a cartoon depicting Binyamin Netanyahu building a wall using what appears to be the blood of Palestinians.

What is essentially a dispute over a tiny piece of land in the Middle East has become a huge issue at the top of the global agenda. I suspect that Israelophobes – whether they are jihadists, far-right conspiracy theorists or Presbyterians – have deliberately turned the Israeli-Palestinian impasse into a universal problem in order to justify their conflict with Jews. In any other circumstance you would be hard pressed to find a situation in which Islamists, neo-Nazis, socialists, liberals, radical Islamists and Quakers agree on anything. But when it comes to Israel and “the Jews,” all these factions share the same demented prejudice. And it is this prejudice which is harming Jewish communities in Manchester, Malmo, Toulouse and elsewhere.

And isn’t it amazing how many people say the most outrageous things about Israel and the Jews but deny they are anti-Semitic. This was a behavior something observed by British writer George Orwell, who noted that anti-Semites rebuff the accusation of anti-Semitism because deep down they know that it is “an irrational thing.”

Orwell also observed that anti-Semites are completely immune to facts and statistics. I could mention the fact that the 1920 San Remo Conference and the 1922 Mandate of Palestine endorse the creation of a Jewish homeland in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). I could point out that Israeli Arabs have the vote and represent their constituents in the Knesset. I could present a dazzling assortment of photographs of Gaza’s five-star hotel, bustling markets, luxury shopping mall and beautiful beaches, as well as jeeps and refrigerators supplied by Israel. But anti-Semites would still insist that Gaza is a prison camp.

But as Orwell said, “If you dislike somebody, you dislike him and there is an end of it: your feelings are not made any better by a recital of his virtues.”

I think Orwell makes an interesting point. Anti-Semitism and the hatred of Israel is an emotional or neurotic condition in which the anti-Semite loses contact with reality and cannot be swayed by logic or facts. Their emotional attachment to hating Jews and Israel must be maintained at all costs, otherwise their worldview will collapse. As the Swiss psychotherapist Carl Jung noted, “I have frequently seen people become neurotic when they content themselves with inadequate or wrong answers to the questions of life.”

That is why I am starting to believe that the most vocal critics of Israel do not want an end to the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. Demonizing Israel and focusing obsessively on the Palestinian issue (without ever solving it) is politically and emotionally useful to anti-Semites who need the conflict to endure in order to maintain their own irrational hatred of Jews, Judaism and all things Israeli.

And as long as sensible people in the corridors of power in Westminster and Brussels continue to play into the hands of these obsessional and irrational anti-Semites, the security of Jews will become increasingly perilous and many will leave Europe for the safety of Israel or the US.

It would be unforgivable if Hitler’s dream of a Judenfrei Europe belatedly comes true because of the hysterical actions of Palestinianists and the weakness of politicians.

Archbishop Welby: a friend of Israel?

Justin Welby has been Archbishop of Canterbury for less than six months and he has already made the important gesture of visiting the Middle East. Hopefully, it is the start of a much-needed reappraisal of the Anglican Church’s attitude towards the Jewish state.

Starting Sunday, Archbishop Welby will spend five days touring Israel, Jordan and Egypt, including trips to the Western Wall, the Church of the Resurrection, the Temple Mount and Yad Vashem. He is also meeting with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, patriarchs and church leaders.

His first official trip to Israel coincides with the discovery that he has Jewish ancestry, a fact that was hidden from him until recently. His father’s family were German Jewish immigrants who moved to England to escape anti-Semitism in the late 19th century. The new archbishop says he is “really pleased” to discover that he has a Jewish family, including a cousin who is a rabbi in London.

Archbishop Welby’s visit is highly symbolic. It is a sign that he is willing to embrace Christianity’s (and his own) Jewish roots, which is particularly important at a time when many in the Church – especially on the Left – are distancing themselves from the biblical concept of the Jews as the people destined to reside in the land of Israel.

So is the new Archbishop an ally of Israel? Canon Andrew White, the Vicar of Baghdad, thinks so. Israel and the Jewish people, he says, have nothing to fear. Meanwhile, Ed Kessler, executive director of the Woolf Institute, says Welby is “genuinely sensitive to Jews and Judaism” and “open to Israel as a Jewish state.” And according to a report in The Jewish News, Archbishop Welby is opposed to boycotts of Israel.

This is welcome news. But Archbishop Welby still has an uphill task when it comes to moderating the intemperate (and sometimes blatantly anti-Semitic) language and behavior of some of his clergy in the Church of England, many of whom have embraced an unpleasant ideology called Christian Palestinianism, which denies any historical or theological connection between the biblical Israel, the Jewish people and the modern State of Israel.

Indeed, it is a sad fact that the Kulturkampf (“culture war”) being waged against the Jewish state is spearheaded by several notable Anglicans. Retired Anglican bishop Desmond Tutu, for example, actively supports the boycott and divestment movement and has repeatedly called Israel an “apartheid” state. On a Christmas visit to Jerusalem in 1989, Tutu said “a description of what is happening in Gaza and the West Bank could describe events in South Africa.” He echoed these comments in 2002, when he spoke of “the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about.” Enraged by Tutu’s anti-Israel posturing, US attorney Alan Dershowitz has described the retired bishop as a “racist and a bigot.”

Another Anglican bigot is Naim Ateek, former canon of St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem and author of a tract called Justice, and only Justice, a Palestinian Theology of Liberation. Ateek believes there is “a great need to de-Zionize” sections of the Bible, which he considers “exclusivist.” Ateek is also fond of portraying Jesus as “a Palestinian living under an occupation.” In his 2001 Easter sermon he unashamedly spoke of “crucified Palestinians,” the “Israeli crucifixion system” and Palestine as “one huge Golgotha”. Obviously, he was drawing on the old canard of Jews as Christ-killers.

In 1989, Ateek founded the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center (which has spawned sister organizations in countries including the UK and the US). Sabeel promotes the idea that Zionism is based on a false interpretation of the Bible and that it stands for injustice. Critics of Sabeel claim that the organization regularly engages in anti-Israel propaganda and seeks to delegitimize the right of the Jewish state to exist. The Anti-Defamation League accuses the organization of “generating hostility towards Israel” citing “its use of theologically charged accusations.”

In the UK, the most notorious (and vile) Anglican anti-Zionist is Dr Stephen Sizer, incumbent of an Anglican parish in Surrey. According to Sizer, there is “no evidence that the apostles [of Jesus] believed that the Jewish people still had a divine right to the land, or that Jewish possession of the land would be important, let alone that Jerusalem would remain a central aspect of God’s purposes for the world.” In short, Jerusalem and the Land of Israel “have been made irrelevant to God’s redemptive purposes.”

Sizer is a regular contributor to Islamic media outlets, including Iran’s atrocious Press TV. He has been photographed with Arafat and with Zahra Mostafavi Khomeini, the daughter of the Ayatollah. He has met with – and publicly defended – Raed Salah, a Hamas fundraiser who accuses the Jews of making Passover bread with the blood of Christian children. (There are numerous photos of Sizer and Salah enjoying each other’s company.)

Some members of the Jewish community regard Sizer as a proponent of Christian anti-Semitism. British journalist Melanie Phillips has condemned him in her writings, while British Jewish historian Geoffrey Alderman has criticized Sizer for hiding his prejudice behind an “academic guise.” Sizer’s views have also angered many in the Christian community. The Right Reverend Nigel McCulloch, who is Bishop of Manchester and Chairman of the Council of Christians and Jews, has referred to Sizer’s behavior as “disgraceful and unbecoming for a clergyman.” And Simon McIlwaine, the founder of Anglican Friends of Israel, has called for Sizer to be defrocked.

Despite some dissenting voices, there has been a systematic campaign inside the Church to demonize and isolate Israel. Several years ago, the synod or governing body of the Church of England voted to disinvest church funds from some companies which supply goods and services to Israel. The main target of the plan was Caterpillar Inc, which sells earth-moving vehicles to the Israel Defense Forces. (The IDF uses many Caterpillar machines such as bulldozers and excavators mainly for engineering, earthworks and building projects.)

More insidious is the Church’s relationship with the Ecumenical Accompaniers Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). EAPPI’s main function is to “bring international Christian volunteers to the West Bank to experience life under occupation.” EAPPI has focused exclusively on the existence of Israel as the fundamental cause of conflict in the Middle East. It ignores Palestinian terror attacks against Israeli civilians and supports the right-to-return policy, which would effectively end Israel as a Jewish country.

