Palestinian: 1. A descendant of the Arabs who inhabited Palestine.
2. An ethnic group of Arabs formerly living in Palestine.
Have you noticed how forgetful we’re getting lately? Or, to rephrase, how much harder it is for people to remember?
While we can’t do anything about some people’s memories—remembering what you never knew is a stretch after all—this seems like a good time for jogging the memories of everyone else.
I bring this up because I’m disturbed about the alternate reality that often kicks into place when we talk about Israel. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration if we compare it with that old “don’t confuse me with the facts” mentality. I mean, when your mind’s made up and you refuse to believe anything else, what difference does it really make whether you’re right or wrong?
As an example, let’s start off with the terminology. Who can remember anything published about Palestine or Palestinians before the 20th century? Most of us weren’t there then, I know, but stay with me here. Is it possible that the basic definitions of those two controversial words have changed radically over these hundred years? (Readers disagreeing are welcome to forward any per-WW II titles, links or articles in which Palestine or Palestinian meant then what they mean today.)
I have a strong suspicion there are few, if any, of those sources.
Based on what I’ve read, it seems anything published before Israel was reborn in 1948 used these terms for Middle East swamp/wasteland or for the Jewish pioneers struggling to bring it back to life. I’m suggesting those terms didn’t, back then, mean the Arabic people since prevented from returning to their own Arabic countries. I believe that in earlier writings, Palestinians were the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — not necessarily the Arabic cousins now eager to add Israel to their hefty property portfolio.
And in case that’s true, isn’t it something worth mentioning?
Beyond the terminologies, we also have ancient Biblical records detailing the history of Israel’s people in the Holy Land. And although the Bible is discounted by many, isn’t it still a source? Even the most sophisticated thinker who disagrees with its spiritual conclusions must recognize its value as one of the earliest ancient references still in existence. With archeologists digging up fresh evidence proving and re-proving Biblical locations and events happened just as recorded, it surprises me when enquiring minds ignore it pointblank.
Or—and I’m serious here—is this one of those times when the facts don’t matter?
This week we’ve seen modern-day “Palestinians” adamantly refuse a temporary peace deal http://thejewishnewsplace.com/world-news/world/24510-palestinians-reject-interim-peace-deal.html and we’ve heard voices denounce the “occupation” Israel allegedly imposed on Palestinians and “is clearly determined to perpetuate” http://thejewishnewsplace.com/world-news/world/24591-mj-rosenberg-the-atlantics-jeff-goldberg-despairs-about-israel.html … and we’ve witnessed Israel being blamed yet again for the Palestinian withdrawal from peace talks. http://thejewishnewsplace.com/blogs/latest-posts/entry/do-the-settlers-have-fangs.html If history doesn’t enter into our thinking, there’s not a lot for us to say about it.
But what would happen if people started remembering?
* First published here: http://thejewishnewsplace.com/blogs/latest-posts/entry/facts-fiction-a-forgetfulness.html