This Week: Melanie Phillips and Me on What Jews Should “Routinely” Be Saying
Blogger Melanie Phillips posted an important commentary this week – “Demonising Israel and the Hijack of Language.” Addressing the conundrum “Why is Israel unable to get its message across?”, Melanie writes that in the war for Israel’s extermination, words have been hijacked so that they come to convey the opposite of their true meanings. She writes:
“Consider, for example, the word ‘colonialism.’ In left-wing ideology colonialism is the crime of crimes that defines Western iniquity: the subjection of indigenous peoples in the developing world by white-skinned westerners who occupied their lands and ruled, enslaved and oppressed them.
“Left-wingers believe that white, western Israel has occupied the lands of the indigenous Palestinians whom it is proceeding to rule, enslave and oppress.
“Every element of this is demonstrably false. Israel is neither predominately white nor Western. More than three-quarters of its population, Jews as well as Arabs, are brown-skinned and originally hailed from the Middle East.
“Crucially, Jews are the only extant indigenous people of the land which today comprises Israel, the ‘West Bank’ and Gaza. The Arabs merely formed one of the many waves of conquerors, including Romans, Persians, Greeks, Christians and Turks, who first drove out the Jews and then colonized their rightful and historic home.”
So it’s not the Jews, but the “Palestinians” [Melanie’s quote marks] who are the would-be colonizers, Melanie continues, “so Israel and its defenders should talk routinely about ‘Palestinians’ as colonialists.” And “there are many other words which have been turned into weapons of war against Israel” that need to be reclaimed and restored to their true meanings.” E.g., Melanie would replace “peace process” with “appeasement process,” and “’occupation’ of the “disputed [n.b.] territories” with “liberation.”
Music to my ears, not least Melanie’s mention that there are things that “Israel and its defenders should talk routinely [emphasis added] about.” To get through to people in the West that Arabs, not Jews, are Palestine’s colonialists, that what the world calls “occupation” is liberation, we have to routinely make clear in our talk about Israel that Jews are the still extant indigenous natives – that biblical history happened, that post-biblical homeland Jewish presence all through those long dark exclusively foreign empire rule centuries happened, that Jerusalem-capitaled modern Israel is the land of Israel’s next native state after Roman-destroyed Jerusalem-capitaled Jewish Judaea, and that Israel’s Jewish population today is majority indigenous Middle-eastern.
But what is routinely said today, by Israel’s enemies, the media and even us, is that
*** western Palestine’s [i.e., the land of Israel’s] Arabs are “THE Palestinians”;
*** Israel was “created and founded in 1948,” as though artificially and out-of-the-blue;
*** that the 1949 military ceasefire line drawn between Israel’s homeland army of homeland Jews and the army of the invader Transjordan, expressly agreed not to be an international border, is “Israel’s 1967 border,” and that Israel’s connection to Judea-Samaria and historic Jerusalem is that it “captured” these “occupied Palestinian territories” (see, e.g., UNSC 2334), known as “the West Bank” and “East” Jerusalem, not three thousand years ago, but in 1967.
The other side makes an easy-to-understand case: “The place is called ‘Palestine,’ and we’re ‘the Palestinians.’” We have to make an easy-to-understand case too. “Three-quarters of the Palestine Mandate were lopped off as Arab Transjordan. The remaining one-quarter west of the Jordan, the historic land of Israel, has always belonged to the Jews.”
In making this Jewish homeland claim to the land of Israel, not just that fraction of it within the ceasefire lines of 1949, we have to recognize that most of the world, with its “occupied Palestinian territories” of “the West Bank” and “East” Jerusalem, will react to it with disdain and derision. So we have to make this Jewish homeland claim to the land of Israel not only with knowledge and conviction, but with persistence – i.e., routinely.