But such concerns did not prevent the Church of England throwing its weight behind the EAPPI in an important debate last July. The Church’s governing body voted by a significant majority to support the nefarious aims of EAPPI. A closer look at the voting figures shows that clergy voted 4 to 1 in favor, while the laity voted 3 to 1. Even the then-Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who abstained from the vote, expressed his “respect and gratitude for the immense courage and dedication of the volunteers.”

He added: “There are some people, in their uncritical assumption that the government of Israel can do no wrong, who are clearly going to be very irritated by information being disseminated of the kind that EAPPI does.”

Did he not realize that the “information” disseminated by the EAPPI is little more than Palestinian propaganda?

But what is particularly interesting is the fact that Welby, before he became archbishop, also abstained from the vote – but now wishes he had voted against it. In a recent interview with The Jewish News, Archbishop Welby said: “On reflection, I’d have voted against. I wasn’t quite up to speed when I went into that vote. I think the situation in the Holy Land is so complicated that we always have to show we recognize this and I don’t think the motion adequately reflected the complexity.” He also told the publication that he should have used the debate to emphasize Israel’s right to “live in security and peace.”

It is slightly alarming Welby “wasn’t quite up to speed” on such an important issue, but at least he has been brave enough to renounce his earlier position. Indeed, his new position has upset some of his colleagues. Dr John Dinnen, the Anglican synod member who proposed the motion, said he was “sad” that Archbishop Welby “now feels he should have voted against my private member’s measure.”

Welby’s predecessor, Rowan Williams, did little to halt political Jew-bashing in the Anglican Church. Can the new archbishop do any better? Can Archbishop Welby succeed in portraying the State of Israel in a better light? It is true that he is not in a position to instruct the synod on how to vote in future debates. But his positive attitude towards Israel and the Jewish people may have a sobering effect on the Palestinianists within the Anglican community.

Furthermore, Archbishop Welby’s trip to the Middle East is a good opportunity to speak out on behalf of those Christians who are persecuted by their Muslim neighbors. So far, the Church of England and EAPPI have done little to express solidarity with Christians who are being harassed and driven out by Muslim fanatics in the so-called Palestinian territories, as well as in Iraq and Egypt.

Take the Christian village of Taybeh in Judea and Samaria, for example. The residents of Taybeh live in constant fear of Muslim gangs from the surrounding villages. In September 2005, hundreds of Muslims attacked the village, torching property and desecrating a statue of the Virgin Mary. In May 2012, a massacre was narrowly prevented after Palestinian Authority policemen drove out a gang of Muslim men who were intent on causing trouble.

Of course, the plight of Christians in Muslim areas is rarely reported because it is not newsworthy and it does not fit the prevailing anti-Israel narrative. But Archbishop Welby has a massive worldwide audience who might sit up and take notice if he publicly highlighted the recurring problem of Muslim violence against Christians in the Holy Land.

Archbishop Welby has only been in office for a very short time. But during this period he has criticized the UK government’s austerity measures and he has visited the new pope in an effort to bridge the gap between Anglicans and Catholics. Now would be a good time to repair the damage done to Anglican-Jewish relations and condemn Islamic violence. And if he can make the case for Israel and turn the tide of anti-Zionist opinion within his own ranks, so much the better.

Palestinianism: the condition of the “idiot-fanatic”

“Elementary Israeli logic, which insisted that history, reality and facts will effortlessly trump even the most sophisticated adversarial PR campaigns, does not hold water in a post-modern age.” – Avi Zimmerman

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What is Palestinianism?

Palestinianism is an international anti-Zionist campaign advanced by a strange coalition of radical Islamists and Arab nationalists; some Christian denominations; left-wing academics, journalists and politicians; anarchists; ultra-conservatives and Far Right groups; various NGOS and charities; the UN; and a selection of media outlets such as Al Jazeera and the Guardian.

Palestinianism has grown to be the biggest fraud in modern history and is an unfortunate blemish on post-Holocaust humanity. The notion of an indigenous Arab populace belonging to a place called Palestine is a politically-motivated fabrication designed to undermine the moral, economic, diplomatic, historical, legal and cultural foundations of the world’s only Jewish state. In other words, Palestinianism is anti-Semitic.

Anti-Semitism denies the Jewish people the right to political, religious and cultural self-determination. Likewise, Palestinianism falsifies, denies and delegitimizes the Jewish people’s historical, cultural, legal ties to the land of Israel.

The proponents of Palestinianism unashamedly use anti-Jewish rhetoric, images, tropes and propaganda to advance the fraudulent claim that Israel is a colonial state and that Palestinian Arabs are stateless and living under apartheid. Palestinianists apply double standards by requiring of Israel a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation. They use particular symbols, images and tropes (e.g. Jews as vampires, Christ-killers). Palestinianists draw comparisons of Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

The anti-Semitic roots of Palestinianism are manifold and include: the dhimmi (second-class) status of Jews in Arab lands before the creation of the State of Israel; the shared history and mutual influences of the Nazis and the Muslim world in the 1930s and 1940s; anti-Jewish themes in the Quran and Islamic literature; anti-Jewish themes in Christian texts; the rejection of Jewish nationalism within Marxist and other left-wing ideologies; and neo-Nazi conspiracy theories about “Jewish power.”

Another telling sign that Palestinianism is anti-Semitic is the level of animosity directed at Israel – animosity that is irrational, disproportionate, hysterical and graphically explicit. This is strange when one considers that 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.

In a sensible world, the clash between Israelis and Arabs would be seen for what it is: a relatively minor dispute over a small piece of land. But the fact that Israel is a Jewish state has provoked a level of racial hostility not seen since the days of the Third Reich. A number of academics, thinkers and journalists, alarmed at the rise in Judeophobia around the world, describe the intense and irrational hatred of the Jewish state as “the new anti-Semitism” or even “Israelophobia.”

Whatever one calls it, it is a sickness, the condition of the “idiot-fanatic” (to quote Nietzsche). Despite being advanced by so-called progressive thinkers, Palestinianism is alarmingly stupid and reactionary. It is an ideology that enthuses hypocrisy and intellectual bankruptcy. It is amazing how many on the Left in Europe campaign on behalf of minorities but want to see the only Jewish state in the world dismantled. It is amazing how many so-called progressives campaign for a Palestinian state, which if it ever happens, is likely to be another failed state which crushes opposition and oppresses women and gays. It is amazing how many writers call for a boycott of the only country in the Middle East with a free press. So it no surprise to find a group called Queers for Palestine campaigning on behalf of Muslim fundamentalists; we have Stephen Hawking – who relies heavily on Israeli technology to communicate – refusing to appear at a science conference in the Jewish state; we have political activists delivering weapons to Gaza under the banner of humanitarianism while Israel pours aid and food into the territory; we have radical Islamists condemning Israel as a “terrorist state” for assassinating a terrorist chief, while Islamist terrorists slaughter Muslim civilians on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, Palestinianism is less about the creation of a viable Palestinian state or peaceful co-existence with Jews and more about the dismantling or destruction of the world’s only Jewish state – for the sole that it is run by Jews for Jews. Throughout its short history, Palestinianism has shown itself to be a nihilist ideology that encapsulates and advances violence, rupture, ahistoricity, instability and relativism, all of which are in conflict with liberal and Hebraic notions of time, history, truth, democracy and development.

It is ironic, then, that Palestinianism is inspired by Zionism. Palestinianism is actually a crude pastiche of the 2,000-year-old Jewish desire to re-establish a homeland in the Middle East. The Palestinian Arabs did not seek to establish a homeland until after the formation of the State of Israel in 1948, and even then they were more concerned with destroying the Jewish state than actually focusing on how to build their own democratic institutions. Once it was clear that the Arab states could not defeat Israel in the wars of 1947-8 and 1967, the Arabs had no choice but to invent a Palestinian nationalism, which involved the appropriation of Israeli land, especially Jerusalem and the Jewish heartland of Judea and Samaria. The invention of Palestinianism – which is symbolized by the invention of the Nakba and the ambition to divide Jerusalem – is a political tool designed to undermine Israel’s existence and security.

Before the creation of Israel, the word “Palestinian” usually denoted the Jewish occupants of the Land of Israel. (That is why The Jerusalem Post used to be called The Palestine Post.) In a 1939 essay, George Orwell referred to the “Arabs” on the one hand and “Palestine Jews” on the other. All of which helps explain why Arab leaders like Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi told the Peel Commission in 1937: “There is no such country as Palestine. Palestine is a term the Zionists invented.”

