There was a time during one of the so-called intifadas (forgive me for not remembering if it was the first, second, or in-between; all that savagery and murder runs together seamlessly in my head these days) that the Palestinians claimed that the Jews had no connection at all to Jerusalem, or the land of Israel. A statement like that, similar to denying the Holocaust, is so insane it leaves one sputtering in wordless confusion. It’s like being asked to prove you aren’t dead.
Were we not living in a world unspeakably degraded by dumbed-down college programs, propaganda pamphlets parading as newspapers, and the general degradation of moral and intellectual levels in every strata of society all over the world, such lies could be ignored. Given the reality, we ignore it at our peril.
Palestinian big lies seem to be gaining more, not less, steam. According to David Meir Levi in his book History Upside Down, Arafat, a puppet of the KGB, was taught these skills by the Communists: “Using Soviet methods, Arafat reframed attacks on the Jews that had been ongoing since the 1920s motivated by religious obligations of jihad, as secular nationalism motivated by a quest for political self- determination.”
Since then, the Arabs have never attacked the Jews – they have always ‘resisted them.’ General Giap [Ho Chi Minh’s chief strategist] told Arafat that: “the PLO needed to work in a way that concealed its real goals, permitted strategic deception, and gave the appearance of moderation: ‘Stop talking about annihilating Israel and instead turn your terror war into a struggle for human rights. Then you will have the American people eating out of your hand.’”
Similarly, Ion Mihai Pacepa, former chief of Romanian intelligence who defected to the West, wrote: “In March 1978, I secretly brought Arafat to Bucharest for final instructions on how to behave in Washington. ‘You simply have to keep on pretending that you’ll break with terrorism and that you’ll recognize Israel – over, and over, and over,’ Ceausescu told him for the umpteenth time…”
Another propaganda tool Palestinian leadership learned from the Soviets was “turnspeak,” i.e., disseminating information that is the exact opposite of truth. It was a tool used to great effect by Adolf Hitler to justify his invasion of Czechoslovakia: Whose fault was it that Hitler had to invade? Why, the Czechs of course, who were trying to provoke a regional war by attempting to claim their land as their own.
You will hear the same claims now being made against Israel by its American “friends” for daring to build in its capital, Jerusalem. “Israelis don’t want peace,” the State Department under Muslim-sympathizer Barack Hussein Obama is now claiming, shaking its finger.
Winston, the hero of George Orwell’s prescient novel 1984, is employed changing history by changing old newspaper records to match the new truth as decided by the Party, whose slogan is “He who controls the past, controls the future.” It’s a method Palestinian leadership has perfected.
The Israeli government, and many of its politicians, have never understood this, and in their ignorance have allowed these big lies to gain momentum without any credible challenge. Thankfully, private individuals whose passion for truth and love for Israel burns brightly have tried to take up the slack. One of them is Gloria Z. Greenfield, a documentarian and filmmaker who has dedicated her life to combatting these lies with her passionate, skillful films. Greenfield’s latest documentary “Body and Soul” premiered at the Begin Center on October 20.
Like her previous films, “The Case for Israel, Democracy’s Outpost” and “Unmasked Judeophobia,” this third offering presents the Jewish case to the world through the arguments of eminent men and women scholars, and through photographs and illustrations, trying to explain what even a generation ago would have needed no explanation, i.e., that the Jewish people and the Land of Israel are inextricably intertwined and have been for more than three thousand years.
While the film may not convince those brainwashed to ignore historical fact, it will certainly help most normal people to understand the connection between the Jewish people, the Torah, and the Land of Israel, all three being fundamental pillars of our faith and our identity as Jews. Some might deride that as preaching to the converted, but what I always tell people who use that expression is that even the most pro-Israel person needs to be shored up and strengthened against the gale winds of hatred and disinformation blowing our way these days.
The panel discussion after the film was in itself a truly memorable event. Exquisitely moderated by the inimitable Melanie Phillips, British author, journalist and incomparable defender of the Jewish State and her people, whose sharp wit and brilliant grasp of the facts have punctured the hot air balloons of many a jihadi sympathizer, the panel consisted of Professor Eugene Kontorovich, expert in International Law, Yoram Hazony, Shalem Center Founder and president of the Herzl Foundation, and Professor Robert Wistrich, holder of the Neuberger Chair of Modern European and Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem since 1989, described by the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism as “the leading scholar in the field of antisemitism study.”
According to Dr. Kontorovich, after World War I the old Ottoman Empire, which comprised the Middle East, was divided up into mandates that were to be helped to independence. The Jews were to be given the Mandate of Palestine. Well so far so good, you’ll say, you know this. Yes, but what you don’t know is that the international law hasn’t changed. If the mandate that created Israel is no longer legal (and that mandate included all of the West Bank and Jordan and all of Gaza) then the mandates that created Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen are also invalid.
Unlike our long-held assumption that it was the U.N. vote on the partition that created Israel, it was the League of Nations mandate. The U.N. partition plan merely gave 77% of the Mandate land meant for the Jewish State to Palestinians, creating Jordan. So why was there dancing in the streets of Israel? Kontorovich calls it “Jewish joy,” at being left anything at all.
As for the West Bank, Jordan’s occupation prior to 1967 was illegal under international law which operates under the premise of “stability of borders.” Thus, Kontorovich explained, even though Crimea is filled with ethnic Russians, and was handed over to the Ukraine in a completely arbitrary and dysfunctional way, still International Law decrees that Crimea belongs to the Ukraine now.
Through this looking glass, the claims of Palestinians that the land of Israel should belong to them because of their ethnicity has no validity under International Law. All borders in the present Middle East were created the same way. To claim Israel has no rights to her land, would mean that neither does any other country in the Middle East.
Yoram Hazony made it clear what narrative we Jews must promote to overcome the lies. “Our story must not be defensive …The book connects the land to the people,” he states, reminding us how even the secular Zionist founders of Israel studied the Bible. “AIPAC needs to say this out loud. Birthright needs to say it out loud …Our Bible has been vilified. German academics said it was full of religious nonsense …Our book gave so much light to the world …We need to respect our Book and ourselves, and to stop apologizing for who and what we are.”
Melanie Phillips summed it up: “Palestinians were given a fictional national identity, a national identity invented solely for the purpose of destroying a true one … Many people subscribe to this mad narrative who are not irrational or haters of Jews, but believe in justice. They believe lies, that illegality is law. Many millions have been fed a big lie.”
This lie is two-fold: that the Jews have no connection to the Land of Israel prior to 1948, and that Judaism is unconnected to Israel-Zionism. It will not be easy, but every one of us must do what we can, in every way we can, to counter those lies. Promoting Gloria Greenfield’s film “Body and Soul” is a good start.
This column was published in the Jerusalem Post on 1 November, 2104.