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The People of Antijudea


George Will makes two vital points in one paragraph. The first I consider lost amid the chatter of popular rhetoric:

The creation of Israel did not involve the destruction of a Palestinian state, there having been no such state since the Romans arrived.

The Palestinian identity is a recent invention. Yes, there has been that patch of earth sometimes called Palestine (when it wasn’t called Judea or Israel). But the people who lived there were simply arabs, or Egyptians and Jordanians if they needed a political label.

The first widespread use of "Palestinian" as an endonym to refer to the nationalist concept of a Palestinian people by the local Arabic-speaking population of Palestine began prior to the outbreak of World War I, and the first demand for national independence was issued by the Syrian-Palestinian Congress on 21 September 1921. After the creation of Israel, the exodus of 1948, and more so after the exodus of 1967, the term came to signify not only a place of origin, but the sense of a shared past and future in the form of a Palestinian nation-state.

Claims on that patch of earth are best weighed with this history in mind. Not to say that this invented need for a Palestinian homeland is without foundation or merit. Nor do I mean to apply Common Law ideas about land title upon people and cultures who were a British colony for only a comparative moment in their millenia of subjugation.

But to invent a people and whip them into a frenzy about their lack of a homeland seems duplicitous. Would it be any different if I started a movement for a Nation of Left-Handed People and demanded that Minnesota and the United States ceded some land to this new faction?

As testimony to the importance of a homeland for those the world is aligned against (we Left-Handers have more accidents and shorter life spans thanks to the pervasive but subtle persecution by right-handers), here’s Will’s second point:

And if the Jewish percentage of the world's population were today what it was when the Romans ruled Palestine, there would be 200 million Jews. After a uniquely hazardous passage through two millennia without a homeland, there are 13 million Jews.

All the evil Jews allegedly perpetrate is accomplished by a mere 13 million people. For the hatred aimed their way I would have thought there had to be more of them. A couple of hundred million, maybe, to live up to the threat they supposedly represent.

It’s like the anti-Semitic coalition of arabs, Muslims, and world socialists/Marxists don’t want to acknowledge history. Without a common enemy, they cannot properly define themselves. Just like Palestinians.

H/T: Newmark’s Door