In a sense, he was right. Never in history has there been a country called Palestine. As Arab historian Philip Hitti told the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry in 1946, “there is no such thing as Palestine in history.” In the years and decades preceding the establishment of the State of Israel, Arab riots and pogroms against British rule were not directed towards the creation of a Palestinian state. And the Arab massacres of Jews in the 1920s and 1930s were inspired by anti-Semitism, not by a desire for an independent Palestinian state.

In 1947, Arab leaders protesting the UN partition plan argued that Palestine was part of Syria. Indeed, before the 1960s, many Arab yearned for a “Greater Syria.” There was no Palestinian nation at the time of Israel’s independence and there was no demand for Palestinian statehood when Egypt controlled Gaza and Jordan occupied Judea and Samaria (“the West Bank”) from 1948 to 1967.

The words “Palestinian” and “Palestine” were only appropriated by a number of Arabs when it became clear that the Jewish state was a fact. Since the 1960s, the word “Palestinian” has been invested with a political significance designed to undermine Israel’s legitimacy.

Yasser Arafat, the icon of the Palestinianist movement, admitted that “the Palestinian people have no national identity.” And he went on to boast that he, as a “man of destiny,” will provide that identity “through conflict with Israel.”

And in an interview with a Dutch newspaper in 1977, PLO executive committee member Zahir Muhsein stated: “The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity.”

One of the enduring myths of the Arab-Israeli crisis is that the Palestinians are an indigenous people. Palestinians are not an ethnic sub-group. There is no such thing as an ethnic Palestinian. Arabs in Israel and the West Bank are ethnically identical to Arabs living in Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Egypt. The population in Gaza is largely Bedouin Arab in origin.

Furthermore, many of the Palestinian Arabs living in Israel in 1948 were themselves immigrants who came to the land in the wake of successful Zionist enterprises. The Zionists offered a better standard of living and higher wages than neighboring Arab employers. Before the earliest Zionist settlers arrived at the end of the 19th century, the land was sparsely populated and desolate.

Palestinianism, then, 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 had to find another way of liquidating the Jewish inhabitants of the Holy Land. The sudden desire for a Palestinian state was – and still is – a tool to delegitimize and destabilize the State of Israel. But deploying the twin engines of terror and politics were not enough. For how can a state be built on a lie? There is neither an authentic Palestinian culture or history to build on. This may explain why Palestinians are unable to establish functioning institutions, despite the countless opportunities to establish their own state. Instead, the Palestinians had to invent an ideology – Palestinianism – which could be exported around the world, garnering the support of Far Left groups and radical Islamists.

Palestinianism and the “death of the real”

According to French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, contemporary society is alienated from “the real” due to an “ecstasy” of information. Media consumers, he points out, live in a “hyper-real” universe where reality is simulated. Indeed, many people (in the West and in the Muslim world) are alienated from the reality of the Arab-Israeli conflict due to an overload of disinformation, pseudo-historical posturing and faked news footage emanating from the Palestinianists. Truth and historical facts are relegated and replaced by a fabricated “reality” that is mediated by television, newspapers, films and the internet.

The derealization of the Arab-Israeli conflict is fought by Palestinianists with the weapons of delegitimization, defamation, disinformation, anti-Semitic propaganda, pseudo-history, faked news footage and boycotts. This Kulturkampf (“culture war”) is advanced in several arenas, notably the media, on campuses, among trade unions and especially the internet. Indeed, Israel’s critics and enemies are very adept at using the internet as a tool for spreading propaganda and conspiracy theories. The internet is a kind of electronic intifada in which falsehoods are routinely – and easily – produced.

The fact that Palestinianism has found such a willing audience around the world strongly suggests the idea of the “real” or objective reality has been well and truly shattered. As far as the global media is concerned, faked events and pseudo-facts are no less real than reality itself. Indeed, they may be more real because they serve a “higher cause”, which is the demonization of Israel. The best example of the “death of the real” is the phenomenon known as Pallywood.

Pallywood, a portmanteau of Palestinian and Hollywood, is a coinage used by some media watchdogs to describe doctored and fake media footage produced by the Palestinians to illustrate their false but lethal narratives about Israel. Calev Ben-David, writing in The Jerusalem Post, describes Pallywood as “media manipulation, distortion and outright fraud by the Palestinians and (and other Arabs, such as the Reuters photographer caught faking photos during the Second Lebanon War), designed to win the public relations war against Israel.”

Canadian columnist Paul Schneidereit writes: “We’ve seen cases where the bodies of Palestinian martyrs carried on stretchers are inadvertently dropped, then, of their own volition, climb back on again. We’ve seen reports of massacres, as in Jenin in 2002, that turned out, after independent investigation, to have been greatly exaggerated. Needless to say, such episodes don’t instill an abiding trust in subsequent Palestinian claims, at least until they’re verified.”

The methods used by the Palestinian disinformation industry include:

1. Using visual media to construct fake stories of Israeli atrocities. This involves editing media footage and staging events. For example, directing Palestinian civilians, ambulance drivers, doctors and police to “act out” roles such as the “injured man”, the “dead child”, the “concerned medic”, the “brave freedom fighter.” Palestinian journalists and cameraman are complicit in this theatre of propaganda.

2. Luring Israeli soldiers into schools, shelters and hospitals and using civilians as human shields in order to increase the casualty rate. For example, in 2009 Hamas militants fired mortar shells from a school in Gaza. The IDF returned fire, resulting in 40 civilian fatalities.

3. Ignoring or downplaying attacks on Israeli civilians, and omitting to mention the oppression and murder of fellow Palestinians by Hamas and Fatah.

4. Repeating the claim that Israel ethnically cleansed Palestine in 1947-48, despite the fact that Palestinian leaders deliberately spread false rumors of rape and massacres in order to provoke Arab armies to fight on their behalf.

5. Repeating the claim that Israel is a colonialist occupier of a country called Palestine, despite the fact that there has never been a Palestinian nation and that Jews have lived in the Holy Land for the past three thousand years.

6. Claiming that Jerusalem is the capital of a country called Palestine despite the fact that Jerusalem has never been the capital of an Arab or Muslim entity.

7. Depicting the Israelis as Nazis and claiming the Jews faked or exaggerated the Holocaust.

8. Masking the prosperity of the Gaza Strip by focusing on isolated examples of hardship.

9. Disseminating faked reports of massacres, deaths of children, atrocities and privations to the Western media. e.g. claiming the Israelis had carried out a massacre in Jenin in 2002.

10. Appealing to the United Nations, Amnesty International, the Western media and NGOs for help and/or aid, despite the fact that Israel provides aid and/or allows passage for humanitarian assistance.

Untruth, it seems, is the currency of Palestinianism, but sadly it is a currency that buys a lot of media coverage. Israel, perhaps because of its higher ethical standards and commitment to authentic narratives, has not resorted to the tactics of disinformation and faked news footage. But as a result, Israel is facing a severe crisis of representation because traditional modes of understanding – i.e. the relation between fact and reportage – are no longer be considered useful or even valid.

The apartheid fantasy

Another aspect of the Palestinianist delegitimization and disinformation campaign is the pernicious comparison between Israel and apartheid South Africa. It is a claim which has no basis in fact.

There are many instances where Israelis and Arabs work and play together in peace, and there are frequently stories in the newspapers about Israeli hospitals treating Palestinian children or Israeli medics rushing to help injured Palestinians. In fact, over 100,000 Palestinians received medical care in Israel during 2011. In the same year, more than 100 Palestinian doctors were interns at Israeli hospitals. Even in times of conflict, Israeli army policy is as follows: “The treatment of the Palestinian population is first and foremost a moral and professional obligation for every one of us.”

As Benjamin Pogrund, the South African-born author, observes: “Jewish and Arab babies are born in the same delivery room, with the same facilities, attended by the same doctors and nurses, with the mothers recovering in adjoining beds in a ward.” He also observed that Jews and Arabs share meals in restaurants and travel on the same trains, buses and taxis, and visit each other’s homes. “Could any of this possibly have happened under apartheid,” he asked. “Of course not.”

There are numerous other examples that explode the apartheid myth. For instance, following the 5.3 tremor in the Middle East in May 2012, it was reported that Israel had already set up a mechanism to channel aid to the Palestinians in the event of an earthquake. And if Israel was an apartheid state, why would Israelis and Palestinians work together in the Jordan Valley to produce agricultural goods that are sold abroad? If Israel was prejudiced against Palestinians, why would it bother to establish a Israeli-Palestinian Chamber of Commerce?

Apartheid in South Africa was based on color separation of “white” and “non-white”. The white population in South Africa was a minority. But the State of Israel (excluding the West Bank, which I address below) is a multi-ethnic, multi-racial democratic state. It is teeming with Jews from Europe, Ethiopia, Russia, America and the Middle East. A fifth of the Israeli population are Arabs, the majority of whom are Muslims. There is a host of tiny minorities, such as the Druze and the Bedouin. (It is also worth mentioning that Israel is the only country in the Middle East where there is religious freedom.)

All citizens of Israel have access to state services. Arabs sit in the parliament and on the Supreme Court. There are several Arab representatives in the parliament. Arabic is an official language in Israel. Even Miss Israel of 1999 was an Arab. Under apartheid black South Africans could not vote and were not citizens of the country in which they are the overwhelming majority of the population.

Everybody in Israel is equal before the law. Racial discrimination/segregation is outlawed. Inevitably, there are cases of low level cases of discrimination as there are in the UK, Canada, France etc. In South Africa, inequality was enshrined in law.

Doctor Mohammed Wattad, an Arab citizen of Israel and a member of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, has this to say: “In an apartheid regime, there is no possibility of judicial review, because the judges are appointed by the regime and all serve one ideology. This is not the case in Israel … There is a very strong, independent Supreme Court in Israel. In an apartheid regime, there is no place to go to argue against the government.”

As things stand, the West Bank (historically known as Judea and Samaria) is not part of sovereign Israel. During the 1993 Oslo Peace process, it was mutually agreed to divide the West Bank into regions – A, B and C. 98% of Palestinian live in Palestinian-governed areas, A and B.

Arabs who live on the West Bank are allowed to work in Israel, and attend schools and universities. In contrast, Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, has said that not a single Jew will be allowed to live in a future Palestinian state on the West Bank.

The security barrier, erected to keep out terrorists, is 95 per cent fence and 5 per cent wall. The sections of concrete wall are only erected to prevent terrorist and sniper attacks on Israelis. The barrier corresponds roughly with 1949 Armistice line. Restrictions are only imposed because of the very real threat of terrorism. There is no racial motive in the application of checkpoints.

In East Jerusalem, Palestinian residents have permanent residency rights in the city. They carry Palestinian identity cards issued by the Palestinian Authority and elect members of the Palestinian Authority. They are entitled to social and health benefits, and are eligible for Israeli citizenship. Those that become Israeli citizens can vote in municipal elections.

In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians are under the full civil and security control of Hamas, which governs the area as an autonomous entity. Israel dismantled all the Gaza settlements in 2005 but maintained the blockade because of the election of Hamas and rocket attacks on southern Israel. Despite the blockade, Gazans are able to produce their own vegetables, olives, citrus, beef and dairy products. Primary exports from Gaza are cut flowers and fruit. Gaza’s real GDP grew by more than 25% during the first three quarters of 2011 and exports are expanding. Since withdrawing from the Gaza in 2005, Israel supplies Gaza with 50% of its electricity, and provides 49,610 tons of cooking gas and 136,097,330 liters of fuel a year. In addition, it provides one million tons of aid a year. This includes 160,000 tons of wheat , 14,000 tons of rice, 8,000 tons of clothes and footwear, and 2,000 tons of milk powder and baby food, and equipment for Gaza’s flower industry. There is not a single civilian good that cannot enter Gaza. Israel even supplies LCD televisions, Mercedes cars, Hyundai jeeps, Jacuzzi tubs and frost-free refrigerators. Gaza has a five-star hotel, fancy restaurants, a luxury shopping mall, vibrant markets, and a thriving beach community.

Israel is not an apartheid state. The level of freedom exercised by Arabs in Israel is head and shoulders above the treatment of Arabs in neighboring countries. Indeed, most surveys show that Israeli Arabs are happy to live in the Jewish and would not want to move to an independent Palestine.

Palestinian rejectionism

On the subject of an independent Palestine, it is worth pointing out that Palestinian Arabs have had numerous opportunities to establish an independent state. But the Palestinian Arabs have an unfortunate history of rejectionism. It is often said that the Palestinians “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” Under the UN partition plan of 1947, the Palestinians Arabs were given the opportunity to create a state on what is now the West Bank and parts of current-day Israel. Between 1948 and 1967 when Jordan ruled Judea and Samaria and Egypt ruled Gaza, there were no attempts to establish a Palestinian homeland.

Even in the past 13 years or so, the Palestinian leadership has been given at least three major opportunities to establish an independent state. Yasser Arafat walked away from the Camp David talks in 2000 despite being promised 92% of the West Bank, 100% of Gaza and east Jerusalem. Talks held in Taba in 2001 also broke down due to Arafat’s insistence that the Palestinians control the Western Wall. A resolution was also put forward by Ehud Olmert in 2008, in which the Palestinians would receive Gaza, the majority of the West Bank, parts of east Jerusalem, safe passage between the West Bank and Gaza, and the dismantling of settlements in the Jordan Valley and eastern Samaria. Unfortunately, Mahmoud Abbas did not give a final response on the matter and negotiations ended.

And in September 2012 when defense minister Ehud Barak floated the idea of a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank, Palestinian leaders begged the Israeli government not to leave the territory. Nabil Abu Rudineh, chief aide to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said the Palestinians “object” to any unilateral action that will lead to “the formation of a Palestinian state in temporary borders.”

Instead of agreeing to any of these proposals, the Palestinian leaders have carried out – or sponsored – terror attacks against Israeli civilians. They have repeatedly called for the destruction of the Jewish state and have manipulated Western guilt over the Holocaust by casting themselves as the “new Jews” who deserve sympathy and foreign aid. Instead of planning for the future by educating their children properly, Palestinian schoolteachers teach kids to hate Jews, while Gaza militants fire rockets into southern Israel.

If this is how the Palestinian Arabs behave now, what would they be like if they had all the trappings of a state, including an army and a secret service? Many Israelis fear that a Palestinian state would simply be a launching pad for the destruction of Israel and would serve as a base for terror groups. Israel would no longer have control of the Jordan valley, which serves as a natural defensive border against hostile Arab regimes. Moreover, a Palestinian state would leave Israel with a ‘narrow waist’ of only nine or ten miles, which means the Jewish state could easily be cut in two by Arab armies.

The legality of the settlements

Palestinianists are very fond of repeating the claim that the Jewish settlements are an obstacle to peace. This claim is both misleading and ignores the fact that international law says Jews are entitled to build settlements in Judea and Samaria (i.e. the West Bank).

In 1920, the San Remo Conference instructed Britain to establish a Jewish national home on territory covering what would become Israel, Jordan and part of the Golan Heights. In early 1921, Britain made a distinction between “Palestine” as a national home for the Jewish people, and Transjordan as a home for the Arabs. Already, the Jews had to accept a territorial compromise in order to appease Arab interests.

The 1922 Mandate of Palestine formalized the creation of a Jewish homeland, as well as Transjordan for the Arabs. The entire League of Nations unanimously declared that “recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” The Mandate not only legalized the immigration of Jews to Palestine, it encouraged close settlement of the land. Moreover, the notion of internationalizing or dividing Jerusalem was never part of the Mandate.

Two years after the Second World War, the British handed the Mandate to the UN, which recommended (rather than enforced) the partition of Palestine between Jews and Arabs. The Jews accepted the partition but the Arab states rejected it and declared war on the Jewish homeland, which resulted in the Jordanian annexation of the “West Bank.” At the insistence of the Arabs, the 1949 armistice line was “not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary.”
In 1967, Israel won control of the West Bank after a war of self-defense. To speak of Israeli occupation implies that Israel fought an aggressive war in order capture the West Bank, which was not the case.

UN Security Council Resolution 242 recommended Israeli withdrawal from territories in return for the right “to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.” At a conference in Khartoum the Arabs refused to negotiate or make peace with Israel. In fact, they refused to recognize Israel at all. (Resolution 242 did not mention the Palestinians, although it did refer to “a just settlement of the refugee problem” in acknowledgment that both sides had their share of refugees.)

It is also worth pointing out that the Fourth Geneva Convention is not applicable to Judea and Samaria because it pertains only to cases of occupation of a sovereign entity. The “West Bank” has never been the legal territory of any sovereign entity. Or to put it in plain English, territories are only “occupied” if they are captured in war from an established and recognized sovereign. Jordan was never an established or recognized sovereign of the West Bank. Therefore, Israel is not an occupier and the “West Bank” is not occupied land.

Technically, Judea and Samaria is unclaimed Mandate land and should therefore be referred to as “disputed” territory. Israel’s capture of the West Bank in 1967 merely restored the territory to its legal status under the Mandate of 1922, which has never been superseded in law, not even by the 1947 partition plan. The settlers are simply enacting the Mandate and they should be allowed to continue with this enterprise.

Moreover, the fact that the Palestinians and the Arab states collaborated with Hitler before and during Second World War, and then proceeded to invade Israel on three occasions between 1948 and 1973, seriously undermines any moral claim to establish a state on the “West Bank.” Professor Julius Stone, a leading authority on such matters, has stated that because of the attacks against Israel in 1948, 1967 and 1973, as well as other belligerent acts, Arab states have “flouted their basic obligations as United Nations members.”

There are also moral and cultural reasons why the Jewish settlements are legitimate. Judea and Samaria is historically and religiously Jewish. The territory formed a major part of ancient Israel and is home to several sacred sites, including Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. It is only recently that Arabs have expressed an interest in Jerusalem. At no time between 634 CE (when Muslims overran “Palestine”) and 1967 did any Muslim entity ever declare Jerusalem as their capital. During the Jordan occupation, not a single foreign Arab leader came to pray in the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.

Besides, non-Jewish powers cannot be trusted to protect either Jews or Jewish sites. During the 1920 Jerusalem riots, an Arab mob ransacked the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, attacking pedestrians and looting shops and homes. On 24th August 1929, 67 Palestinian Jews were massacred in Hebron. Dozens were wounded. Some of the victims were raped, tortured and mutilated. Jewish homes and synagogues, as well as a hospital, were ransacked. During the Jordanian occupation, the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives was desecrated and many synagogues in the Old City were destroyed.

Between 1948 and 1967, there was not a single settlement in Gaza or the “West Bank.” But this did not stop Arab states terrorizing Israel. Nor did the Arab states attempt to establish a Palestinian state. Furthermore, the dismantling of the settlements in Gaza actually destabilized the region because the withdrawal allowed Hamas to take control of the Strip, with devastating consequences.

The Palestinian claim that statehood is an unassailable right should not be taken at face value. Arab hatred of Israel has never been about the settlements or even about land. The primary obstacle is an ideological refusal to recognize the Jewish people’s deep-rooted historic, cultural and legal connections to the land of Israel. Until the Arabs accept that the Jewish people have an inalienable right to Judea and Samaria, there will never be peace.

Nakba – Arab or Jewish?

One of the big successes of the Palestinianist propaganda machine is Nakba Day, which occurs every May. Nakba, which is an Arabic word for “catastrophe” is a deliberately provocative term and refers to the 600,000 refugees who were created as a consequence of the Arab rejection of the Jewish state and the ensuing assault on the newly-born State of Israel. Nakba Day is often marked by speeches and rallies by Arabs in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, and in other places around the world, including London and New York.

The trouble with commemorating the Nakba is that it overlooks some inconvenient facts, which do not fit the overheated narrative of Palestinian-as-victim. During the Israeli War of Independence in 1947-48, Arab leaders deliberately spread false rumors that women were being raped in order to provoke Arab armies to fight on their behalf. The Arab armies encouraged the Palestinian to evacuate while they fought their war against the Israelis. The refugee crisis was not engineered by Israel, nor did Israel deliberately expel the Palestinians. According to the Institute for Palestine Studies, 68% of refugees “left without seeing an Israeli soldier.”

UN Resolution 194, which was passed on December 11, 1948, recommended that refugees wishing to return home and live in peace with their neighbors should be allowed to do so. This resolution was never applied. Not because of Israeli opposition but due to the unanimous rejection of the Arab governments. If the Arabs had accepted the resolution it would have meant the implicit recognition of Israel and the laying down of arms and compensation for Jewish refugees.

Israel’s neighbors refused to incorporate the displaced Palestinian Arabs, preferring to keep them in camps in the hope that the Zionist entity would soon be destroyed. In fact, Mahmoud Abbas has accused the Arab armies of forcing the Palestinians to emigrate and then putting them into ghettos. The United Nations aggravated the problem by creating a unique category for the Palestinian Arab refugees.

The UN recognized that many of the refugees who fled their villages had not lived in Israel/Palestine for very long. But nonetheless it decided to establish a unique criterion for the Arab refugees. This meant that any Arab who had lived in Israel for only two years before fleeing was classed as a refugee. Moreover, their descendants are also classed as refugees. As such, there was a sevenfold increase in the Palestinian population between 1967 and 2002. (Arafat said that the wombs of Palestinian women were the “secret weapon” of his cause.)

The UN has perpetuated the crisis by maintaining Palestinian refugee camps and handing out aid money. Strangely, since 1971 and for nearly ten years, the UN General Assembly annually condemned Israel for trying to rehabilitate the refugees. This condemnation always had one requirement: “Send the refuges to the camps.”

The true Nakba, which few people talk about, is the Jewish refugee problem. Not the refugee crisis caused by the war in Europe but the one which was caused by a wave of Arab-led pogroms and expulsions in the late 1940s and 1950s. Around 900,000 Jews were kicked out of Arab lands in the wake of Israel’s independence. Many of the expelled Jewish communities in North Africa and the Middle East dated back 2,500 years. That’s around two millennia before the rise of Islam. Today, there are fewer than 9,000 Jews in the Arab and Muslim world. In Libya, for example, the Jewish community no longer exists.

The newly-born State of Israel, which was already coping with Jewish migrants fleeing war-torn Europe, assimilated the new Jewish refugees. Today, about 50% of Jews in Israel have Arabic ancestry because of the exodus. (Not surprisingly, Jews who have experienced Arab violence and Muslim anti-Semitism are hostile to the idea of a Palestinian state. As such, they tend to vote for Likud, the major right-wing party in Israel.)

At least 120 UN resolutions deal with the 600,000 Palestinian refugees. But not one resolution refers to the Jewish Nakba.

The violence against Arab Jews was deliberate and vicious. Massacres, mutilations, rape, property confiscation and deportations were commonplace. Millions of Jews had no choice but to seek shelter in Israel or elsewhere. There is evidence that shows the Jewish Nakba was a deliberate and planned act of ethnic cleansing. According to the World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries, the Jewish exodus was a policy decision taken by the Arab League. This view has been endorsed by the Jewish advocacy group Justice for Jews from Arab Countries.

Even before the UN vote in 1947, the Arab League had endorsed the persecution of Jews. The fact that riots and massacres broke out across the Arab world on the same day (30th November 1947) also suggests a degree of planning.

Indeed, the Arab League met in Syria in 1946 and Lebanon in 1947, and agreed a draft plan to rob their Jews of their property, threaten them with imprisonment and expel the impoverished Jews.
In May 1948, the Arab League drafted a series of recommendations for all Arab and Muslim countries on how to take action against their Jewish populations. The New York Times of 16th May 1948 contained details of an Arab plan based on Nuremberg laws to ‘ethnically cleanse’ their Jews.

Conclusion: the way forward

To sum up, Palestinianists are anti-realists for the sole reason that the edifice of Palestinianism has been constructed out of a contradiction to “the actual.” Palestinianists are unable or unwilling to differentiate between a conviction and a lie. Palestinianism, to quote Nietzsche for a second time, is a “moral-optical illusion.” Palestinianism is a radical falsification of history and international law, and an inversion of Zionism, morality and truth. Palestinianism has had such an effect that even non-political institutions like the BBC repeat Palestinian propaganda, while otherwise sensible individuals such as British foreign secretary William Hague condemn the Jewish settlements.

Luckily, because Palestinianism contains so many conflicting elements – the secular Left, radical Islam, the Methodist Church to name but a few – it is inherently unstable and liable to fracture over time. Some of the factions within the movement cannot even agree on how to undermine Israel’s existence, hence the mutual loathing between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza. The way things are going, there will never be a viable Palestinian state – not because of Israeli obstinacy but because the advocates of Palestinianists squander their time and resources on denigrating the only democracy in the Middle East rather than facing up to their own shortcomings and failures – both past and present.

So what is the way forward?

The truth is, the creation of a Palestinian state next to Israel is not realistic or feasible. The only credible option is for Israel to officially annex Judea and Samaria and for the international community to recognize Jordan as the de facto Palestinian state.

The main obstacle to solving the Israeli-Arab conflict is the fraudulent claim that the Palestinians are a nation without a land. But the Palestinian Arabs were actually given their own state, i.e. Jordan, nearly a century ago. Jordan’s population is already 70 per cent Palestinian. The Palestinian Arabs living in Judea and Samaria are not ethnically or culturally different from the Palestinian Arabs living in Jordan.

According to Jordanian writer Mudar Zahran, “despite decades of official imposition of a Bedouin image on the country, and even Bedouin accents on state television, the Palestinian identity is still the most dominant—to the point where the Jordanian capital, Amman, is the largest and most populated, Palestinian city anywhere. Palestinians view it as a symbol of their economic success and ability to excel.”

As things stand, the Palestinian majority in Jordan is discriminated against by the ruling Hashemite dynasty, which favors the Bedouin minority. The US and Europe have been silent about this because it does not want the Western-friendly Hashemites removed from power. But removing the ruling Hashemite dynasty in Jordan and developing democratic institutions for the Palestinian majority is surely a better option than the status quo.

Once this has been achieved, Israel can formally annex Judea and Samaria and give the Palestinian Arabs living there the option of either swearing an oath of allegiance to the Jewish state or giving them Jordanian citizenship. Those Palestinians who wish to leave Judea and Samaria would be free to move to Jordan. Those who wish to hold Jordanian citizenship but want to stay in their homes should be allowed to do so. In short, there should be no expulsions. However, Arabs who claim refugee status from 1947-48 and 1967 should be naturalized in their host countries or rehoused in Jordan.

Developing democratic institutions in Jordan and uniting the land of Israel under Jerusalem would not only ensure Israel’s security, it would enable the Palestinian Arabs to establish sovereignty in the heart of the Middle East and put an end to this decades-old conflict over the status of the so-called occupied territories.

This is not so far-fetched. In 1965, the king of Jordan said, “Palestine has become Jordan, and Jordan Palestine.” And in 1971, the Palestine Liberation Organization asserted: “What links Jordan to Palestine is a national bond and a national unity formed, since time immemorial, by history and culture. The establishment of one political entity in Transjordan and another in Palestine is illegal.”

What about Gaza?

The disengagement from Gaza in 2005 has not brought peace. After Israel withdrew its troops and uprooted Jewish residents in 2005, the Arab population immediately destroyed Israeli infrastructure, thereby ruining their own economy. Within a year, terrorist group Hamas had taken over the territory, murdered its rivals and started a campaign of rocket attacks on Israel.

The best Gaza can hope for is a takeover by an international body, such as the UN or an EU-led group, with the view that one day it will be a self-reliant mini-state. Given that the UK, the EU, the US, Japan and Canada all classify Hamas as a terrorist organization, it is incumbent on these nations to neutralize Hamas by isolating it diplomatically, cutting off its funding and ultimately removing its personnel and confiscating its weapons through military means.

Gaza, if managed properly, has a lot going for it. It has a very young population who desperately need employment and a sense of purpose. In time, Gaza may become an attractive Mediterranean tourist resort. After all, it has a fine beach, a five-star hotel, good restaurants, shopping malls, several universities, a zoo, a number of important religious landmarks, a cultural center and an archaeology museum, all of which would attract holidaymakers and foreign investors.

When Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2005, there were hopes that Gaza would be transformed into the Hong Kong or the Singapore of the Middle East. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen. Instead of state building, Hamas roused the population into believing that the 2005 withdrawal was the first step towards the ultimate defeat of the “Zionist entity.” But with proper handling by the international community and the ousting of Hamas, dreams of a Middle East Singapore may come true.

Identicide: Christian Palestinianism and the strange death of Jesus the Jew

“We have been taught for centuries that the Jews are the Chosen People. We do not believe anymore that they are the Chosen People of God, since now we have a new understanding of that Choseness.” (Father Elias Chacour, Catholic Archbishop of Israel, 1999).

What is Christian Palestinianism?

Christian Palestinianism is a phrase coined by Paul Wilkinson, an evangelical author based in Manchester, England. Wilkinson defines Christian Palestinianism as “an inverted mirror image of Christian Zionism,” and describes it as “diametrically opposed to that of biblical Christian Zionism, and whose opposition to Israel and her Christian allies is expressed in their outspoken support of the Palestinian agenda.”

The term Palestinianism, however, seems to have originated in the writings of Jewish Egyptian author Bat Ye’or. In Eurabia: the Euro-Arab Axis, she outlines the growing phenomenon of Palestinian replacement theology and the gradual Islamization of Christianity. Christian Palestinianists, according to Ye’or interpret the Bible from the viewpoint of the Quran and “do not admit to any historical or theological link between the biblical Israel, the Jewish people and the modern State of Israel.”

Christian Palestinianists and their supporters in the West recognize the political benefit of undermining the State of Israel’s biblical foundations. This is achieved by stripping the Bible of its Jewishness, neutralizing the prophetic significance of the Land of Israel and recasting Jesus as a Palestinian. This is despite the fact that Jesus was a Galilean Jew and the word “Palestine” didn’t exist during his lifetime.

Wilkinson places the birth of Christian Palestinianism at the end of the 1980s. However, the groundwork had already been laid in 1967 by an Arab-Christian memorandum entitled “What is Required of the Christian Faith Concerning the Palestine Problem.” The document, which had the blessing of Catholic and Orthodox clergy, declared that it is “a total misunderstanding of the story of salvation and a perversion of God’s plan for a Christian to want to re-establish a Jewish nation as a political entity.”

In one of its most audacious passages, the memorandum reads: “The Christian conscience should always discern what is the authentic vocation of the Jewish people and what is the other side of the coin, that is, the racist State of Israel.” In fact, the memorandum calls for a permanent exile of the Jews on the grounds that “the Jewish race was chosen to serve the salvation of Humanity and not to establish itself in any particular religious or racial way.”

The theological underpinning of Christian Palestinianism is a rebranded version of replacement theology. Fulfillment theology is based on the premise that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus was a spiritual fulfillment of God’s promise to return the Jews to Israel. Therefore the Jews – and by extension the Land of Israel – have no prophetic meaning and have fulfilled their roles in salvation history. The theologian N.T. Wright, for example, argues that Israel’s restoration was achieved through the resurrection and that Jewish ethnic identity is no longer important on a religious level. The Land of Israel, Jerusalem and Temple are all obsolete, according to Wright, because Jesus embodies all three.

Although keen to neutralize the prophetic significance of the Bible for Jews, Christian Palestinianists have no problem with appropriating the tradition for themselves. In 2005, the Anglican bishop of Jerusalem, Riah Abu el-Assal, claimed of Palestinian Christians: “We are the true Israel […] no-one can deny me the right to inherit the promises, and after all the promises were first given to Abraham and Abraham is never spoken of in the Bible as a Jew.”

In 1997, the Palestinian Authority aired a program that claimed the stories in the Torah took place in Yemen, not in Israel. The PA also says there is no evidence that the Western Wall has anything to do with Second Temple.

Christian Palestinianists question or even condemn passages in the Bible that elevate Israel above other nations. In fact, the prime mover of the Christian Palestinianist movement, Naim Ateek, who is the Anglican canon of St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem , has stated that some Bible passages are explicitly “exclusivist.” There is a “great need to ‘de-Zionize’ these texts,” he believes.

In 1989, Ateek published the founding document of Christian Palestinianism, Justice and Only Justice: A Palestinian Theology of Liberation, which drew much of its strength from South American liberation theology. Five years later, Ateek founded an organization called Sabeel – the Palestinian Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center. Sabeel means “the way,” which is a clear reference to both Jesus as “the way,” and the early name of the Christians, who were called “followers of the way.”

The version of liberation theology espoused by Ateek is that of Jesus as “a Palestinian living under an occupation.” In his 2001 Easter message, Ateek spoke of Jesus as “the powerless Palestinian humiliated at a checkpoint.” Apart from the fact that Jesus wasn’t a Palestinian, this is harmless enough. But Ateek then steps up the rhetoric, with disturbing anti-Semitic undertones:

“In this season of Lent, it seems to many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him. It only takes people of insight to see the hundreds of thousands of crosses throughout the land, Palestinian men, women, and children being crucified. Palestine has become one huge Golgotha. The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily. Palestine has become the place of the skull.”

This is shocking and inflammatory on a number of levels. The Palestinians are indeed restricted in their movements because of the terror threat, but being held up at a checkpoint is hardly a crucifixion. The reference to “hundreds of thousands of crosses throughout the land” is obviously figurative but the image is overblown and patently absurd. If any place on earth should be dubbed Golgotha, surely it should be Auschwitz or Treblinka, not the West Bank. The reference to the “Israeli government crucifixion system” is outrageous and quite possibly anti-Semitic, given the old canard about Jews being responsible for the death of Jesus.

The Kairos Palestine Document

Perhaps the Christian Palestinianist movement found its ultimate expression in the Kairos Palestine Document. Published in 2009 and subtitled “A moment of truth: A word of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering,” the paper was a rehash of the 1967 Arab-Christian memorandum.

Notably, the Kairos document (which can be found on the World Council of Churches website) speaks on behalf of Christian and Muslim Palestinians, who apparently share a “deeply rooted” history and a “natural right” to the land. In contrast, Israel is an alien entity, and only exists because of Western guilt over the Holocaust. Not surprisingly, the document makes no mention of Muslim involvement in the Holocaust, nor does it comment on the decades of Jewish immigration in the decades before Hitler’s genocide.

The Holocaust aside, the State of Israel is associated with the words “evil” and “sin.” According to the text, the “occupation” is an affront to both humanity and the divine, and “distorts the image of God in the Israeli who has become an occupier.”

The document criticizes Christian Zionism as being “far from Christian teachings” and praises the first intifada, referring to it as a “peaceful struggle.” Terrorism, while not sanctioned, is excused on the grounds that Israel is ultimately responsible for Palestinian acts of violence against Jewish civilians.

And if any proof is needed that conformity is in fashion, the document calls for economic sanctions against Israel: “Palestinian civil organizations, as well as international organizations, NGOs and certain religious institutions call on individuals, companies and states to engage in divestment and in an economic and commercial boycott of everything produced by the occupation.”

This, according to the writers of the text, is an example of non-violent protest, despite the fact that there is nothing praiseworthy about ruining Jewish businesses and putting Palestinians out of work.

Christian Palestinianism in the West

Since the turn of the century, Christian Palestinianism has been warmly embraced by various Christian groups in the West, notably Anglicans, Presbyterians, evangelicals and left-wing protestants, such as the Quakers. Apart from attacking Israel, westernized Christian Palestinianists have gone to great lengths to ridicule and invalidate Christian Zionism.

In 2004, the General Synod of the Reformed Church in America declared Christian Zionism to be an “extreme form of dispensationalism,” a “distortion of the biblical message,” and an impediment to a “just peace in Israel/Palestine.” In 2007, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland accused Christian Zionism of portraying “an unjust God, with an unjust people.”

Many of the books attacking Christian Zionists accuse the latter of advocating “Armageddon” rather than justice. As well as removing the prophetic significance of the scriptures, books such as Anglican vicar Reverend Dr Stephen Sizer’s Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon? misrepresent and deride centuries of mainstream protestant tradition.

Sizer, a virulent opponent of Israel, believes there is a sharp distinction between God’s covenant with Israel and the beliefs of Jesus’s disciples. “There is,” he says, “no evidence that the apostles believed that the Jewish people still had a divine right to the land, or that Jewish possession of the land would be important, let alone that Jerusalem would remain a central aspect of God’s purposes for the world.” Sizer adds: Jerusalem and the Land of Israel “have been made irrelevant to God’s redemptive purposes.”

Sizer is a regular contributor to Islamic media outlets, including Iran’s Press TV. He has been photographed with Arafat, and with Zahra Mostafavi Khomeini, the daughter of the Ayatollah. He has met with – and publicly defended – Raed Salah, a Hamas fundraiser who accuses the Jews of making Passover bread with the blood of Christian children. (There are numerous photos of Sizer and Salah enjoying each other’s company.)

Sizer seems unembarrassed by the fact that his own remarks and writings stray into anti-Semitic territory. For instance, he once stated that the reason Jews “were expelled from the land was that they were more interested in money and power and treated the poor and aliens with contempt.” In 2011, he posted a link on his Facebook page to an anti-Semitic website called “The Ugly Truth,” and in the same year, he went to Malaysia to work with Viva Palestina, whose leading activists include Holocaust-denier Matthias Chang.

Another Anglican notable, Desmond Tutu, has likened Zionism to racism and repeatedly referred to Israel as an “apartheid” state. He is also a supporter of boycotts. Tutu, a friend of Yasser Arafat and Hamas’s Ismail Haniyeh, accepted the role as patron of Sabeel International in 2003. This is the same Sabeel that is spearheading the Christian Palestinianist movement in the Middle East. It is perhaps no surprise that US attorney Alan Dershowitz has called Tutu a “racist and a bigot.”

The number of Christian organizations censuring the Jewish state is increasing. It is common for left-wing Christians to exonerate the Palestinians of any historical and contemporary accountability, thereby holding Israel solely responsible for ending the crisis. In 2009, the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches released a statement condemning the so-called Israeli occupation and encouraging a boycott of goods made in settlements. Significantly, the World Council of Churches is also calling for the internationalization of Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Christian Aid and the Quakers are calling on the UK government to implement a total ban of settlement goods. In North America, the United Church of Canada is heading towards an official boycott policy. And the Church of England, which has a large overseas membership, is considering whether it should adopt the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniers Programme in Palestine and Israel. The EAPPI is blatantly pro-Palestinian and holds the Jewish state solely responsible for resolving the situation in the West Bank.

Islamic appropriation of the Jesus and crucifixion

When Arafat made his first Christmas appearance in Bethlehem in 1995, he invoked the Christian nativity by crying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill towards men.” To which the crowd responded, “In spirit and blood we will redeem thee, O Palestine!”

Bethlehem obviously held a special place in Arafat’s heart. Not because he had any special love for Jesus and Christianity but because it was a political rallying point. Bethlehem, according to Arafat, was the “birthplace of the first Palestinian Christian, Jesus Christ.”

Arafat’s reference to the nativity is obviously a ploy to unite Muslims and Christian Arabs against Israel. In and of itself, this is unspectacular, but when placed in the wider context of Islamic replacement theology, the (mis)use of Jesus is sinister. (Arafat not only proclaimed that Jesus was a Palestinian but is “our Lord the Messiah,” which is an astonishing statement for a Muslim to make. Referring to Jesus as Lord is to detract from the strict monotheism of the faith, a grave sin known as shirk.)

The appropriation of the crucifixion by Muslim Palestinians in their war on Israel is puzzling. The image of the crucified Palestinian/Jesus is a common propaganda motif. And yet the Quran says that Jesus wasn’t put on the cross but was raised up to heaven. So, not only are Muslims committing an act of apostasy by referring to Jesus as “our Lord” they are even refuting their own sacred scripture by claiming Jesus was a crucified Palestinian. (This is not the only example of Muslims cherry-picking the Quran to suit their agenda. The Quran explicitly states the Land of Israel is a Jewish and not a Muslim inheritance.)

Other times, Jesus is referred to as a Shahid, a holy martyr of Islam. Arafat often referred to Jesus as the first Palestinian martyr, which is historically incorrect and is at odds with Islamic tradition. There are no references to Jesus as a Shahid in Islamic works, and it is impossible for Jesus to be a martyr if he did not die on the cross, which is the view of the Quran.

The final step in the Palestinianization of Bethlehem is the news that UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – has approved a Palestinian bid to categorize the Church of the Nativity as a World Heritage Site.

It is fairly obvious that the Palestinian bid is politically motivated. UNESCO’s approval effectively endorses a specifically Palestinian culture and heritage that is distinct from the history of Israel.

Obviously, the invention of the Palestinian Jesus and the misuse of the crucifixion as a political weapon is just one more lethal narrative aimed at demonizing Israel and is not an authentic reconciliation with Christianity. In fact, the Christian population in the West Bank has ebbed away under PA rule. And yet Christians in the West seem happy to play along with the pretense that nothing is amiss because they both share the same enemy – Israel.

The globalization of Chrislam

One of the most alarming developments in the Christian world is the alliance between a number of evangelicals and the Muslim world. Examples of cooperation abound.

Christians and Muslims for Peace (CAMP) is an organization that devotes itself to discovering common ground between the two religions through an exploration of the Quran and the Bible. Based in California, CAMP is led by Dr William Baker, the former chairman of the neo-Nazi Populist Party. In 2002, Baker was fired from Crystal Cathedral Ministries when his anti-Semitic inclinations and ties to the Far Right were exposed by the media. (This is the same Robert Schuller who once told an Imam of the Muslim American Society that “if he came back in 100 years and found his descendants Muslims, it wouldn’t bother him.”)

“A Common Word Between Us and You” is an open letter from the leaders of the Muslim community to Christians, published in 2007. It opens with the lines: “Muslims and Christians together make up well over half of the world’s population. Without peace and justice between these two religious communities, there can be no meaningful peace in the world.” A large number of Christians responded positively to the statement. The most highly publicized response was written by a group of four academics from the University of Yale, entitled Loving God and Neighbor Together. The response included the lines: “Before we ‘shake your hand’ in responding to your letter, we ask forgiveness of the All-Merciful One and of the Muslim community around the world.”

In 2009, Rick Warren, the well-known evangelical author and pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, addressed 8,000 Muslims at a national convention in Washington D.C. The convention was organized by Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which champions terrorist organizations and disseminates extremist literature. Since then, Warren has been involved in an initiative called the King’s Way, a partnership with a number of California mosques, which involves the establishment of a set of principles outlining the shared principles of Islam and Christianity, including the declaration that both faiths worship the same God.

A number of evangelicals, including Stephen Sizer, Presbyterian writer Gary Burge (who has criticized Judaism’s “territorial world view”) and Professor Donald Wagner, have participated in events sponsored by the Bridges of Faith (an evangelical Christian-Muslim dialogue group) and the Muslim World Islamic Call Society, which until recently was funded by the Gaddafi regime in Libya. On the Bridges of Faith website, the dialogue group states that it “looks forward to a day when we can make our deliberations public through the publication of papers, open meetings and media outreach in order to spread the message of tolerance and commonality of values to a wider community of grass-roots groups, as well as a wider community of inter-religious dialogue.” It remains to be seen whether “the message of tolerance” will extend to the State of Israel.

In February 2008, Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, told Radio 4’s World at One that some aspects of Sharia law should be introduced in the UK to accommodate Britain’s Muslim community. The archbishop’s comments were welcomed by Mohammed Shafiq, the director of the Ramadhan Foundation, who said: “Sharia law for civil matters is something which has been introduced in some western countries with much success.”

This, and other bridge-building exercises, may turn out to be the start of a political variation of Chrislam. Strictly speaking, Chrislam is a syncretistic religion of Nigerian origin that combines Islam and Christianity. Established in the 1970s, the followers of Chrislam recognize both the Bible and the Qur’an as holy texts. The religion is very local and only commands around 1,500 members.

Nonetheless, the principles behind Chrislam are the same principles that are shaping an alliance between western Christianity and Islam. Indeed, there are already various so-called insider movements in the Christian missionary industry. (Insider movements are when Christians from a Muslim background still attend mosque and perform Islamic rituals.)

Open Doors USA President Carl Moeller has referred to the insider movement as a “fourth branch” of Christianity: “Muslims are turning to faith in Jesus Christ, and out of that movement is emerging an entirely new way of expressing Christianity within the context of the Middle Eastern culture.” However, this “entirely new way” has been criticized by right-wing evangelicals for not teaching sound Christian doctrine.

The fact that many Christians are reaching out to Islam suggests they are pre-empting the very real possibility that Islam will be the dominant religion in Europe in fifty years’ time. If this is the case, then it is a tacit admission of defeat and an example of self-imposed dhimmitude. Dhimmitude, says Ye’or, is the “surrender of the Christian clergy and political leaders to the Muslim jihad armies, and their submission to Islamic domination of both their lands and peoples.” In exchange, Christians receive a pledge of protection or dhimma.

According to Ye’or, the first step towards dhimmitude and the Islamization of the Church is “the removal of the Gospels from their Judaic matrix.” For this to happen, Jesus the Jew must be killed and replaced by Jesus the Palestinian.

The ethnic cleansing of Jesus and the Jews

In recent decades, the quest to rescue Jesus’ Jewish identity has yielded much fruit. Geza Vermes, Robert Eisenman, E.P Sanders, James Tabor, R. T. Herford, George Foot Moor and Hyam Maccoby are among those who have highlighted Jesus’ Jewish identity and origins. Combined with the shared interest in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jews and Christians have found common ground in the exploration of the Jewish roots of Christianity.

Jesus was born of a Jewish woman in the Judean town of Bethlehem, and was given the Jewish name of “Yeshua,” literally “Joshua.” He was circumcised, attended synagogue services and the Temple, wore tassels, was referred to as “Rabbi,” and observed the Sabbath, Passover and Sukkots. He quoted from the Hebrew bible and clearly saw himself as fulfilling the scriptures in some way. He held the Torah in high esteem and reiterated the importance of the Shema. He also made it clear that he had “come for the lost sheep of Israel” and that “Salvation is of the Jews.”
However, Christian Palestinianism has a done a great deal to undermine this. The Palestinian Jesus falsehood is a shocking return to the “Jesus was an Aryan” falsehood of the Far Right or the Church-sanctioned portrayal of Jesus as a fair-skinned, blue-eyed gentile. The identicide of the Jewish Jesus is also redolent of an ancient heresy known as Gnosticism, sometimes described as a metaphysical anti-Semitism.

Ye’or, in her book Eurabia: the Euro-Arab Axis, writes of the theological similarities between Palestinianism and Marcion gnosticism, which rejects the Hebrew Bible and believes the God of Israel to be a lower entity than the God of the New Testament. Likewise, Christian Palestinianism either ignores the Hebrew scriptures or wants to de-Zionize the prophecies that do not suit the Palestinian agenda. As with Marcionism, God is no longer the God of Israel with a special interest in the fate of the Jewish people, but the God of Palestine.

The ethnic cleansing of Jesus is part of a wider effort to de-Judaize the Jewish people in order to undermine their claim to the land of Israel. So as well as being de-chosen by God, the people of Israel are not even Jewish, according to some Christian Palestinianists. In the mid-1990s, the Palestinian Authority aired a program that claimed Palestinians are the real descendants of the biblical Israelites. One of the so-called experts who was invited to appear on the show was Jarid el-Qadaweh, who declared: “In my blood there is more of the Children of Israel than in that of Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu.” Mitri Raheb, the pastor of Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, has used the figure of Jesus to question the ethnic validity of the State of Israel:

“I’m sure if we were to do a DNA test between David, who was a Bethlehemite, and Jesus, born in Bethlehem, and Mitri, born just across the street from where Jesus was born, I’m sure the DNA will show that there is a trace. While, if you put King David, Jesus and Netanyahu, you will get nothing, because Netanyahu comes from an East European tribe who converted to Judaism in the Middle Ages.”

Like el-Qadaweh, Raheb claims the average Palestinian is native to the land and is genetically similar to Jesus. In contrast, the average Israeli is an interloper from eastern Europe and is genetically dissimilar from Jesus. This raises the controversial question: is there such a thing as a Jewish gene? Extensive DNA testing does show there is such a thing. Genetic studies on the Y chromosome show that modern Jewish populations have a predominantly Middle Eastern ancestry, thereby discrediting the theory that Ashkenazi Jews are descendants of the Khazars (a semi-nomadic Turkic people from the Middle Ages). But the question of “who is a Jew?” is wide open to interpretation and has been debated for thousands of years, sometimes with devastating consequences.

Conclusion

Christian Palestinianism is a religion of resentment. It is a projection of a sense of inferiority onto an external scapegoat. Thwarted by failure, Christian Palestinianists blame their problems on “the Jews.” This is done by killing Jesus the Jew and resurrecting him as Jesus the Palestinian. The God of Israel is also declared dead, only to be replaced by the anti-Semitic God of Palestine.

Of all the anti-Israel discourses that exist today, Christian Palestinianism is perhaps one of the most shocking. Shocking because it wants to de-Judaize both Jesus and the Bible, as well as undermine Jewish identity. Shocking because it also revives the notion of Jews as killers of Christ. Moreover, the post-Holocaust reconciliation of Jews and Christians is lethally undermined. The work of Geza Vermes, and others like him, who have examined in close detail the Jewishness of Jesus, is being cast aside in favour of a quasi-gnostic Jesus.

On a theological level, Christian Palestinianism is entirely self-defeating. If God no longer honors his covenant with the Jews and the Land of Israel, then the whole foundation of Christianity collapses. A God who changes his mind about the Jews is no longer the God of Abraham, Moses or Jesus. Palestinianism is not only un-Biblical, it is un-Christian.

Pro-Palestinian Christians in the West need to take a long, hard look at themselves and ask whether it is ethical to be consorting with liars, terrorists and anti-Semites. They should also ask themselves if their actions are likely to lead to a fresh outburst of religiously-motivated anti-Semitism. The trouble is, history shows that many Christians need no excuse to persecute the Jews. There seems to be an in-built tendency to raise their fists against the descendants of Isaac and Jacob. This is bad news not only for the State of Israel and the Jewish diaspora, but also for Christianity itself, which will not survive another destructive wave of anti-Semitism.

As it says in Ezekiel 35, “Because you harbored an ancient hostility and delivered the Israelites over to the sword at the time of their calamity, the time their punishment reached its climax, therefore as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I will give you over to bloodshed and it will pursue you. Since you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you.”

Let’s hope Christian Palestinianists take note of Ezekiel’s prophecy. But given their track record, they would probably decry its exclusivism and attempt to de-Zionize it.